Editorial: Join the conversation on Barrington fields and fieldhouse

Posted 1/13/23

The silent majority of residents who believe Barrington deserves a better recreational infrastructure need to speak up and join the conversation. Now is their time.

Town Councilor Rob Humm finally …

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Editorial: Join the conversation on Barrington fields and fieldhouse

Posted

The silent majority of residents who believe Barrington deserves a better recreational infrastructure need to speak up and join the conversation. Now is their time.

Town Councilor Rob Humm finally started the conversation that many have been hoping for. On Monday night he unveiled a bold plan to address decades of deficiency and improve recreational facilities for decades to come.

His three-part proposal is to 1) build a publicly-owned recreation center / fieldhouse in town; 2) install an artificial turf field for year-round use; and 3) improve the field maintenance resources for the town. His ideas did not receive unanimous endorsement from his peers, as several councilors showed skepticism about the outdoor turf field idea, but he won unanimous approval to move the conversation forward and start studying all the possibilities.

These ideas will spark criticism from small pockets of opposition. Some in town will loudly object to any kind of turf (indoor or out), or to large-scale public spending on something like organized sports. Others will warn of dire environmental harm from any and all of these ideas. They will be passionate, persuasive and prepared. However, they will not represent the majority of residents who have different perspectives and different passions. Those folks — the silent majority — will need to engage in the public dialogue if Humm and his supporters are to ultimately prevail.

There are many questions to be answered and many hurdles to be cleared. Locations, costs, funding sources, designs, environmental impacts — all need closer examination and community input. Humm has taken on a significant challenge, urging the town to move quickly and hoping to jump-start the process immediately. He even floated the possibility of actionable items for this year’s financial town meeting, maybe even a bond vote, or votes, this November.

This will demand quick work by town leaders and hearty participation from its residents. Hopefully they are prepared to speak up and join these conversations as they unfold in the coming months.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have organized, coached, enrolled or watched their children in youth and school sports, now and in the past. Many have experienced the frustration of sub-standard playing surfaces, scheduling conflicts, limited facilities, congested parking zones and questionable cancellations. Now is their time to be heard.

2023 by East Bay Media Group

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.