On March 17, 2008, the Friends of Softball (FOS)
submitted a proposal to the Goffstown School Board
whereby the FOS would fund $50K in improvements to the
Mountain View Middle School (MVMS) softball field.
But there was a catch: Once the improvements are made,
the fields - publicly owned and taxpayer-supported -
would become off limits to programs such as
Goffstown Junior Baseball, which currently serves over
420 children from our school district.
The board then unanimously approved the Friends of
Softball proceeding with the upgrading of the MVMS
Keep in mind that this is a taxpayer-owned facility...no
notice was given by the school board and no public
hearing was ever scheduled.
We are well aware of the
current condition of that field and what these
improvements would mean to the school softball teams and
the Babe Ruth Softball program. We also realize that
from a fiscal perspective, this would be a win-win for
the Town in that taxpayer funds would not be expended
for these improvements.
But as far back as we can recollect, programs such as
Goffstown Junior Baseball have always been allowed the
use of the softball field at MVMS. And remember -
Mountain View is a taxpayer-funded field.
School Board chairman
Keith Allard told us that the board is "...looking to
place restrictions on the use of the field in what it is
used for so that is it maintained and not damaged as it
has in the past. An example is that Tristate
soccer used the field and would cause some damage.
With $50k in private funding being put into the field,
we want it maintained properly and be used for what is
was designed for numerous years ago."
Again, this is a taxpayer-supported field.
Why has there not been a public hearing on this?
Allard told us the school board is holding a "public" meeting on Tuesday, May 13th at 7:00 PM at Mountain
View Middle School, and that notice of this meeting has
been posted. When we asked where the notice
was posted, he did not respond. As of this
writing, there is no notice whatsoever posted anywhere
on the school district's web site that we could find.
Goffstown Junior Baseball pays to lease the space at the
Lions Field. They have also paid when asked to
contribute funds to maintain the Mountain View fields.
They have used Cemetery Field, Roy Park, the Sarette
Fields, the Mountain View Gym and Hilltop and the Maple
Avenue Gym. And Goffstown Junior Baseball has
always used these facilities without issue.
Goffstown Junior Baseball has never asked for anything
from the Town. They have been, and remain,
self-reliant, a claim few youth organizations in New
Hampshire can make. Yet the school board is now
poised to deliver control of a publicly-owned,
taxpayer-supported facility to a private organization without any input from their
There are other interesting issues to consider as well:
- Facility Use
Policy: The first use of
this taxpayer-owned school facility is for school
activities. The second is municipal use, and
finally, the third use is for private groups. How
does one private group's donation negate the first
two use priorities, and have more sway over other
Why wasn't there an opportunity for all of the
groups using the facility to submit a "bid" to help
improve the facility? Now that we think of it,
how can any publicly-owned facility be put up for
"bid" in the first place?
- Public Notice:
- When was this
advertised so that all groups had a chance to
- When was a
public hearing on this held? (Answer: There was
- This land is
public land, not private land. What's
next? Is the gym for sale??
- How does a
private entity take over a public facility
for their own use??
present Goffstown High School softball field was
originally built through the all-sports
booster club AND THE TOWN OF GOFFSTOWN DPW Department. GJB used to practice
there but was not allowed to practice
there after the Babe Ruth Softball
program made improvements. GJB teams
practiced there until 2003. Goffstown
High School softball
teams had no field prior to this and
played their games at the GJB facility
at the Villa. What if GJB and the Villa
had said "No" to that: where would the
Goffstown High School teams have played?
- GJB has
paid a yearly stipend to the school
district for use of the field. Does that
is IMPERATIVE that Goffstown residents/taxpayers attend
school board's "public" meeting on this issue.
Tuesday, May 13th at 7:00 PM
Mountain View Middle School.