Councillors-at-Large Dan Rizzo and George Rotondo want to know why there is no permanent snack bar or restroom facilities at the St. Mary’s youth baseball and softball fields.
The fields, known as The Fields at Griswold Park and home to the Revere Youth Baseball and Softball organization and the Revere High softball team, opened four years ago.
Following a motion by Rizzo and Rotondo that Mayor Brian Arrigo use the funding dedicated for the project, the Council discussed the issue with Don Ciaramella of the Department of Public Works. Ciaramella said the work was put out to bid, but there was no initial response, except for sub-contractors. Another bidding process drew one contracting bid for $1.1 million, which was believed to be much too high for the project. He said another bidding process is ongoing.
“We want a good building and we want it to come in on budget,” said Ciaramella.
Rizzo said as mayor of Revere he was intimately involved in the project and he can’t understand the reason for the long delay in the construction of a snack bar and building for the restroom facilities.
“Word that was coming out of City Hall and word that was being told to people at St. Mary’s was how outrageous it was that $750,000 for a concrete block building was being spent – to which I say, everything goes out to bid anyway. So if it’s worth $750,000, the bid’s going to come in at $750,000.”
Rizzo then elaborated on what truly displeased him about the project.
“This started in 2015. At best we’re going to start building the snack bar and the restrooms in 2019, so at best, four years to build a snack bar and restrooms. In the meantime, children, their parents, their grandparents, coaches, and other spectators have to use these port-o-potties, which we all know what port-o-potties are like.
“This is why a lot of parents at St. Mary’s get in their cars and are forced to drive home and use their own private bathrooms, which is a disgrace as far as I’m concerned,” said Rizzo, noting that he was not blaming Ciaramella for the delay.
Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch, whose granddaughter plays softball at St. Mary’s, also said he heard many complaints from parents about the lack of restrooms at the fields.
Mayor Arrigo responded to the criticism from the councillors, releasing the following statement:
“There are a lot of rumors surrounding the bathroom and snack facility at St. Mary’s baseball field and I’m happy we are able to set the record straight. Unfortunately, the construction of the ballfields began without having the public bathrooms and snack area properly designed or budgeted for. The original plans for the facility were impossible as the fields had already been laid and the building itself was too heavy for the soft, marshy ground.
“My administration took the steps to design and engineer the facility in-house. Any delay attributed to this project is a result of getting it done “the right way” and many thanks go to Don Ciaramella for saving the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. We look forward to delivering a facility that is high quality and under budget. The fabric of our community is made at youth and family activities, which remain a top priority for my administration.”