Artificial field at Max Read tops city's wish list for projects

Artificial field at Max Read tops city's wish list for projects

Slater Park could get new disc golf course, pavilion

PAWTUCKET - City officials are planning to ask the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for nearly $1 million in recreation grant funding to help pay for five major projects, including a new artificial field, a revamped fishing pier, and a disc golf course, among others.

Topping the list, according to a wish list that will be presented to the Pawtucket City Council for consideration, is $400,000 for the installation of a new artificial turf field at Max Read Field, home of the Shea High Raiders football team. The $400,000 would be matched by another $400,000 in matching money from the city's Community Development Block Grant funds, according to a memo from Susan Mara, assistant director of Planning and Redevelopment for the city.

Officials are also seeking:

* $400,000 for the planned redevelopment of the Festival Pier on the Seekonk River. This request would be matched by nearly $1 million in funds already assembled, according to Mara, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Cleanup Funding of $200,000, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Boat Ramp Funding of $350,000, and Community Development Block Grant funding of $350,000.

* $20,000 for the development of a disc golf course in Slater Park. The $20,000 would be matched by another $20,000 in CDBG funds.

* $100,000 for construction of a new pavilion and offices in Slater Park. This project, which is in the design stage, will easily exceed the $250,000 currently in the CDBG budget for it, according to Mara.

* And $25,000 for the renovation of bathroom facilities at Veterans Memorial Park. The total estimated cost for two outdated bathroom facilities is $100,000, with $50,000 from the state and another $50,000 in city CDGB funds, according to Mara.

Are city officials identifying the right projects? Tell us at .

Members of the Pawtucket City Council will hear more about the application to the DEM at its meeting on Wednesday evening, Nov. 6. City Council President David Moran told The Breeze that the council will have plenty of questions for Planning and Redevelopment Director Barney Heath and Public Works Director Lance Hill.

Dylan Zelazo, spokesman for Mayor Donald Grebien's administration, said that the Festival Pier and Slater Park pavilion projects are "mature in the planning process" and thus have matching funds identified.

"The others met the criteria that they would enhance the recreation scene for a large number of residents," he said.

Why no turf field for Tolman High School?

From a "dollars perspective," city officials could only apply to redo one football field, said Zelazo.

"Big picture, the development by the waterfront could potentially be a citywide facility long-term," he said. With a school facilities plan now being discussed, said Zelazo, "it made sense to invest in Max Read."


I used to work with a few guys who would play frisbee golf at lunch among the trees on the median of Blackstone Blvd. in Providence; I think the trees were the targets. It seems wildly excessive to spend $40,000 for a dozen buckets perched on steel poles, not to mention the question of how in the world this relates to environmental management. If we want to reduce governmental spending, we could start here.

Then there is the question of whether the human and environmental hazards of artificial turf outweigh the benefits, as discussed in this article from the National Institutes of Health, coupled by an $800,000 expenditure for recycled tires.

Synthetic Turf: Health Debate Takes Root

I'm not sure how I feel about adding a disc golf course to Slater Park, but I am against using the money to add artificial turf to Max Read Field. I think there will more than likely be a higher risk of injury on the field for the kids because most turf has cement underneath. I think instead we should use that money to repair all the bleachers in both Max Read and Pariseau Field, as well as any other field in Pawtucket where bleachers are in need of repair. If anyone has ever been to those fields lately, some of the steps have loose screws in them. Plus, they are entirely outdated. There is more of a risk of a small child falling in between the gaps. I agree with restroom repairs though, although I have never seen the restrooms at Vets field I can pretty much imagine what they must look like.