How Organic Municipalities Do It | Bob Ceccolini | Cheshire Connecticut
Lots of taxpayers money and a lot of summer students to help replace the fields yearly.
Town of Cheshire Minutes 2014
Mr. Ceccolini reported that he, Town Manager Milone, and Dan Marsaglia (BOE) met
with the DEEP about pesticide and organic use by municipalities. A state-wide
program will be undertaken, and at this time, Cheshire is the only town that is almost totally organic in use. For K-8 schools, no pesticides can be used – only synthetic products are allowed. Cheshire’s Parks and Rec Department has been doing heavy organic use since 2006, and the State looks to Cheshire for assistance and information on the town’s organic program. Here:
Mr. Ceccolini said the grounds are quite wet and people are doing their best to try and stay off the wet areas. The Lacrosse teams were practicing out in the parking lot yesterday. Mr. Ceccolini said all the teams were able to use the turf field and share it.
Chairman Nankin commented on Cheshire being the leader in the State of Connecticut with use of organic pesticides. He asked Mr. Ceccolini about this program being more labor intensive and what the benefits are to the parks. Use of organic materials has not changed or affected the labor costs, and Mr. Ceccolini advised that the organic versus synthetic materials has a little more cost. The program started in Cheshire about 7 years ago with use of synthetic and organic materials on the fields, with expanded use of organic pesticides and fertilizer over the years in the parks and on the fields. The Town is undertaking organic composting and is looking for an area to house the composting. Cheshire schools use only organic pesticides. The artificial turn has been a bonus to many of the sports programs. Mr. Ceccolini stated that the [almost] organic program is a big success, and the program was looked into when the Cancer Crusade started a few years ago. It was found that there is no difference between the use of synthetic and organic materials; awareness was increased; and the decision was made to go with only organic materials for the Town fields. The department has received no complaints about the fields, and there is support for the organic materials.
Field improvements – rebuilding infields, composting fields, rebuilding fences…which are costly. Mr. Ceccolini stated that the Town Council has been generous with parks improvement funding.
Mr. Ceccolini said the two soccer fields at Quinnipiac Park where redone, Fields 3 and 4 (far back corner). He noted they try to rebuild a field on a year to year basis. Sixty yards of topsoil was brought in to do the fields. He said Chuck Sherwood, a private contractor, came in to do the topsoil, overseed and hay. The price was $15,000 but we are getting ½ the price from the Soccer Club. Mr. Ceccolini said the far back corner is the worst field at Quinnipiac.
Mr. Ceccolini said the crew worked at Cheshire Park on the main field. They ripped up the edges from the backstop to the edges and made it all clay. They will make the arc bigger, grind the stumps and remove one dead tree. Mr. Ceccolini said work at Quinnipiac came out well. P&R is down to five guys maintaining six
Mr. Ceccolini said Cheshire Park came out good. He said the smallest field at MacNamara, Field 3, was worked on. The crew took sod out of the infield, leveled and graded it. It will be a new infield next year.