City sitting on $13,000 in unused health tools

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March 17, 2021

Scituate City Council and Land Trust members do not recommend installing the adult exercise equipment purchased from Tasca Field in 2017 due to insufficient space. Instead, the council is hoping for a recovery commission recommendation on $ 13,000 worth of equipment marking Esek Hopkins Park or high school as potential locations. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SCITUATE – More than $ 13,000 in fitness equipment was not used in the Scituate public works department for more than two years after city officials bought it for Tasca Field in 2017.

The machine, which is to be used as part of a fitness class, was purchased almost four years ago but apparently never installed in its designated Tasca Field location. According to Rob Bower, chairman of the Land Trust, the equipment is still in the box in the public works division’s parking lot.

Bower said during a city council meeting last Thursday, March 11th, the issue was raised recently during a meeting of the recovery committee. One person at the meeting asked what happened to the equipment.

City officials discussed the future of the gear on Thursday after discovering it might not be a good fit for Tasca Field after all. Recreational Activities Director David Pannone said he met with contractor Pro Fence on the property and found there was no area for the equipment. The equipment, he explained, is intended to be installed on a circuit that requires a certain amount of space.

“It didn’t work logistically,” he said.

Pro Fence have agreed to install the training equipment at the same cost as in 2018 for $ 7,500.

Alderman Gary Grande said he was at Tasca Field often in the spring and fall to play soccer and the entire 6-acre park was in use. He added that the park uses a lawn management plan that does not use selected parts of the park to allow the grass to grow healthily.

The Land Trust on Thursday supported a plan to install the equipment at the trailhead of the Esek Hopkins property in front of Danielson Pike. Bower said the Scituate Rotary Club first suggested the location to the Leisure Committee.

“So we made a suggestion that this would be a great place to do this, knowing that Hope Park has similar equipment in the playground,” he told councilors.

Council members disagreed on where the equipment should go, and Councilor Michael Marcello suggested that it might be better suited for the new sports complex at Scituate Middle and High Schools. Resident Brenden Machowski agreed with Marcello, saying he would like to see equipment added to the school’s warm-up kit in the field. Machowski pointed out that more than 700 middle and high school people and surveillance cameras can monitor the field every day.

However, others were concerned that the equipment could not be used by the public during school hours, which end at 2:15 p.m. Scituate Democrats chairwoman Alicia Ann Kelley said she would prefer to keep equipment on town and off school grounds. She said she could see it was becoming a point of contention across the board.

“I have no warmth or fuzziness about having it in high school,” she said.

Grande also said he believed the fitness equipment would fit into the new Esek Hopkins trailhead and complement the children’s playground. He said the Rotary club had reached out to him on the matter and believed it would be better if the public had access to it.

The city has signed a lease on the Esek Hopkins property with Rhode Island and is in the process of transferring the land.

The city council has not requested the equipment to be installed at Esek Hopkins Park, but has asked the Recreation Committee to investigate the problem and suggest locations for the exercise equipment.