LWV OBSERVER CORPS: Recreation & Parks Commission, Oct. 3

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 & Parks Commission

DATE: Oct. 3 (in person, not recorded)

LWVM OBSERVER: Bonnie Grenier

PRESENT: Matt Martin, Karin Ernst, Linda Rice-Collins, Rossanna Ferrante, Shelly Bedrossian,  Superintendent Peter James and Recreation Director Jaime Bloch


Marblehead Family Fund/The Power of Speech: Kristine Quirke, Meghan Tosto and Jessica Brown were seeking approval to install communication boards at all Marblehead playgrounds to provide an alternative way of communicating for children who aren’t able to use vocal speech. The projected cost of the boards including installation is $4,325. After some discussion, it was determined that the Park Department could provide materials and labor for installation. MFF will cover the cost of the signs through fundraising. It was suggested that placing “Buddy Benches” (where a child sits when looking for someone to play with) could eventually be placed by the signs. There was a unanimous vote to support the project pending final approval of the signs.

Pickleball ambassador

Lisa Spinelli, ambassador for Pickleball USA representing Marblehead, reported that 210 linear feet of yellow waterproof covering for the top of the fence at the pickleball courts at Seaside Park will be required. The pickleball community will cover the cost. This will be an agenda item at the next commission meeting.

Outstanding projects

Karin Ernst provided a chart listing the outstanding projects the commission has on its to-do list in an effort to stay on top of what’s happening with them. These projects include pavilions at the beach, the Seaside grandstand and lights, a Vine Street cleanout, tennis/pickleball courts, Hamond Nature Center, the Stramski House, Fountain Park stairs and the dog park.  Fixing the walkway at Castle Rock was added to the list. Several of these projects are already in the works. How to pay for all of them has yet to be determined. This led to a lengthy conversation on the bidding process and how it can be improved. Suggestions included meeting on site with interested bidders ahead of time to explain the project in detail and writing a more detailed description of the project, which would result in fewer change orders and help control costs.


  • Bloch reported that the September-October programs are underway, and the number of participants is high. However, there were not enough parent or adult volunteers for league sports, so she had to hire paid staff.
  • November-December programs are in the works. Dec. 15 is a no-school day. The Community Center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for children’s programming throughout the day. Last year’s CITs and students from the National Honor Society will help out that day.
  • Only 31 people have signed up for the scarecrow competition. Ideally, she would like to have closer to 100.


  • They are all caught up on grass cutting. Work still needs to be done at Old Burial Hill. Work needs to be done at the Vets school every week.
  • As long as the weather cooperates, they can still use seasonal workers.

The next meeting will be Oct. 18 at 7:15 p.m.

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