A house behind the third base dugout at Purnell Wrigley Field on Mathews Avenue in Waterville. The Alfond Youth & Community Center has worked with the city to address parking problems at the field. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The Alfond Youth & Community Center is working with city officials to alleviate parking problems that have occurred along Mathews Avenue when events are held at nearby Purnell Wrigley Field.

The Alfond Center oversees the ballfield, which is used for its Cal Ripken Baseball program, a division of Babe Ruth Baseball.

Last year, when the Cal Ripken World Series was hosted at the city-owned field at 47 Mathews Ave., an influx of people from around the country included some who did not follow city parking guidelines, causing inconvenience for Mathews Avenue residents, according to a statement from Alfond officials.

“Despite the World Series being a one-time event, we understand there may be some Mathews Avenue residents with lingering parking concerns,” the statement, emailed Thursday to the Morning Sentinel, reads. “We are committed to being a good neighbor and toward that end, are taking the following steps to help eliminate any inconvenience to neighbors.”

Among those steps: Alfond Center staff members have been trained on parking issues, and will notify proper authorities when vehicles are parked illegally; the Alfond Center has invested in and placed cameras at the field so officials know of activities there at all times; and existing programming has been relocated so as many Sundays as possible will have no activity at the field.

The Sunday change is being made at a significant loss to the Alfond Center, according to the statement.


“Larger events have been moved to Maine’s Fenway Park and the smaller rentals have been moved to Purnell Wrigley Field when possible,” according to the statement. “Opening Day, April 26, has been moved to Colby College. We are looking forward to the upcoming baseball and softball season with 250 kids and Maine Special Olympics Unified Champion athletes participating, and to continuing to serve the community by providing programs that enable our young people and their families to realize their full potential. …”

Maine’s Fenway Park is at the Alfond Center’s Camp Tracy on McGrath Pond in Oakland.

The small parking lot at Purnell Wrigley Field on Mathews Avenue in Waterville. The Alfond Youth & Community Center has worked with the city to address parking problems at the field during the Cal Ripken Baseball season. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Beth LaFountain, the Alfond Center’s new athletic director, sent a letter recently to Mathews Avenue residents explaining the changes being made for the upcoming season. The letter informed residents the center has been working with Matt Skehan, director of the Waterville Parks & Recreation Department and the Public Works Department, to best address “the unfortunate disturbances to the residents of Mathews Avenue,” which runs from Cool Street to First Rangeway.

“We understand that the unique opportunity of hosting last year’s Cal Ripken World Series magnified existing concerns understandably held by residents,” LaFountain wrote in her letter.

The center’s top priority is to be the best neighbor it can be, while continuing to provide many healthy opportunities for local youths to get outside and create lifetime memories with their families and teammates, according to LaFountain. New expectations around parking will be communicated to coaches, including limiting music and banning noisemakers during games.

Mary Alice Johnson, the Alfond Center’s new marketing and communications director, said Thursday the center and city worked well together to develop changes.


“I can’t say enough about the great folks at the city of Waterville who worked to help us resolve this,” she said.

The city approved a memorandum of understanding in 2016 with the Alfond Center for shared responsibilities at Purnell Wrigley Field. The center raised $1.2 million to renovate the field into a replica of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, complete with special turf, a public address building, dugouts, lights, bathrooms and access for those with disabilities.

The Alfond Center improved the field using grants from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Harold Alfond Foundation, along with donations from businesses and individuals.

The field is named for Fran Purnell, who championed youth baseball for many years and helped build the field. Purnell was present for the field’s dedication in 2017.

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