The Boston City Council voted last Wednesday to add clarifying language to Mayor Martin Walsh’s PARC (Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities) grant request for the Noyes Park project in Orient Heights.
In February the Council voted in favor of the state releasing the $400,000 PARC grant that will help the city differ some of the costs associated with the $3 million Noyes Park renovations. However, the grant has been stuck in limbo because the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs required additional language to the grant request. The state sent word back to the Walsh Administration that additional language needed to be added that would “permanently dedicate Noyes Playground for park purposes.”
“This is a very unique situation,” said City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who chairs the Committee on Environment and Sustainability. “We already voted in favor of releasing this grant (money), but the state required some clarifying language to project the park space. Perhaps in the drafting of the request this language was not included. This will be a wonderful expenditure so we should pass this request so the city can get started on this wonderful place for the young and the young at heart.”
Following O’Malley remarks the Council voted unanimously in favor of adding the ‘clarifying’ language to the PARC request and subsequent release of funds by the state.
Following a series of community meetings in Eastie last year, residents and the city officials agreed upon a final design for Noyes Park.
The plan that 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. City officials have assured softball organizers that both softball and soccer would be seasonal, and they would 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. City officials have pointed out at past meetings 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, and all at the same time. Right now only two baseball games can be played at once at Noyes Park so the city feels its a better use of the space.
Work should begin on the park in the early spring with a ribbon cutting slated for 2019 before the Little League season begins.