Montague Center park improvements on horizon

  • Refurbishing the baseball field in the Montague Center Park, located behind the Montague Village Store, is expected to be done within the next year, thanks to fundraising efforts from a village resident. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The sandbox in the Montague Center Park. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Playground equipment in the Montague Center Park. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The backstop in the Montague Center Park will either be repaired or replaced, depending on the success of ongoing fundraising efforts. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 5/20/2021 3:40:20 PM

MONTAGUE CENTER — The Montague Parks and Recreation Department wants to refurbish and improve the Montague Center Park behind the Montague Village Store, though a timeline and the scope of the work will depend on funding.

Refurbishment of the baseball field in particular has been identified as a goal that could be achieved within the next year, according to Parks and Recreation Director Jon Dobosz. Other issues to be addressed will likely be parking, a general lack of accessibility for people with disabilities and potential improvements to the park’s playground.

“It’s not a particularly large park, but there certainly are enhancements that we need to make,” Dobosz said.

Earlier this spring, Dobosz was approached by Chris Pinardi, a resident of Montague Center who grew up in the village, and who was interested in raising money to improve the neighborhood’s baseball field.

Pinardi said he was disappointed when he and his daughter recently started playing baseball at the field, and he found that its condition had declined since when he had last played there 30 years ago.

It seemed the field hadn’t been properly maintained, he said. But he also realized that neighborhood residents didn’t use the field as much as they did when he was younger.

“You could always get a pickup game out there,” Pinardi said. “I just felt it was important to try and get that back up and running.”

After speaking to Dobosz about trying to rejuvenate the field, Pinardi started talking to potential donors, and found there was interest in the project. Greenfield Savings Bank in particular made a generous donation early on, which helped to show that the project could very likely be feasible, Pinardi said.

The minimum fundraising goal will be $5,000, which should be enough to at least install a new clay ground and to repair the damaged backstop, Pinardi said. If he can raise more money, he said it could go toward purchasing a brand new backstop instead of just repairing the old one.

So far, Pinardi said he has collected about $3,100, both through relatively large donations from local companies, as well as small donations from individuals, sometimes amounting to only a few dollars.

Depending on when the fundraising goal is met, Dobosz said construction at the field could start by the end of the summer.

To make a donation, mail a check to Jon Dobosz, Montague Parks & Recreation Department, 56 First St., Turners Falls, MA 01376. Make checks payable to “Town of Montague.” In the memo line, write “Montague Center park donation.”

The other pieces of the park’s renovation, targeting the playground, parking lot and accessibility, are not so clear yet, Dobosz said. Designs are now being considered by the Parks and Recreation Department, and a design should be settled by January or February, he said.

The scope of those projects will probably be determined by available funding, which hasn’t been settled yet, Dobosz said. It seems there aren’t many grants available for the project, so it will likely be funded by some combination of private and corporate donations, he said.

“I think it’s going to be a creative funding process,” Dobosz said. “But I don’t anticipate this being a multi-million dollar project.”

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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