New site emerges for Derby ballfield 
 Ex-landfill weighed for sports expansion
  By KRISTEN SKIRKANICH     Saturday, January 27, 2001
DERBY -- The Board of Aldermen is waiting for word from the Neighborhood Committee before authorizing the city's engineer to design plans for new athletic fields.

The board decided to have the Neighborhood Committee -- which will discuss the issue at a Wednesday meeting -- investigate property near the Derby landfill to see if it is suitable for a baseball diamond. 

The proposed diamond would not be on the landfill itself, but elsewhere on the city-owned 52-acre parcel that contains the dump. The parcel is on Pine Street off Marshall Lane 

The proposal involves some changes at Bradley School, as well.

That school currently has one baseball diamond and one soccer field, according to aldermanic Chairman Michael Kelleher.

Kelleher said if a baseball diamond is built on the Pine Street parcel, the baseball field at Bradley can be converted to an extra soccer field, much needed in a city where 300 children play the sport.  The soccer field at Bradley is not regulation-size.

The committee will consider the findings of the Naugatuck Valley Brownfields Pilot after water and soil samples are taken from the parcel.  Rick Dunne, director of development and administration for the city and a board member of the Pilot, said those findings might be available next week.  The brownfield project tests Valley sites for environmental contamination.

Dunne told the aldermen at a meeting earlier this week that they "really shouldn't go through with any design work before ground testing is done."

"We have funds for municipalities to do environmental investigation on municipally owned lands," Dunne said.  "We're not anticipating finding anything," but it was a good measure to take, Dunne said. 

Kelleher presented a rough sketch from the city engineer that showed one baseball diamond on the 10 northernmost acres of the Pine Street plot. 

A study in August 1999 of potential sites in the city for an athletic complex dismissed the landfill site for a large, multi-field facility.  However, some thought it was possible to put a smaller feature, like a baseball diamond, on the parcel.

In other action this week, the Board of Aldermen tabled action on a new contract for city teachers.

Kelleher said some aldermen had concerns about low student test scores and were reluctant to endorse a contract that gives teachers pay increases that range up to 4 percent.

Tabling discussions on the contract, however, means it will automatically take effect if it is not rejected during the 30 days after its submission.  The document was available to city committees Jan. 19. 

Kelleher added that if the aldermen voted the contract down, it would have triggered arbitration that would have been costly to the city.  

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