Little Compton to celebrate new rec field

Fireworks, chicken barbecue and more on tap Saturday ·

LITTLE COMPTON — Suspense and hard work dating back to 2014 will culminate Saturday, August 5, when the new town recreation field will be dedicated (rain date is Sunday).
It will be a ceremony accompanied by some serious hoopla extending into the evening — comments about honorees, for whom the field, tennis courts, and walking path will be named, two soccer games, a chicken barbecue, hot dogs, music, and fireworks.
• 2 p.m. — Ceremony
The ceremony is set to take place at the corner of Veterans' Field near the memorial stone wall that forms part of the boundary between that field and the new recreation field.
"The recreation field will be named after Jim Hayes, an outspoken advocate over the years for using the Peckham Lot for recreation for people of the town," said Town Council President Robert Mushen.
"The tennis courts will be named after James Wordell, leader of the Senior Tennis League and leading caretaker of the formerly aged courts," Mr. Mushen said.
"The walking path will be named after Darrell Harvey," he said, "who was a long time leader of the school and recreation committees, and a motive force behind an integrated plan for recreation in the Commons."
All of the men for whom the areas are being named are deceased, Mr. Mushed said, and will be memorialized by park benches inscribed with their names.
The families of all three honorees — including Kitty Hayes, for whose late husband Jim Hayes the field is being named — will be in attendance, Mr. Mushen said. Also present will be major contributors.
• 4 p.m. — Soccer games
Following the dedication, two soccer games will be played on the new field. The first will be a contest between two pick-up teams organized by Patrick McHugh. "No age limit," said Mr. Mushen. A second game will be played between high school and college age players, likewise organized by Mr. McHugh, with the assistance of members of the recreation committee.
• 5-7 p.m. — Chicken barbecue
The chicken barbecue, sponsored by the Village Improvement Society, returns this year to the area, set next to the Brownell House adjacent to Veterans Field. Also available for sale will be hot dogs, sponsored by the Republican Town Committee as a fund-raiser for the Wilbur & McMahon eighth grade.
• 7 p.m. — Music hosted by the Little Compton Village Improvement Society.
• 8:30-9 p.m. — Fireworks, launched from center field. Spectators may sit on the new recreation field but lawn chairs will be allowed only on the running track — not on the new field, Mr. Mushen said.
• Some background about the recreation area
Landscaping Services, Inc. of Bristol did the work on the field, for an original total bid cost of $699,998. The entire project included the recreation field, a path, tennis courts, and an irrigation system.
Seeding the field was tricky. "Seeding can only happen at two times: in the fall, which is preferred, and in the spring, which is next best," Mr. Mushen said at the time the work was being done.
Irrigation of the field is necessary to eliminate the wet and boggy spots that have plagued the field in the past, said Mr. Mushen. Effective irrigation relies on a well that Mr. Mushen said a local well-digger put in, for an estimated cost of about $20,000.
The well, he said, "also serves an as installed back-up for the school and town." The well and irrigation system for the field are interrelated, he said
The recreation area includes two new tennis courts and a walking path (the old tennis courts had
severe cracking across their surfaces).
"These are the only public tennis courts in Little Compton, and are used by residents of all ages, from our school children to the Little Compton Senior Tennis League," Mr. Mushen said.
The walking path component to the recreation area is one-third of a mile in length, in the shape of a figure-eight, "and is the only off-street walking and jogging venue in Little Compton," Mr. Mushen said.
The path connects directly to the 1.2 mile (RT) Dundery Brook trail, a raised boardwalk that extends through a bog and shrub swamp, and wooded area, to Bumble Bee Pond, and that connects in turn to a one mile (RT) grass trail into the woods beyond.
Securing funding for all three of the projects was a multi-year project, and involved numerous sources, according to figures confirmed by Mr Mushen:
• From the Department of Environmental Management grant in 2014 ($250,000);
• From the Municipal Trust ($125,000);
• From the town directly ($62,500);
• From a legislative grant ($10,000);
• From Little Compton Schools, out of its surplus ($40,000);
• From an initial town funding drive, a "matching" drive, and a "local" drive ($247,500).

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