January 21, 2009

Some seek full city ownership of Nelson Field

An image of Nelson Field that Moon-willow placed on Flickr.

Some Bristol political leaders hope to convince state officials to hand over Nelson Field to city control.

State Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat, said he’s setting up a meeting soon with state Department of Environmental Protection officials to talk about prospects for the move.

A city councilor, Republican Mike Rimcoski, has pushed the idea for many years as a way to open recreational options for the 50-acre open field off Burlington Avenue.

The state and city split the cost of purchasing the field in 1988 under the Recreation & National Heritage Trust Program with the understanding it would be left as open space.

It is used these days mostly by sledders in the winter and kite enthusiasts in warmer weather.

Mayor Art Ward said Wednesday he’s not against the idea – and supports the concept – but is worried that taking possession of the property might mean higher costs for the city during a tough economic time.

“Anything’s worse considering,” Ward said, but the details of the arrangement are crucial.

He said he would want to know more about who would maintain the property and whether the city would have any increased liability if it owned the land completely.

As it is, there is not much done to maintain the property by anyone.

The city constructed a 15-space parking lot for the field in 1996 after much prodding by two councilors at the time, Stretch Norton and Gerard Couture.

They said that without better parking, someone would get killed darting among cars parked along the busy road.

That lot doesn’t require much effort to keep up.

Ward said he believes that a private contractor mows the field for hay each fall, but that’s probably about it for routine matters.

Some years ago, bluebird houses were erected along the edge of the field, which is apparently a good habitat for the birds. That had the DEP’s backing but was done privately.

Rimcoski said he has heard that as part of the original land deal, the state was supposed to chip in $10,000 annually for maintenance of the property. But nobody seems to know whether that’s true. City lawyers are investigating.

Nicastro said that at this point, he’s merely looking into the prospects for the city’s takeover of the property. Nothing’s likely to happen quickly.

Given the city and state’s commitment to preserving open space, it is highly unlikely that any change would result in the development of the land.

At most, officials have said, it would remain part of the park system and perhaps ultimately have some recreational improvements.

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

13 comments:

Concerned Conservative said...

Ward is right! Too costly.

Why take it over? So the city has to hire more Park Depratment people?

Leave this place alone. What's the motivation here?

I M Upset! said...

Nicastro and Rimcoski do not seem to consider the on going costs!

No suchthing as a free lunch!

But thet are against better schools for our children.

Who is running against Rimcoski
and Nicastro??

I Forsee said...

For sure Nicastro is running for Mayor!

Watch out Artie.

Anonymous said...

Hey lets put a dog park there.

Anonymous said...

Leave the land alone. If you are never going to build on it - who cares!

Anonymous said...

Let it be. No need to change a thing.

Anonymous said...

Has Rimcoski lost it?

Is old age getting to him?

Odin said...

As Mike's hero Ronald Reagan used to say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". What's broke, Mike?

Anonymous said...

There's probably some "plan" on the back burner (that we don't know about) to develop the land for some other purpose rather than leaving the parcel as open space.

The big switch is now in play.

Why else would they be seeking complete city control?

Wondering whose interests will benefit from the switch?

Anonymous said...

Fabulous idea!
Great place for another brand new school after they close down that old Jennings school in a few years.

Then almost all the schools can be near Chippens hill.

Anonymous said...

"There's probably some "plan" on the back burner (that we don't know about) to develop the land for some other purpose rather than leaving the parcel as open space."

Not if it has Rimshot as it's champion. The guy is not in the loop on any anything these days...which makes him a shoe-in for reelection.

Concerned Conservative said...

January 22, 2009 9:22 AM

Right...and then Chippens Hill can be come part of Burlington or Plymouth and assist in making those two sprawling cesspools more costly to live.

Odin said...

Does anyone know exactly WHY Mike and Frank want the city to take sole ownership of the meadow? Do they want to put baseball diamonds there? Or a skating rink? The phrase "recreational options" is a little ominous coming from a couple of politicians not known for being detail-oriented.