Thanks to a large donation by a local family, the Scituate High School Varsity Baseball Field, located behind the high school, will have lights as early as the spring.
According to Selectmen Chairman Joseph Norton, the Reidy family, through the John D. Reidy Jr. Memorial Foundation, donated about $200,000 to install lights on the field in memory of John D. Reidy Jr.
“They have raised money through golf tournaments and other events in the last [several] years, and over the years they have contributed donations to the towns for different things in recreation,” Norton said. “But this is a very large donation close to $200,000, which is probably [one of] the largest donations probably in the town’s history.”
The donation will also benefit the town’s Little League and varsity league, which use the field for games. Under the proposal, the name of the field would be changed to The John D. Reidy Jr. Varsity Field.
According to Scituate Little League President Dan Fennelly, Scituate Little League matched the first $25K with the Reidy Fund and has been holding the Reidy donations in escrow for the eight years this has been in progress.
However the majority of the funding is from the Reidy foundation, and Scituate Little League will be managing and installing the lights "from soup to nuts". The league proposed to the town that they provide the same type of implementation as the High School Scoreboard last year.
The lights are a fitting tribute to Reidy, who was very active in Little League since it was founded in Scituate, Norton said. Reidy, a longtime employee of United Parcel Service, died in 2006.
Lights will be a big benefit for the area, and allow more usage of the field.
Currently, the High School plays about a dozen games a year on the field; the Little League plays about 150 games in spring and summer. There also are 30-plus teams that use the field every Sunday afternoon.
"This is a great thing for the High School, the town and all the players that will play on the field," Fennelly said. "This gives us additional games and practices during the season and the kids (of all ages 13-30) love to play under the lights."
Selectmen accepted the gift on behalf of the town. The Reidy memorial fund and Scituate Little League also plan to go to the School Committee to alert them of the donation.
Norton was unsure of any permitting that may have to be done for the lights, but said that Reidy family members were already planning to sit down with neighbors to discuss any concerns.
Additionally, the how and when of the light installation will need to be sorted, Norton said.
“The logistics have to be worked out with DPW as far as when they are going to start it, and they plan to start as soon as possible with the hopes of having working lights there by the spring, maybe not for the entire baseball season, but for a part of it,” Norton said.
There's a possibility they might be able to light up the football practice field too, if the funding can be stretched far enough.
The proponents are suggesting that the town charge a fee to use the lights, which are estimated at about $4,000 a year in electrical costs.