Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Park and Recreation Commission, November 28, 2023

Park Permitting for Arlington Private Preschools

The Arlington Park and Recreation Commission discussed the need for a formal permitting process for private preschools using town parks and playgrounds. Recreation Director Joe Connelly shared the background on the use of parks by various organized programs and the impact this has had, including resident complaints about limited availability, wear and tear on facilities, and financial implications for maintenance and repairs. A draft policy was presented, suggesting programs submit permit requests and pay fees ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, to be included in tuition fees starting the 2024/2025 school year, with an immediate start on permitting.

Commission members emphasized considering program sizes when determining fees, to ensure fairness to smaller programs. There was also discussion around the rationale of imposing fees on taxpayer-funded programs. The Commission agreed on the necessity of a statement highlighting policy details, including information on taxpayers and programs that pay rent to the town. The next steps include immediate application of permits, information gathering, and determining fees.

Public Arts Mural Conversation

Cecily Miller from the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture sought the Commission’s input on potential park or playground sites for murals, introducing the concept of “free walls.” Miller mentioned available grant funding for mural projects that must be used before November 2024. Commission members made various suggestions, such as McClennen Skate Park, Spy Pond bleachers, and the Rez pump house. There was a consensus that murals should be thematically appropriate for the location and the audience they cater to, with ideas for a mural incorporating a memorial for MJ the bald eagle and featuring at other significant sites like Trader Joe’s wall and the Arlington Boys and Girls Club. The Commission will email further site suggestions to be compiled and ranked for discussion at the next meeting on December 12.

Comments and Items for Future Meetings

The Commission briefly mentioned that future meetings will address the permitting of alcohol on Commission property and a deeper discussion on the public arts mural location.

Bench Donation at Reservoir

A request for a dedication plaque to honor Liam Mattingly on an existing bench at Monroe Brook inlet was approved after adjusting the initial wording to fit guidelines.

Spy Pond Picnic Table Donation

Paul Harvey’s submission for a Spy Pond picnic table donation led to an on-site assessment, with a flat, grassy area near trash receptacles identified as the best location for installation, despite accessibility concerns. Plaque wording was sanctioned, with placement options on the table being top center or side, as advised by Mr. Connelly. Ms. Rothenberg mentioned the site’s use by Arlington-Belmont Crew for dry-land exercises.

Correspondence Received

The Commission acknowledged receiving parallel construction responses via email and a letter from the Rogers Pierce Board of Directors regarding park/playground permitting.

Approval of minutes was tabled, no new business or public comments were addressed, and the meeting adjourned at 9:45pm with a unanimous vote.



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