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Fairfield American, Field's Neighbors Square Off

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Fairfield American Little League and its president, David Pierpont, hope they can pull off another victory this week. Only this one will take place not on a field in Bristol, but in a conference room in Sullivan Independence Hall.

Friday, the league’s agreement with the town to renovate fields it uses at Gould Manor Park goes before the Board of Selectmen , where it faces opposition from neighbors.

“What we thought was a simple no-brainer to make [the park] all better hit its bumps in the road,” Pierpont said.

Fairfield American wants to rearrange the two baseball diamonds at the Holland Hill Road park . The fields face each other—and balls hit from home plate of either field head toward the other. The league wants to align the fields so their outfields lie in opposite directions.

Pierpont believes this will make playing safer. There would still be a risk of foul balls flying from one field to the other, but with the new layout players could at least see the balls heading toward them. Currently, their backs are to the opposing field.

Fairfield American would cover all costs for the changes and agreed to rearrange their plans to avoid cutting into the park’s hill or removing trees. The town would still own the fields and decide who gets to use them.

But Tony Pontecorvo and the Gould Manor Neighborhood Association have fought against the idea since the Parks and Recreation Commission first discussed it in May 2010. Part of the agreement also allows Fairfield American to put up fences along the perimeters of the field. Though the deal specifically states that the league most take down the fences during the off-season, Pontecorvo and his group are unhappy with the idea.

“I think that there’s other fields that could be considered,” said local resident Jack Hennessey. “I think this is a detriment to the whole neighborhood.”

The Parks and Recreation Commission approved the plan last fall, and despite requests from neighbors to reconsider it has stood by its decision. Neighbors also petitioned the Plan and Zoning Commission to hold a hearing on the proposal. But the P&Z decided in March that because the use of the park would not change, they would not take up the issue.

The Board of Selectmen will hold a special meeting Friday at 4 p.m. at Sullivan Independence Hall to hear public comment and vote on the agreement. If the league wins approval, work will start immediately.

What do you think about rearranging the baseball fields in Gould Manor Park? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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