At Wednesday’s Byram Neighborhood Association meeting, outgoing president Mike Bocchino presented a proposal from United Way to gift a wiffle ball field to the Town.
The site being considered is within Byram Park, just north of the tennis courts at the corner of Byram Shore Rd and Ritch Ave.
“The Town does not schedule any types of games there,” Bocchino said. “I’m not condoning what they’re trying to do or trying to get a vote either way,” Bocchino said. “I’m just telling you the truth about the usage of the field.”
Bocchino said the United Way’s proposal involves a temporary wiffle ball fence that would be oriented so as to allow for other uses of the field, such as volleyball, bocce ball or soccer, and space for groups renting the clambake pavilion donated by the Rotary Club. He said the funds for the proposed project reflected fees collected from the recent wiffle ball tournament staged at the polo grounds.
Bocchino said the proposed structure would be made of aluminum posts and have a 5″ thick cushion padding encased in vinyl. He said the intention is to create a look similar to Yankee stadium, one quarter of its actual size. Furthermore, Bocchino explained that the entire structure would be removable, with a removable strike zone.
Bocchino said the United Way’s intention is for the proposal to be on the agenda at the Sept 15 RTM meeting.
Several residents at the BNA meeting expressed concerned about adequate parking. Bocchino replied that since there is no parking allowed on the street, the field would only be used by players arriving on foot and by residents who park within Byram Park with Town issued parks stickers.
Bocchino described the existing field as “what we used to refer to as a midget league field.” The outfield would still be grass and the wall would stay up but could be removed for an event with adequate notice to the Town.
State Rep Steve Walko weighed in on the idea, describing it as premature. He said there wasn’t enough information to make a decision yet.
“The Town has not been maintaining the field, so it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said. “As a community, shouldn’t we be asking the same questions the RTM would be asking. He wondered if wiffle ball players had been surveyed, for example. “Let them come to us with definitive data.”
Walko said there is a shortage of multi-purpose fields in Greenwich, but not a shortage of baseball fields. He said the New Lebanon field is used all the time, and suggested that may be because there is generous parking, whereas Byram field may be less user-friendly park because of the need to park and walk up the hill.
One resident said there was already concern about adequate parking for the proposed Byram Pool, if and when it is installed. Mr. Bocchino agreed with Mr. Walko that more data should be requested from United Way and tabled the proposal.