City of Somerville

Agenda Item
Kept in Committee
May 7, 2019 6:00 PM

That the Director of Parks and Recreation and the Superintendent of Schools share their policies and procedures for allocating indoor spaces and outdoor spaces, in particular for local or youth-serving organizations.


Department:City CouncilSponsors:City Councilor At Large Stephanie Hirsch, Ward Six City Councilor Lance L. Davis, City Councilor At Large Wilfred N. Mbah, Ward Three City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen, Ward Four City Councilor Jesse Clingan

Official Text

That the Director of Parks and Recreation and the Superintendent of Schools share their policies, timelines/deadlines, fees, and procedures for allocating indoor building/gym space and outdoor field space to organizations each season, in particular local or youth-serving organizations.


Meeting History

Mar 22, 2018 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

Alderman Hirsch requested the Superintendent of Schools and the Director of Parks and Recreation share their plans for the upcoming sports season with Conway Park now being taken offline.

Apr 23, 2018 5:30 PM Video Youth Services Committee Committee Meeting

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the policy and procedures used when assigning fields for use. Ms. Lathan heard comments from members of the public who were present and expressed their feelings that youth programs are being bumped for other organizations. Ms. Lathan stated that the priority for field use is always given to youth activities and the Somerville Youth Soccer League has the fields every Saturday and also uses the grass fields Monday through Friday. She explained the online permitting policy and said that it is very user-friendly and transparent. The software used has been very successful and has been noted as being the best online permitting system in the state. The DCR and other communities have called asking about the program used by Somerville Parks and Recreation.

Statements were made that adults deserve time on the fields, as well, and it was pointed out that some adults on the leagues do not live in Somerville. The committee was reminded that Dilboy Stadium is a regional facility and it was also noted that the grass fields in Somerville are over used. Residents in the room were allowed to ask questions with a two-minute limit. A question was asked about which group would be cut from using the field at the Argenziano School when it comes back online since that field will have 500 available hours a year of playing time, with the school using 390 hours for recess and the remaining 110 hours being used by youth soccer. Ms. Lathan said that she will coordinate with the schools on field use, adding that there would be no adult use on the new grass field.

There were several members representing the Somerville Youth Soccer League at tonight’s meeting and concerns were raised about reduced field space with the Lincoln and Conway fields not in use. It was suggested that the city offer a subsidized amount for youth organizations using Dilboy Stadium due to the other fields being out of service and a comment was made that there should be field space for unstructured play for children. Chairman Hirsch stated that there is a perception that the distribution of space for youth organizations isn’t fair and it was suggested that the data from the permitting software be examined to show how the fields are currently being used to show the equality of use.

There was also a question about how important it is to show a profit for Dilboy and to show DCR that the city can manage the property, as this seemed to really be important with the city hoping to someday takeover the use of Foss Park. Dilboy’s hourly rate is $185 for the stadium and youth rate is $113.33. Ms. Lathan has regular talks with DCR, as does the Mayor’s office, and there is support for the way the stadium is being used and the future use of Foss Park. Alderman Ballantyne remarked that there are fewer complaints about permitting with the software in place. Some of the residents in the room believed that some of the complaints may be a carryover from the previous Parks and Recreation staff and acknowledged that the real anger is about the quality of the fields.

The field master plan will be finalized on May 9th and will be shared with the public for review and comment.

Jul 2, 2018 6:00 PM Video Youth Services Committee Committee Meeting
Oct 24, 2018 6:00 PM Video Youth Services Committee Committee Meeting

Mr. Curley spoke about the shift of the gym space and the priority for indoor space as well as requests for time between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. and on weekends. Parks and Recreation could take over this area to make it a more open and transparent process. Some residents feel that gym use is given to other programs outside of Somerville.

Apr 8, 2019 6:00 PM Video Youth Services Committee Committee Meeting

Ms. Lathan stated there has been no movement yet. The District reviews and approves permitting and DPW has a big role too.

May 7, 2019 6:00 PM Video Youth Services Committee Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Mr. Koty stated that requests to use indoor spaces are submitted to the school department and sent to DPW to issue permits. DPW charges a detail fee for the custodians, which is according to their contract. The charge is $35 an hour plus $50 for a total of $145 for a four hour block. A question was raised as to whether or not fees differ by type of user.

Chair Hirsch motioned and it was accepted that the Administration report on the feasibility of adding a budget line, such as in the Recreation Budget, that could help make school building facilities more affordable for use by community groups by helping to cover custodial detail fees.