Whately OKs new softball field

  • The ballfield at Herlihy Park on River Road in Whately. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Herlihy Park on River Road in Whately will be the site of new softball field, with Special Town Meeting voters having approved the project on Wednesday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Herlihy Park on River Road in Whately will be the site of new softball field, with Special Town Meeting voters having approved the project on Wednesday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/2/2019 6:21:20 PM
Modified: 8/2/2019 6:21:06 PM

WHATELY — Special Town Meeting voters effectively said “Play ball!” on Wednesday, adopting an article appropriating $61,300 to construct a softball field at Herlihy Park.

Residents voted unanimously to use available Community Preservation Act money for the new field, which would replace the one at the former East Whately School bought by developer Bob Obear about six months ago. Voters at Whately Town Offices also opted to repurpose $3,000 in unexpended money, appropriated at the 2016 Annual Town Meeting, for the field’s construction and development on River Road.

Selectboard Clerk Jonathan Edwards said the town has put out a call for bids, with a submission deadline of 11 a.m. on Aug. 9.

“We will begin construction at the earliest possible time with an ideal start being in mid-September,” he said.

Edwards had previously explained there is “a good chunk of space” underutilized on Herlihy’s southwest side. It is used for youth soccer in the fall but goes unused the rest of the year.

Edwards said the new softball field could be used by not only Whately girls, but those from around the area. Its outfield could still be used for soccer, he said. There are already two baseball fields at Herlihy, at 271 River Road.

Bob Obear, who owns Obear Construction Company in Montague, said he plans to renovate the East Whately School, known locally as “the blue school” due to its color, into a combination of affordable and market-rate housing. The building also once served as the administrative offices of the Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts.

Obear explained there are no immediate plans for the existing softball field, though it may eventually be used as a green space and for parking.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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