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