HARVARD -- Harvard Youth Baseball and Softball Association board member and Major League coordinator Darren Magan brought serious concerns to the Park and Recreation Commission regarding the Pond Road baseball field at The Bromfield School.
"I would like to approach the condition of the baseball field," he said.
"We have been pushing, for years now, Little League baseball as something that will be very successful in the future," Magan said. The baseball program has hired two new coaches for the varsity and junior varsity teams this year and now, attention should be paid to the Pond Road baseball field.
Magan expressed interest in both rehabilitating the field itself and purchasing new dugouts.
"If we turn our attention to the Bromfield baseball field, there is this beautiful view and sunset. But when you get to the nooks and crannies (of the field), there's barely a pitcher's mound and it holds more water than most pools," Magan said.
"We went out and got a quote that deals with edging, removing the pitcher's mound, cutting it out, putting in a new one, incorporating two tons of conditioner in the baselines for drainage, re-creating the baselines, rebuilding the pitchers mound, installing new sod around the pitchers mound, and I have a price here for that."
Before Magan got into costs, Commissioner B.J. Pessia said there hasn't been much attention paid to the quality of soil because of the drainage issue and worries that it would be a waste if they did.
"We do need to be putting more high quality field saver in the soil," Pessia said.
She asked Magan if he has plans to fix the drainage system as well.
"Well, it's perhaps a question for the man I met with (to go over these plans), but I guess the materials they are looking to put in are going to help the drainage system," Magan said.
Magan said a grate drain in the middle of right field is a safety concern. "You get one cleat in there, that kid's ankle is gone," Magan said.
"It seems to me that whatever we do down there must be coordinated with the Bare Hill Pond Committee," Commissioner Joe Schmidt said of tampering with the drain.
BHPC placed drainage and wastewater retention systems around the Bromfield baseball field and Schmidt is concerned that touching the drains may cause problems with the BHPC systems.
"I guess what we're looking to do here is enhance the drainage process. I don't know if it will perfect it, but it will be a lot better," Magan said. "We are coming here to you, the Park and Rec, to ask, 'What can we do about this field? What kind budgets are available to get this field looking like a baseball field?'"
Magan presented his quote.
"So if we were to develop this as a baseball field project ... You're talking about $24,000," Commissioner Pat Nelson said. "Where does that money come from? Town Meeting?"
"Well, it depends on how you go about getting it," Schmidt said. "If you put (the project) together and we try to get it out of our normal operating budget, theoretically, we would want to increase our budget for next year to get it in there."
The Park and Recreation Commission's field budget total is $21,000 for the fiscal year with currently $18,000 left. Commissioners discussed possible ways to get this project funded as soon as possible.
"Now that we're starting to manage the fields a little bit more, we're spending it out of our budget," Pessia said. "We did the softball field two years ago, and I think this field is next. It's in the worst condition.
"I think we should do some research on how much is in our budget," she said. "I don't think we could pay for the whole thing, but traditionally, what we would do is pay for the field stuff."
Schmidt suggested presenting the project to the Community Preservation Committee.
"(One) idea would be to put the entire project together and submit it (to CPC)," Schmidt said. "It may not be too late to go to the CPC funds. There is a thing in there that says recreation. (If they approve it) this would then go to Town Meeting for approval. But you're looking at a year away for the project. At least that might be a better way to say 'This is what we want to do.'"
"I hear what you're saying and it makes sense if I thought we had time on our hands." Magan said. "I have this guy lined up who can do it in the fall and then (he can) come back in early spring and just touch it up so it looks good. We understand that the dugouts are above and beyond the field. The dugouts) are not a need they're a want, and maybe we can approach that project (with the CPC), but maybe we can tackle the fields here within this group with your budget."
Schmidt was reluctant to agree because it would take up over a third of the fiscal year budget for just the baseball field. He suggested asking Harvard Athletic Association for help with the funding. Commissioners worried that since they do not use this field, it would be inappropriate to ask, however.
"I think we should ask HAA if they are able to help because it is a multi-use field and if they wanted to use it for anything else, they could," Schmidt said.
Commissioners decided to research possible funding through groups for the project as soon as possible.
"The field just hasn't had any professional attention," Marcus said.
"You wont get any argument from us, Darren, we know something needs to be done," Nelson responded.