City Council Committee Holds Hearing on Noyes Park Renovations

On Monday, the City Council Committee on Environment & Sustainability, which oversees Boston parks, held a hearing on the Noyes Park renovation project slated to begin this year.

The purpose of the hearing, chaired by City Councilor Matt O’Malley and co-chaired by Eastie’s City Councilor Lydia Edwards, was to authorize the city to accept and expend a grant in the amount $400,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the division of Conservation Services Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program grant. The $400,000 will offset the the $3 million the city has allocated for Noyes Park’s redesign and renovation.

The Parks and Recreation Department will administer the funds to be used to provide $3 million in capital improvements to Noyes Park, and both Edwards and O’Malley said they would report a favorable hearing on the park renovations to the City Council on Wednesday.

Edwards and O’Malley heard testimony from Parks Commissioner Chris Cook and Project Manager for the project Aldo Ghirin.

Cook and Ghirin testified that following a series of community meetings in Eastie, residents and the city officials agreed upon a final design for Noyes Park.

The plan the city came up with is to reconfigure the largest of the three baseball diamonds and shift home base over towards the basketball courts behind the Marty Pino Center. This shift allows enough room to add a fenced in regulation Little League field in some unused dead space at Noyes Park.

The current Little League field on Saratoga Street would be converted into a multi-use, astroturf field for both softball and soccer.

There was some concern in the past, especially from coaches and organizers of East Boston Girl’s Softball, that sharing a field with soccer would lead to scheduling conflicts that sometimes arise at other multi-use fields in Eastie.

However, Cook assured softball organizers that both softball and soccer would be seasonal and require permits from the city to use the field. Softball would use the field from spring through fall and once soccer season starts in the fall it would be used primarily for that sport.

Cook also pointed out the fact that scheduling conflicts exist now between Little League and softball because softball games can not be played at the same time as Little League’s senior league games given the current configuration of the park. The new design would allow softball, senior league as well as Little League games to all be played on three separate diamonds all at the same time.  Right now only two baseball games can be played at once at Noyes Park so the city feels it’s a better use of the space.

Cook said work should begin on the park in the early spring with a ribbon cutting slated for 2019 before the Little League season begins.

At the hearing Edwards said she was excited that work will finally commence on the park’s rehabilitation and is glad the city had balanced the interests of the community with what the city could do finically.

“For a lot of folks this has been a long time coming,” she said.

O’Malley, who chairs the Committee on Environment & Sustainability, said he is all for efforts to improve parks across the city, and would make a favorable report to the City Council this week.

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