Work con­tin­ues on city soft­ball field

Woonsocket Call - - BLACKSTONE VALLEY - By JOSEPH B. NADEAU jnadeau@woonsock­et­call.com Fol­low Joseph Nadeau on Twit­ter @JNad75

WOONSOCKET — The re­tain­ing wall for a new high school soft­ball field has been com­pleted at Cass Park and now the ac­tual con­struc­tion of the field will be mov­ing for­ward through the rest of sum­mer. De­spite the work com­pleted thus far, City Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Steven D’Agostino said on Tues­day there is still plenty more to do at the new city field be­fore the high school’s girls soft­ball team can play its games there. “There is a still a long way to go but it is com­ing along,” D’Agostino said. The new high school field is be­ing con­structed with a $300,000 grant the city re­ceived from the state De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment for park im­prove­ments and will be a reg­u­la­tion-size Rhode Is­land In­ter­scholas­tic League field when it is com­plete. A large ex­ca­va­tor from Gentes Ex­ca­vat­ing of North Smith­field, the city’s con­trac­tor for the field’s grad­ing work, was found putting the fin­ish­ing touches on the slope above the new 7-foot-high wall this week, and also spread­ing out loam ma­te­rial for fu­ture plant­ings. The block struc­ture wall and its in­stal­la­tion cost ap­prox­i­mately $30,000 and was de­signed to meet the re­quire­ments for graded slope now lo­cated at the ex­panded field site. D’Agostino said the engi­neered block wall will al­low spec­ta­tor seat­ing to be lo­cated on the lev­eled off area be­tween the wall and the newly ta­pered slope that should make the new field suited to not only high school games but also tour­na­ments in the off­sea­son. “We are build­ing it ac­cord­ing to In­ter­scholas­tic League reg­u­la­tions for a girls’ soft­ball field,” D’Agostino said. “The left-field line of the field will run out 200 feet from home plate, the cen­ter-field line 210 feet and the right-field line 215 feet.” The work still need­ing to be com­pleted will in­volve the lo­ca­tion of dugouts or dugout benches on the sides of the diamond and also the in­stal­la­tion of the back­stop and fenc­ing. D’Agostino said the ac­tual play­ing sur­face, the skinned in­field and the grass out­field, may be in­stalled by the end of sum­mer, but added that the field it­self won’t be used un­til next year. That will give the new lawn plenty of time to grow and firm up be­fore it is used for the first time, he noted. “It has po­ten­tial to be re­ally nice,” D’Agostino said while not­ing the in­stal­la­tion of ir­ri­ga­tion is also planned for the field to main­tain its nat­u­ral out­field. The soft­ball field pro­ject fol­lows work the city com­pleted un­der an ear­lier Cass Park im­prove­ment grant to in­stall new bas­ket­ball courts where the park’s for­mer ice rinks had been lo­cated at the park’s bor­der with the city’s Woonsocket High School prop­erty. Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt also wants to see the high school foot­ball field fa­cil­i­ties now at Barry Field near Park Square also re­lo­cated to Cass un­der a fu­ture im­prove­ment pro­ject. The foot­ball field would likely be con­structed in the up­per, forested area of the park above the John R. Dionne Track off Cum­ber­land Hill Road, and Re­naud Field, the city base­ball field off New­land Av­enue. D’Agostino said more in­for­ma­tion on that pro­posal will be com­ing in the near fu­ture. The work done at Cass to-date has also in­cluded a new play­ground, land­scap­ing around Cass Pond, the repaving of the park’s main park­ing lot off Cass and the re­moval of de­te­ri­o­rated park build­ings near the for­mer ice rinks. The pav­ing for the old bas­ket­ball courts lo­cated along Iron Rock Brook has been cleared from that site and it will be re­turned to a nat­u­ral land­scape as the im­prove­ment work con­tin­ues. “For now the fo­cus is on the soft­ball field,” D’Agostino said while point­ing to the need to com­plete that pro­ject be­fore a new phase is taken on. “We will be do­ing some ad­di­tional land­scap­ing on the slope and do­ing plant­ings that may even spell out Cass Park,” he said of the con­tin­u­ing work.

Joseph B. Nadeau pho­tos

Crews con­tin­ued work on the fu­ture home of the Woonsocket High School soft­ball team, Tues­day, putting the fin­ish­ing touches on a re­tain­ing wall.

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