On Saturday work commenced on the field rehabilitation and basketball court at Hamilton Avenue School.
The field work was done subsequent to St. Roch’s Church’s four-day Feast in August, which was during a heat wave and drought.
The BOE had approved the use of the field by the church for their annual Feast, a near century long tradition, with the exception of several recent years. (The school was closed in 2005 due to problems with mold and reopened anew in 2009. Recently, the district spent about $460,000 upgrading the field, including installation of geothermal well system.)
Parks & Rec director Joe Siciliano had advised the BOE against holding the Feast, which included carnival rides and trucks, on the school’s field. He said the field had recently been renovated and the new grass was still getting established.
But it was not Siciliano’s decision to make and the BOE approved the request despite a split vote.
According to Greenwich Schools communications director Jonathan Supranowitz, work on the field was the result of an agreement between the school district and both Passerelli Landscapes LLC and St Roch Church.
Supranowitz said the work is being done at no cost to the school district.
“They are donating their services to us,” he said.
On Friday Greenwich Schools superintendent Dr. Toni Jones emailed families and staff to notify them about both the resurfacing of the basketball court and field rehabilitation.
The basketball court, which is heavily used after school by local teens, was closed for resurfacing starting Saturday and will stay closed through Friday, Oct 7.
Dr. Jones said Parks & Rec would ensure the area would be safely cordoned off while work is being done.
She thanked both the Chickahominy Reunion Association and Parks & Rec for helping to fund that project.
Reached by phone Monday, Parks & Rec director Joe Siciliano said the cost of work to the basketball court involved three partners: the Chickahominy Reunion Association, the Board of Education and Parks & Rec.
He said CRA was the major funder, contributing $10,000, and that BOE and Parks & Rec each contributed $5,000.
Siciliano said Hinding Tennis LLC was the town’s vendor for work on a variety of courts, and, weather permitting, the work should be completed at the end of this week.
In her Sept 30 letter, Dr. Jones explained that the district had received a donation of services from St. Roch Church and a landscape contractor for the field rehabilitation.
“Over the next few months, the field will experience intermittent closings of small sections of the field to limit foot traffic, but there will always be ample space for our students to use during school hours,” Jones said in her letter. “Frequent watering of the grass is essential for the long-term health of the field to be done before 7:30am and after 6:00pm on school days.”
Reached by email, Paul Cappiali who was part of the St. Roch Church feast committee, said, “Fortunately, the field substantially recovered once the drought abated.”
He noted St. Roch Church had committed to returning the field to a better condition than it was received.
“Fortunately, landscapers and others graciously offered to contribute their services,” he said.
As for the basketball court, Cappiali said resurfacing had already been planned by the Chickahominy Reunion Association months before the Feast.
“We are not aware of any damage to the basketball court related to the Feast,” he added *Coincidentally, the President of the Chickahominy Reunion Association, Frank Cortese, was the Chairman of the St. Roch Feast Committee this year.”
Asked about the price tag for the field rehabilitation, Cappiali said, “Given the gracious cooperation by the landscapers, the out-of-pocket costs to the church were limited, and were paid out of other funds on hand as a gift to the community.”
“Ron Passerelli is a friend of St. Roch church as well as a dedicated citizen of the Town of Greenwich. He graciously volunteered to assist,” Cappiali added. “In fact, the Church was contacted by multiple local landscapers offering their services to help support the community. These vendors included, but were not limited to, Ron Passerelli at Passerelli Landscapes, LLC. (ronlandscapes.com), Frank Cortese at New England Total Landscaping (netlandscaping.com), Joe Furano at GFF Services LLC, and Tony & Ricky Capozza at Michael Capozza Landscape. The Church is grateful for the extraordinary offering and outpouring of support.”
Mr. Cappiali said the effort was a reflection of the commitment the church made to the children of Hamilton Avenue School, the parents of Hamilton Avenue School children, the Hamilton Avenue PTA, the elected Board of Education Members, the Board of Education administration, Greenwich Public Schools, the community of Chickahominy and to the greater community of the Town of Greenwich.
In her letter to staff and families, Dr. Jones also thanked the church for the coordination and collaboration on the work, as well as patience of the Hamilton Avenue community during the field rehabilitation.
On another note, Mr. Supranowitz said the damage to the stone wall around the tree well was repaired by the school district. He said damage to the stone wall was not associated with any one particular event.
Mr. Cappiali agreed. He said his understanding was that the stone wall was damaged prior to the Feast.