By Cary Shuman
City Councillors Charles Patch and Patrick Keefe are going to bat for young baseball and softball players in Revere, requesting that city officials look into why the St. Mary’s baseball and softball fields haven’t opened in time for the 2016 season.
The two councillors co-sponsored a motion at Monday night’s City Council meeting requesting “the City Solicitor to review the contract for the St. Mary’s ballfields and make a determination if there is any recourse for the City of Revere for the contractor not completing the first field by April 1.
Revere Youth Baseball and Softball, led by president Danny Dacey, was slated to open its season at the new fields this week but league officials have rescheduled practices and games for its 700 players at other fields throughout the city. Keefe, who coaches in the league, told his Council colleagues that the league was asked to complete its (2015) season by July 1, so the contractor could begin construction early and have the fields completed in time for the new season.
“We were hoping for a mild winter, which happened, but unfortunately the progress never really started,” said Keefe. “I don’t think they put a shovel in the ground until late October and nothing really kicked back up in January, February or March. There seems to be a little bit more progress in the last few weeks, but it’s too little, too late.”
Patch said that the Revere High School softball program also planned to play its home games at the new St. Mary’s fields. He said the Revere team is an excellent one and everyone was excited about attending games at the new field.
“They’re having a great season and they don’t have the new field ready for their games,” said Patch. “It’s a shame.”
Council President Jessica Giannino said she has been receiving phone calls from constituents about the delay. She said the opening parade and festivities at the St. Mary’s field were a tradition that many look forward to each year.
Keefe said one of the softball fields could be ready by the third week of May.
“I’m hearing that now unofficially – because Councillor Patch and I were asked to leave an informal meeting and walkthrough at the field – that the best-case scenario would be the third week of May for one of the fields,” said Keefe.
The Council passed the Patch-Keefe motion unanimously and will meet on May 9 to discuss the St. Mary’s fields with city officials and the contractor.