Recreation Department tries program expansion

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 10:00am

The Block Island Recreation Department is looking for ways to expand its programs for the island’s younger residents, particularly students in the upper grades at school.

Recreation Department Dave Sniffen said attendance at the Recreation Room at Harbor Church attracts a pretty decent crowd on Friday nights, but he hasn’t seen many of the older teens attend.

Because of that, he said he was thinking about opening the school gym on Saturday nights.

“It’s just a thought to give them another alternative. Maybe this will be a good opportunity to do something different for that age group,” Sniffen said.

“Give it a shot,” said Recreation Board Chair Chris Willi.

The department was also starting a winter swimming lesson program for pre-kindergartners at a pool located on the mainland, either at the University or Rhode Island or the YMCA in Peacedale.

“URI is probably more affordable but Peacedale is so much more convenient,” said Recreation Department Assistant Cindy Lemon. About six kids in the three to four year old range are interested.

“It’s a good idea,” said Board member Annie Hall. “And the parents have to go be with the child?”

“Absolutely,” said Lemon.

Sniffen said the Girls Volleyball team was continuing to play at the gym on Sundays and have opened up the games to anyone 16 years old and up.

“It’s working almost as a pilot program,” said Sniffen. “We’ll do it for six to eight weeks. See how it goes.”

Sniffen also said he had received plans from Town Engineer Jim Geremia that will eliminate the drainage issues at Heinz Field. He said he was going to have Town Manager Ed Roberge, who is also an engineer, look them over. Sniffen said the drainage installation would cost about $25,000, the landscaping of the parking area would be another $25,000, and that the money has already been budgeted.