WOONSOCKET – Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt has told the School Committee that the city is going to build what they can at Cass Park when it comes to a new field and recreational complex, and if the School Department does or doesn’t want to use it, that’s up to them.
“If you’re trying to kill a plan, it’s not going to work, we’re building the complex whether you want the athletes to use it or don’t want the athletes to use it,” she said during a joint meeting Monday.
School and city officials were there to discuss needs at the park. Athletic Director Nancy Giordano said that currently, Barry Field hosts a good amount of fall sports that would need to be replaced with practice fields and game fields. The School Department currently buses students over to Barry Field, and according to Brad Peryea, school director of finance, has spent nearly $5,000 doing so.
“Barry Field is (currently) an amazing complex for our athletics,” Giordano said.
Giordano continued that after meeting with Supt. Patrick McGee and Woonsocket High School Principal Jeff Guiot, the school would need required fields for all sports to coincide with one another when it comes to practices and games.
“The insinuation that we were trying to kill this project is ridiculous to me,” said School Committee member Alan LeClaire, who echoed the sentiments of other School Committee members that they are all for supporting the project.
“We still need to learn what we’re working with,” he said.
School Committee Chairperson Paul Bourget asked Baldelli-Hunt if there is planned construction of a clubhouse included in her new renderings, as the mayor had said that the older renderings are now not set in stone.
“I believe the plan you’re looking at from two years ago, even the most recent rendering, is fluid, and we actually do have a clubhouse that’s included in the construction,” she responded. Baldelli-Hunt said her administration was hoping to also build a weight room for athletes and a conference room that a grant was applied for and they are still waiting on.
The mayor said teams have the challenge of holding practices when practice doesn’t start until 3:15 p.m. and end around 5 or 6, especially when there are currently no lights at Barry Field.
“The fall is when you have the challenge of trying to fit all the teams that you need in,” she said, adding that the spring and winter are when Barry Field is usually not used.
The administration is currently working with Pare Engineering to have a planned full football field and two additional fields and a center area for track athletes, which makes up for a total of three and a half fields. She added that she plans to demolish Ho Kong restaurant, which could help expand Cass Park even more.
“The ability to have multiple teams there at one time, there’s no issue,” she said, adding that if athletes have to use other fields, they would have to make do with what what’s available.
Councilor John Ward asked Giordano if the School Department has looked into other communities such as Lincoln that have multiple teams on a restricted number of fields.
“I just wonder how our team listing matches up with other communities,” he said.
The biggest concern, according to Giordano, is making sure athletes are not waiting to practice, as that could lead to students being on the streets.
Public Works Director Steve D’Agostino said Cass Park is essentially a blank canvas, and there is much potential there. He continued that Dionne Track will be closed while they work on digging out gravel at the park due to safety concerns.
“This is the best thing that’s happened to the school in a very long time,” said Bourget, adding that if they have to continue to use Barry Field, they will.
Current School Department plans call for Barry Field to be used as a future school, said officials on Monday.
Looks like last year's tax debacle is an issue that the Community Partnership Task Force does not want to take on.
Just as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. Another useless City Council flapping their gums and relying on hope as a strategy.
I can't wait to see how much money they are going to extort from unwitting taxpayers this year.
New Tax Assessor....meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Actually, not at all.
As noted at last night's Council meeting, the City has not produced a Financial Report since March 2022. For those that cannot count, that's nearly year. And you thought we were kidding when we said they didn't provide the Tax Assessment information when we did the FY 2023 Budget.
Well, the good news is that we got rid of those pesky prior Council members and everything is good now.
That said, you should follow up with the Council Vice President because she explicitly said that she was going to address the Tax debacle. I'm sure she will be issuing a report out on her progress any day now.
The City of Woonsocket needs to do two things (1) Produce a clear plan for Cass Park and (2) inform the Community of how much money the redevelopment will require.
The City Council, a body responsible for financial oversight of the City, has an obligation to understand the costs of the project before it starts.
If you’re trying to kill this "plan", it’s not going to work, we’re building the complex whether we can afford it or not.
And we are tearing down Cass Park's hills and trees so that the Stench from the unmanaged Sewer Treatment Plant will be able to waft over to the High School unobstructed in order to teach the children to deal with and accept the Stench at an early age.
I heard it from a good source that is the best thing to happen to the school in a long, long time.
I suggest you watch "abandoned dogs of Chernobyl " to get a future glimpse of Cass Park after the poop plant goes. Funny but not funny
One doesn't have to be an engineer to be able to determine that Woonsocket is in a very serious “mess” regarding its wastewater treatment plant, and, it's not the first time! The following quote was posted in a Journal article, this morning... “The City of Woonsocket and the vendor that operates its wastewater treatment plant, Jacobs, need to get their act together. And as the regulator, DEM does too.” Well, what prevented Woonsocket and DEM from “getting their act together”, prior this disaster?
Councilman Cournoyer has addressed some very good points in his comments, one being that the City's focus is more on “shiny objects as opposed to critical infrastructure”. Yes, the City is, again, being 'embarrassed across the State'...and more!
Councilman Cournoyer also referred to some other very good points. At the meeting, the mayor had made the following statements to the School Committee... 1) - “I believe the plan you’re looking at is from two years ago.” 2) - “we’re building the complex whether you want the athletes to use it or don’t want the athletes to use it” and 3) - “If you’re trying to kill a plan, it’s not going to work, we’re building the complex whether you want the athletes to use it or don’t want the athletes to use it”. These comments sound very confrontational, and again, indicate an “It's my way or no way” attitude!
Yes, then why didn't the mayor provide whatever 'latest plans' she had to the School Department so that they could have been on “the same page” when discussing this topic?
Lastly, as Ex-Councilman Cournoyer's recommended... “The people of Woonsocket had better wake up.”
The following quote by Henry Ford says it all...“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” The three above statements certainly don't indicate “togetherness”!
Why would DEM need to get their act together?? That is puzzling, they're the regulatory body and have no responsibility to the operation of the sewage plant. DEM sets the standard for the plant to follow. They are also not tied to politics or Woonsocket at all. Just wanted to point that out.
Mayor Baldelli-Hunt made two very revealing comments:
1 - “If you’re trying to kill a plan, it’s not going to work, we’re building the complex whether you want the athletes to use it or don’t want the athletes to use it”.
2 - “I believe the plan you’re looking at from is from two years ago”.
First, Mayor Baldelli-Hunt has said from the beginning that the main objective of turning Cass Park into an “athletic complex” was to locate the athletic fields (principally the Football Field) in closer proximity to the Woonsocket High School. But then she says “we’re building the complex whether you want the athletes to use it or don’t want the athletes to use it”.
This is exactly the argumentative, non-collaborative and irrational mindset and approach that led to her removal.
Second, when she says “I believe the plan you’re looking at is from two years ago”, that reveals that she has NOT worked and collaborated with the School Department. If she was, the School Dept would have the so called most up-to-date plans. Moreover, the Mayor would have a clear understanding of what the School Department’s needs are and she should have been in a position to present to the School Department and the Council exactly what is planned for Cass Park and where the gaps, if any, are relative to the School’s needs.
This is a circus. Meanwhile, as the Mayor focuses on tearing up Cass Park without a clear plan and obsesses over putting a Supermarket at Barry Field across the street from a Supermarket (Stop & Shop), Rome burns.
We have a Sewage Treatment Plant that is contaminating the Blackstone River and embarrassing the City across the State due to a complete lack of oversight & management by an incompetent Administration that is focused on shiny objects as opposed to critical infrastructure.
The people of Woonsocket better wake up.
They better wake up about their tax bills too. They're about to get reamed in the next budget.
The sky is the limit on taxes in Woonsocket.
Don't believe me? Look at the historical data.
At this Monday's Council meeting, Vice-President Gonzalez is scheduled to give an update on the "Community Partnership Task Force".
Perhaps at some point she will give an update on the Tax situation that she said she was going to address.
What a waste of money when the education system is failing the youth of Woonsocket.
The mayor needs to address more pressing issues. This does not help the city one bit and I voted for her. Make me wish I hadn’t.
Leave Barry Field alone, it was deeded to be used for athletics! The traffic in that area is already a huge nuisance, don't add to it.
I believe it's useless to consider building or expanding anything in town because that sewage plant is very soon going to make Woonsocket the equivalent of RI's very own Chernobyl or Gulf Oil Spill. The Blackstone River runs all the way out to sea to - so Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket, CF, and Providence...including all the bike paths and hard work restoring nature done over these years is going to be catastrophically devastated.
Unreal. This has my spidey senses tingling. Seems the mayor may be dabbling in something more than just "helping" the kids. If I were her I would put this one on the back burner and fix the more glaring issues like the sewer plant and the WHA. Oh and maybe the city council and the school department and the overall deplorable conditions the city is in. P.S. maybe the poor education system that won't be fixed with a sports complex. Just my opinion.
Who wants another supermarket where Barry Field is!! We need one more central in Woonsocket so no one has to travel to the other side of the city!! Stop and Shop is basically across the street!!! Plus who wants to go watch sports games (or play sports) where the air is so bad thanks to Synegro?????
They want to use Barry Field for a school and Cass Park is the best place seeing its at the school and the kids don't have to travel.
I do hope they figure out the stench problem before moving all these teams across the street from the stinky wastewater treatment plant.
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