Madison Council Approves Little League Field Improvements

Kings Road students receive a proclamation from Mayor Robert Conley for Read Across America on March 1. Credits: Liz Keill
Madison Little League President Ernest Cicconi describes field projects. Credits: Liz Keill
Union spokesman Vincent Bansha appears with members at council meeting. Credits: Liz Keill
MADISON, NJ – The Rosedale and Dodge Little League fields will see a number of improvements this spring, according to League President Ernest Cicconi. Once he described the proposals at the Feb. 25 Borough Council meeting, the council voted to accept a donation of batting/pitching cages as part of its consent agenda.
“We will fund these improvements ourselves,” Cicconi said, “and will have local sponsors.” At Rosedale, he said, the batting cage would be moved so that it doesn’t impinge on viewing of two games. Plans are in the works for picnic benches and a pavilion at a later date, which would be located behind the hut in a grassy area to the left of the concession stand. The area would be surrounded by shrubbery.
At Dodge Field, two small mounds and home plates have been used by Madison High School a couple of times a year, he said. The league plans to enclose the area and use it for batting cages, which will be unobtrusive, between trees and a fence. In the dugout, he said, which floods easily, plans are in the works to put down two concrete pads. “Ultimately, we’d like to put up awnings to provide shade,” he said.  Cicconi said he will return to the council with more information on costs and a timetable.
Field projects may be discussed again at the upcoming budget meeting, Councilman Robert Catalanello said when presenting his public works report. “Don’t rush into another decision at Bailey Ellard,” he told the council. “We should see if recreation plans dictate a necessity.” He noted, “I have a keen interest in recreation, but we need to be careful about proposed spending.” He referred to the $185,000 for open space projects. He said there are fields in town that are not being used. “Why spend funds if it’s not needed?” he added.

Councilwoman Astri Baillie referred to Open Space in her public safety report. She said recent newspaper articles have stressed the importance of open space in helping to fight climate change. “Madison has overwhelmingly supported Green Acres Funds and county and state trust funds. We’ve acquired lands for parks, turf fields and the historic Miller House.” She added investment in open space increases home values and that Bayley Ellard land has been zoned for open space.
Finance Chairman Ben Wolkowitz reminded those present that the next budget meeting is at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 1, when the Board of Health, utilities and the capital budget will be discussed. At the next council meeting on March 11, revaluation of property will be on the agenda. If numbers go up, that doesn’t mean taxes necessarily go up, he said.

A janitorial union representative and several union members came before council to voice objections to Avalon Bay, one of the construction contractors bidding on the Green Village Road property.  Spokesman Vincent Bansha said, “Avalon would be the wrong choice for Madison.” He said they do not offer fair wages and fail to ensure the safety of workers. He offered to share a fact sheet with the council regarding construction contracts, OSHA violations, accidents and lawsuits.

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