Went to my last 7:00 AM meeting of the Fields Committee this morning. Not going to miss the hour, but will definitely regret not being around in the future to witness this monthly example of collaboration and problem-solving. The challenges of scheduling and managing the athletic fields in the Village take a lot of effort to resolve and address efficiently. They are all definitely addressed – not always efficiently, but always with the best intentions.
Today’s meeting had two highlights for me. First, two 4th grade Girl Scouts and their moms/troop leaders came to speak to the Committee about the problem of litter in the Village, particularly on the sports fields. They are asking the sports groups to spread some ideas to coaches and to pass along to kids and other athletes the need to pick-up litter, improve trash can locations, designate team litter monitors, etc. They’ll be posting some handmade, laminated signs on sports field trashcans, too.
The other notable portion of today’s Fields meeting was a conversation with representatives of the Church League softball league. The Church League was started in approx. 1987 and is made up of 250 players on 10 teams (representing 9 churches). Approx. 85% of the players are Ridgewood residents (aka taxpayers) and they are frustrated at the year-after-year reduction in their access to softball diamonds (made considerably worse by the loss of diamonds at BF). They just want to make sure consideration is being given to their program when fields are scheduled. It was helpful for the committee to be reminded of the adult users of our sports fields – too often we think in terms of children only. The number of kids playing all sports has increased over the decades, but let’s not forget that Dads and Moms have a right to use our fields, as well. (In addition to the Church League, there are also Men’s, Mom’s and Adult Leagues playing on Ridgewood fields. These are just softball – there are also adult soccer, flag football and other programs.)
The reps from the Church League did say that they would be communicating their message to the Village Council, as well, since the Council will be determining the use to come at the Schedler property and the Habernickel Horse Farm, etc.
There were plenty of other topics discussed at today’s meeting, including: the upcoming lighting tests at RHS Stadium and Stevens Fields (tentatively scheduled, pending weather, for tomorrow night), the draft Fields Policy being voted-on by the Village Council on May 11, a potential auto-call program to alert parents about field closures, new parking regulations adjacent to Stevens Field on North Irving Street, and the structure and function of the Committee itself (vis-à-vis input by athletic field neighbors). I’m not sure who will be the BOE liaison to the Committee going forward – it will be decided after the Board’s reorganization meeting, which takes place next Monday.
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