Monday, July 07, 2008

Formica Town

What have we gotten ourselves into? Here in Fall River we've just spent 5 million dollars on new athletic fields for Durfee High School. They're brand new, sparkling and pristine, and it's already apparent that we just threw our money away.

There's been a lot of concern from our city officials about potential abuse and wear and tear on these new facilities. After all, the city spent a lot of money on this stuff and we want it to last a long time. We can't use it for graduation ceremonies and we don't want people walking on it. The school department was nice enough to open up the track and tennis courts for public use and look, in a matter of days they're already being littered with trash and dog waste. Is the best way to protect the public interest is to bar the public?

The problem is there are people who show no pride in our community and abuse and 'wear and tear' is going to happen. These are the things that should have been taken into consideration before all these improvements took place. The new football and practice field are covered in a polyethylene turf. It's the same stuff the New England Patriots play on. This is top of the line stuff but the maintenance and upkeep are expensive. Not only are we fearful of the public using these new fields, we don't even want the kids using them to drink Gatorade or other sugary drinks because of possible mold issues! Can you believe this? We have invested in new athletic fields that are the equivalent of your grandmother's front parlor! Grandma's best furniture, covered in plastic to protect it. Not that it mattered because no one was allowed in there anyway. How long before the city and school department take the same approach?

If you ever go into a home remodeling store and look at kitchen counter tops, granite is the stuff everyone seems to want. It's great to look at, in many ways it's very durable, but it's expensive and requires some upkeep and maintenance. Then there's Formica, it's looks decent, not great, but decent, it too is durable, and it requires very little maintenance. No, it's not as nice as granite but it's a hell of a lot cheaper and it gets the job done. Would you install a granite counter top if you didn't have the means to maintain it and you dreaded every time you set down a pot or pan?

The new athletic facilities at Durfee are like that granite counter top, and Fall River is a Formica town.


General said...

It is funny and sad at the same time.

What we needed was a good field, not a great field.

What we need are educational tools for our students.

This city is toast.

Fear and Loathing in Fall River said...

Playing football might beat some sense into the students. After all, the field only cost $5 million... Let's be honest, that doesn't buy a heck of a lot of books...

Lefty said...

General it's not about great or good, it's about living within your means. What we needed were facilities that we could afford AND afford to maintain. I don't think that's what we built.

Faye Musselman said...

Lefty, was the field built entirely with public funds or were there private contributions?

The budget for that project should have had $$ for ongoing maintenance so as not to tap into other line item costs from other operating expense.

Of course Durfee H.S. could use "detention" time for field clean-up.

Forced labor for teenagers. What a concept. ;)

Anonymous said...

The same rules apply within the gym no sugar drinks near the floor. I thing people should learn a little self respect and clean up after themselfs. Like the sign says" Your mother doesn't live here". These fields are state of art and if maintained properly will last a very long time. Tell the citizens in Fall River to have Pride Citywide!