Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I came home from practice and read Dee's post regarding the Providence Street Playground.  I also read Nicole's cost estimates for Providence Street, and I have to congratulate Worcester's Department of Public Works and Parks for another job poorly done.

A few years back, the City decided to daylight Beaver Brook throughout the length of Beaver Brook Park.  As part of the park makeover, they refurbished and relocated three of the four baseball/softball fields and the football field.  It took quite a bit of pressure to get DPW and Parks to address issues with the park redesign (details here, 2nd story down.)  As a 'compromise', Parks eliminated plans for the 4th baseball/softball field located on the site of the former football field due to safety concerns and flooding concerns.

When I was a kid, the open space behind the Little League's "A" field was a swamp that filled up with overflow from the brook every big rainstorm.  Then it was plowed under and became the Worcester Vikings' football field, which still flooded constantly.  During the 2005 redesign, Assistant Parks Commissioner Robert Antonelli assured the league that only 'historic rainfalls' will cause flooding of the open space once the work was completed.  Currently, that field is an open space the size of a football field and has a built in irrigation system and drainage.

Two summers ago, I witnessed a July thunderstorm that filled the entire open space and the whole right field of the "A" field with a foot of water in less than a half hour.  It's not the only time I've witnessed 'historic rainfalls.'  I can think of at least six instances in the past four years where I have personally witnessed Beaver Brook overflowing into the open space and the Little League field.

The open space gets a lot of use, and today I noticed two new additions to our practice space:

We now have sinkholes, four years after the project was completed.  Both holes, which range from six inches deep to over a foot in depth, are centered around sprinkler heads.  Both holes are expanding and very soft, so perhaps I will find this when I get down the field tomorrow:
I don't hold out much hope for the condition of our $500,000 Providence Street playground four years from now, and it's not because of vandalism.  I wonder how I should report this on the DPW help page.  Pothole?  Water Meter/Lawn Irrigation?  Item on Public Way?  Items in Waterway/Brooks?  There doesn't seem to be a Shoddy Workmanship form.


Nicole said...

Despite my crush on Rob Antonelli, I am in complete agreement. What do you think it would take for DPW to address this again/correctly?

Regarding the playgrounds in general...part of what I was thinking when I was looking at the numbers was HOW MANY playgrounds we could get for half a million dollars. I mean, if it's roughly $25k-$30k for equipment, there have got to be enough handy people in this city who are willing to help out to save the $10k in labor. A good number of elementary schools in this city would get some playground equipment for that dough.

In case the whole work-it-out-with-DPW-thing doesn't go anywhere, what if we just plan a mega-pool facility at Beaver Brook Park?

Sean Dacey said...

I assume most of the money went to the sidewalk reconstruction, not the playground. One need probably created the need to handcuff sidewalks to slides.

We could have a whole waterpark ride through the park. Shoot the Beaver Brook rapids! Skimboard across the practice fields! Ride the overflow wave across the field! We could even have some mudboggin' races.

I think this will be a reoccuring theme with this space due to the sprinkler system. There's so much erosion there because it is a flood plain....with a sprinkler system. Doh!

Nicole said...

Agreed on the sidewalks. That brings up a whole separate issue about how some people wait 4-5 years for their sidewalks to be replaced, but let's not go there.

I think you could have a money-making venture at Beaver Brook Park...just call it "Canobie Lake South!"

Sean Dacey said...

If you build a playground, the sidewalks will come!

We already have a money making venture in Beaver Brook Park- it's called the Worcester Vikings, who attempt to close a public park and charge anyone who enters a fee during their games.