WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on June 6 will consider a site plan for improvements to Fran Purnell Field at 47 Mathews Ave., after the board on Monday informally discussed the plan.

As part of improvements, the city-owned baseball field will become a miniature replica of the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, and will include synthetic turf suitable for use by children with physical disabilities. It also will include new dugouts, a new concession and public address building with restrooms, according to the plans.

The field is named for Purnell, who has championed youth baseball for many years and helped build the field.

The Alfond Youth Center will improve the field using grants from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Harold Alfond Foundation, as well as from businesses and individuals. The project is expected to cost $1.2 million, according to the city’s website.

The Alfond Center oversees the field, which is used for its Cal Ripken program, which is a division of Babe Ruth Baseball for ages 4 though 12. The City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Alfond Youth Center for shared responsibilities at the field April 5.

On Monday, Mathews Avenue resident Jefferson Longfellow told the board that the field, which abuts his property, lacks off-street parking. Parking is inadequate at the site, he said.


He said there is also a lot of light spillover from the field to nearby properties and the public address system at the field also is a problem.

“The PA system is often unsupervised, both in volume and what is said on it,” he said. “These are things that should be addressed.”

Longfellow said the public address system has been used when no games are occurring on the field and the volume is excessive.

“Each year we seem to have to renotify parks and recreation and the Alfond Youth Center about what is excessive,” he said. “For example, I can hear it this time of year, when the windows are shut, over my television.”

Planning board member David Geller asked if there was screening around the field, and Longfellow said there is not, and that youths get in and use the public address system. He said he asked for additional screening in the past, but at the time the Parks and Recreation Department did not have the money to do that.

City Planner Ann Beverage said Tuesday that Longfellow planned to meet soon with Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan and Ken Walsh, chief executive officer of the Alfond Youth Center. Skehan confirmed that late Tuesday afternoon.


“Ken and I are organizing to meet with Jefferson to ensure that we address as many, if not all, of his concerns,” Skehan said. “I think that we can make everyone very happy with that project — all the neighbors.”

In other matters, the board approved a site plan for construction of four apartments in a barn at 319 Main St. owned by Bill Mitchell. The barn is at the rear of the property and is attached to a house that has offices inside. Mitchell said the plan is to build four one-bedroom apartments.

The board reviewed a site plan from 1986 for the project. Geller made a motion to allow the board to proceed with the 1986 site plan as presented. Board Chairman Nick Champagne said he was going to abstain from voting, as he is an engineer for A.E. Hodsdon Engineers and was working on the project. The board voted 5-0 to approve the plan, with Champagne abstaining. The board also approved findings of fact for the project, with Champagne abstaining once again.

The board also considered an informal plan for an approximate 2,000-square-foot addition to Grossman Hall at Colby College, making the entire building about 4,321 square feet and turning it into the college’s career center. Grossman is a three-story residence hall; the two-story addition will be built on the rear of the building.

Meeting rooms and a community area will be built on the first floor, and an elevator will be installed in the middle of the building. Entrances to the building will be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as part of the project. The board on June 6 will consider a site plan for the Colby project.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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