The Recreation Commission provided updates to grant progress and their budget during their Thursday, April 11 meeting.

The LPRF grant was cleared for environmental impact, meaning constructing a bathroom and adding lights to the soccer field complex off Waite Street will not negatively affect the environment. With this approved, the project can move forward. Parks and Recreation Direction Bonnie Gamble predicts no money will be spent on the project until the next fiscal year.

Budget-wise, Gamble outlined the cuts she made from Parks and Recreation, as requested by the city.

“We cut from the Rec. Department budget, close to $200,000 in the first round,” Gamble explained. “Part of what allowed us to do that is we had capital equipment money the last successive years. I haven’t spent it all because I’ve been trying to save it, because it does roll, in case something happened or the roof went or whatever. So we’re delving into that pot for some of the things I had said would be paid out of our regular budget.

“I had put in some raises for some employees that I feel like had done an extraordinary job and I wanted to make sure they got something extra, especially our maintenance crew,” she continued. “As you said, you go compliments on the field. If you go back, you know, you guys, you’ve been on the rec. commission for a long time and the maintenance issues we’ve and, and once you get a good crew – they all work well together, they all get along together – you just don’t want to lose them.”

She also cut the full time maintenance position, which amounted to about $31,000.

Gamble was adamant about keeping in $50,000 for a second boiler.

“We need another boiler. Part of the problem that people are complaining about with the pool temperature is air temperature,” Gamble said. “We have one boiler now that functions to heat 64,000 square feet. It goes down and guess what? You have nothing. So we need another one.”

The Tourism Commission can pay for the boiler if her pending request for funds is approved, however Gamble had another idea.

The Parks and Recreation Department would like a reel mower to properly mow ballfield to the correct length. This way, tourism would be directly investing into something that brings in people from all over the region to compete in tournaments.

Both would amount to the same cost and the boiler, if tourism decides to pay for the reel mower, would come out of the Parks and Recreation capital equipment fund.

News Editor

Casey recently joined the Manchester Times team in March 2018. Coming off a 17-month reporter stint in Port Chester, NY, she is looking forward to slowing down and integrating herself into the community. She currently resides in Manchester.

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