LWV OBSERVER CORPS: Rec and Parks, Aug. 1

Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Corps
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Observer Corps Reports are provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see my.lwv.org/massachusetts/marblehead.

BOARD: Recreation and Parks Commission

DATE: Tuesday, Aug. 1 (in person, not recorded)

OBSERVER: Kay Rieper

The meeting was called to order by the chair, Matt Martin. All members were present: Linda Rice-Collins, Karin Ernst, Rossanna Ferrante and Shelly Bedrossian, along with Superintendent Peter James and Recreation Director Jaime Bloch.

Minutes approved

The minutes from the last meeting were approved as amended to include a discussion of a user fee for all sports activities.

New business

  • A proposal to allow companies to offer catered picnics for up to 12 people and up to two hours at town parks was discussed and approved as long as a list of requirements such as insurance, cleanup and Board of Health approval of the kitchen are met. In the case of inclement weather, a rain date will be offered, if the park is available.
  • The “bubble” on one of the Veterans School courts (which is making the court unplayable) can be ground down by the department and painted (with paint supplied by the pickleball community). The new temporary courts at Seaside have been working out well and have been full.
  • A neighbor of Stramski’s complained about people urinating in her view since the porta-potty has been removed. There are restrooms in the Stramski house, but there is no signage, and the building can only be open when staff is present for sailing. People who rent lockers there are the only ones who can access the restrooms when there are no staff members present. The best solution for now will be to reinstate the porta-potty. Bloch requested that it maybe could be sited farther away from the house. This led to a discussion of the other restroom locations in town open to the public that the department is responsible for. They include Chandler Hovey, Devereux Beach, Crocker Park and Fort Sewall. The bathrooms at Gatchell’s are open when baseball or football is going on. Those in charge have keys to open them. In general, the restrooms are cleaned twice a day during playground programs, and a professional firm cleans them on the weekends. Harbors and Waters maintains the restrooms at State Street Landing.
  • There is currently a moratorium on new memorial benches, although one has been installed at the end of Gallison Avenue without the commission’s approval. Palma Bickford of the Marblehead Tree Committee has suggested locating benches at Powerhouse Court and other elderly housing sites, as currently residents don’t have a good place to sit outside.

Park update

  • James reported on the need for more maintenance help, as workers are starting to go back to college. The hours would be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and some weekend work.
  • Dead branches at Crocker Park were taken down.
  • Landscaping has been done at the Lighthouse.
  • The Seaside tennis courts should be repaired in two weeks under warranty.
  • There is a new kayak ramp at Stramski’s.
  • There is money for a new boiler at the Community Center, the cost of which will hopefully be split with the Council on Aging.
  • Repairs for the grandstand will come from the Shattuck Fund. A contractor is needed.
  • Dave Haley has contributed $2,500 for a new float at Stramski’s.
  • Ideas for use of Shattuck money include new stairs at Fountain Park along with a grant for handicapped access.
  • It was suggested that the commission list and prioritize long term projects at the next meeting.


  • Summer programs are in Week 6. Week 9 will have shorter hours, 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Bloch is working with the Police Department to have a CSI program for 20 kids in grades 5-7.
  • The Dino Dig went very well. 
  • Sign-ups for fall programs are just beginning.
  • The girls’ intramural basketball league will change a rule and let fifth- and sixth-graders steal off the dribble as a result of a thoughtful letter from a player requesting this.


A request for use of the Community Center parking lot for a 5K run for Fund the Field on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11:15 a.m. was approved.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

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