Last week, Parks & Recreation Department director Jennifer Fava sent a long-awaited “Property Review and Usage” report to the Long Lots School Building Committee.
It provides a list of properties managed and maintained by her department, along with potentially usable acreage, usage information and more.
The report notes that Parks & Rec assigns blocks of time for use of the fields to various groups, which then manage their assigned times. Last year, more than 11,000 participants used the fields.
Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department allocates field usage to various groups. They then schedule their own games and practices. (Photo/Steve Perkins)
In the fall, Parks & Rec fields are used by Westport Baseball & Softball; PAL football, cheer, boys and girls lacrosse and track, Westport Soccer Association, and Parks & Rec.
In the spring, all those groups plus PAL rugby — except cheer — use the fields.
In summer, Parks & Rec fields are used by Baseball & Softball, PAL football and track, Continuing Education and Parks & Rec.
The report noted increased demands on the fields, as more sports added seasons beyond traditional ones; increased participation numbers; the addition of high school girls rugby, and added numbers for adult baseball, soccer and lacrosse.
The report also anticipates an increase in school enrollment, with the potential for increased demands for youths sports.
The report noted that the Long Lots baseball field is used on fall weekends by Westport Baseball & Softball, and during the spring by Parks & Rec and Staples (weekdays), and Westport Baseball & Softball (weekends).
The loss of one of the town’s 4 90-foot baseball diamonds would have “a significant impact” on baseball and other sports, the report said, citing a domino effect if the Doubleday (Kings Highway Elementary School) field had to be used (as it is also used for football and lacrosse).
PJ Romano and Doubleday Fields are used for multiple sports. Moving one sport can impact others.
Regarding the Community Gardens, the report said that Parks & Rec’s primary role is to “check the list of members provided by the Community Gardens against the sex offender registry which is necessary as it is located on school property. Once cleared, we provide a photo ID for any of those members upon request. The photo is necessary to access the gardens during school hours. Not all members request an ID.”
The report also said that Parks & Rec provides a link to the Gardens on their webpage, and “must be notified of any upcoming work at the Long Lots Preserve for authorization to proceed. We have provided limited assistance with one off issues in the past.”
The report offered 2 possibilities for potential new fields — Lillian Wadsowrth Arobretum and Winslow Park, but noted challenges including rezoning, topography and wetlands.
The report concluded with potential locations for the Community Gardens.
Baron’s South would have to be rezoned. The Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum would require rezoning, removal of forested areas, and the addition of utilities and parking.
Riverside Park and Winslow Park would also need to be rezoned, with more parking added.
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