The Wellesley softball fields sandwiching the tennis courts at Hunnewell Field are closer to getting a big upgrade thanks to the Community Preservation Committee on Tuesday night unanimously approving $100K in funds for new designs.
If Town Meeting this spring approves the allocation, work on detailed plans for the fields will get underway. The CPC, Natural Resources Commission and Playing Fields Task Force have all been working toward a field improvement plan, and a cast of hundreds or thousands will surely get involved going forward, from private fundraisers to the Wetlands Protection Committee and DPW.
The makeover is long overdue, especially in light of the spectacular refurbishment of brick-encased Reidy Field that Wellesley Little Leaguers have enjoyed for the past 10 years.
Ringleader Jill Creevy says Wellesley High’s softball field is among “the worst in the league.” She adds: “It is not a regulation field. The coach carries a can of gasoline, generator and pitching machine to every practice — all the way from the high school.”
Creevy says the effort has been like a full-time job and has taken a major team effort, involving many young people in town. Two female students at Wellesley High devoted their senior project to comparing the town’s softball fields to those in surrounding towns and spreading the word to town committees. A group of Girl Scouts earned their Silver Award by surveying all players from K-12 and making a presentation to the town. A 6th grader back in 2013 wrote an editorial for the Townsman about playing field inequities that grabbed the attention of people in Wellesley and beyond.
“The fields will not be as glitzy as Reidy,” Creevy says, but improvements should be many. This includes making the fields regulation size, building new backstops and dugouts with storage, and ensuring they are ADA accessible. Nice new bleachers and scoreboards are also planned, as is a softball/baseball cage for pitching and batting.
And yes, there likely will be a brick element to the designs that will sync up with those of Reidy Field and the new field/track complex at Wellesley High. There won’t be lights at Lee Field (the one that’s east of the tennis courts), but that field will gain enough juice to power a pitching machine.
“The goal is to have safe regulation fields that have dugouts, etc., that will make the girls of Wellesley proud,” Creevy says.
New drawings produced during the design phase to be funded via the CPC monies will be used to help get improvements through the NRC and Wetlands processes. Tree and shrub plantings are part of the vision for the project.
The hope is to get construction going in spring/summer of 2019.