Little League urges Money Hill Road field purchase at Glocester's special FTM Saturday

Little League urges Money Hill Road field purchase at Glocester's special FTM Saturday

GLOCESTER - A proposal that would see the town purchase 26.74 acres on Money Hill Road for recreational use will go before voters at a special Financial Town Meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in Ponaganset High School.

At least one person, William "Pat" Freaney, newly elected president of the Glocester Little League, hopes the purchase will be approved and the newly acquired property used for "at least one baseball field," he told The Valley Breeze & Observer in a telephone interview last week.

"It is the hope of the Glocester Little League that some of that land would be used to construct at least one baseball field," Freaney said. "This is a great opportunity for the kids in town to have additional playing fields."

According to Town Clerk Jean M. Fecteau, the land is owned by Steve Hopkins and the proposed purchase price is $150,000. The town has $75,000 in its capital reserves account, Fecteau said, and expects to receive another $75,000 in the form of a grant from the state Department of Environmental Management for the purchase of recreational property.

The Town Council felt that expenditure of the capital reserve funds should be approved by voters, Fecteau said, and that's why a special town meeting has been called. All town residents can attend the meeting, but only registered town voters will be allowed to cast ballots on the proposed purchase.

If the town does not receive the expected DEM grant, Fecteau said another grant probably will be sought.

Meanwhile, Freaney, who became Little League president Oct. 1 replacing Michael Martone, explained Little Leaguers since 1992 have played on property that belongs to the Acotes Hill Cemetery association, leased for one dollar per year.

The association has final say on "what can and what can't be done" at the site and, although it has been "very gracious" over the years, Freaney said, use of a town-owned field would expand usage to tournaments and other sports, such as soccer and lacrosse.

"The Little League would like to attract other sports," he said, "but we need the playing fields." He also mentioned a new scoreboard and fencing as examples of improvements that could be done at a town-owned facility. Ample youth recreational opportunities are an "inducement" that would lead people to buy homes in town, Freaney suggested.

Right now, "our growth is limited," Freaney said due to a lack of playing fields. Nearby Smithfield, he noted, has five Little League diamonds.

However, according to Fecteau, there is no plan or design in place now for use of the property if the sale is approved. "I'm sure people will sit down when the time comes and come up collectively with a plan," she said, suggesting the Town Council will probably seek input from various parties including the town recreation department, the Little League and the town planner's office. Any decision must be consistent with the town's comprehensive plan, she added.