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Arson totals Oak Park baseball shed in Greenfield 

  • A sink that was used by vandals to start a fire in a baseball shed at Oak Park in Greenfield now sits outside of the structure in the snow. (Abby Kessler/ The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A baseball shed at Oak Park in Greenfield was vandalized some months ago. Town officials are now discussing the next steps forward for the building, conversations that include ways to dispose of the structure, if it should rebuild or buy a new shed, and the next steps forward for replacing the equipment that was ruined as a result of the incident. (Abby Kessler/ The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A lock that was broken by vandals now sits on the porch of a baseball shed at Oak Park in Greenfield. (Abby Kessler/ The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Town officials say a baseball shed at Oak Park in Greenfield that was broken into and vandalized some months ago is a total loss. Select board members are now discussing how to move forward with replacing the structure and the baseball equipment that was ruined as the spring season quickly approaches. (Abby Kessler/ The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Town officials say a baseball shed at Oak Park in Greenfield that was broken into and vandalized some months ago is a total loss. Select board members are now discussing how to move forward with replacing the structure and the baseball equipment that was ruined as the spring season quickly approaches. (Abby Kessler/ The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, March 30, 2017 6:33AM

Greenfield select board members discussed how to move forward after an act of arson totaled its baseball shed at Oak Park some months ago.

After a regular meeting on Tuesday night, town officials said they were unsure what month the vandalism occurred. The Greenfield Police Department did not answer calls from the Ledger-Transcript by deadline on Wednesday afternoon to discuss particulars of the event.

Town Administrator Aaron Patt said vandals broke into the baseball shed on a cold night and started a fire in a sink filled with charcoal briquettes. The fire resulted in a hole in the floor and smoke damage throughout the building.

Select board members agreed to demolish the old building at its meeting, although it’s unclear exactly how that will happen. There was some discussion of the fire department doing a controlled burn on the structure, or potentially hauling the material away.

Patt said a fire marshal did perform an investigation regarding the incident, but was unable to get any fingerprints or incriminating evidence. No one has been charged with the crime.

Patt said at this time it’s still unclear how much money the town will receive from insurance as a result of the loss. The shed was worth about $5,850 prior to the fire. He told the board that the equipment in the shed was worth about $3,650.

He said baseball equipment including helmets and baseball bats were damaged as a result of the fire and will need to be replaced. The town did considered cleaning the equipment, although it has decided not to proceed with the option.

“More likely than not if you were to clean the padding inside of the helmets the smell would come back,” Patt said was the advice he was given.

He said reusing the equipment is too risky and that it just needs to go.

Chair of the Oak Park Committee John Hopkins said the shed was originally located on Pack Monadnock. He said he isn’t sure when the town of Greenfield acquired the unit, although it had to be more than 25 years ago.

“That shed has some history,” Hopkins said.

He said he learned that it had been vandalized after he drove by the structure and saw yellow tape around it. Later, he stopped by the town office to inquire about what had happened to it, and was informed of the situation. Hopkins said he isn’t sad about the loss because the structure belonged more to the baseball team than the Oak Park Committee.

Richard McQuade, DPW buildings and grounds manager, said he is looking into shed replacements. He said it’s possible the shed could be smaller than the last.

McQuade has researched two companies that sell sheds. The options would both require interior construction work including plywood and shelving. There was also some discussion at the meeting of the building and grounds department constructing its own shed. Select board member Bob Marshall surfaced the idea of working with local high school or boy scout troops to help with the construction process.

Select board members said whatever it decides, conversations need to be acted on quickly because baseball season is right around the corner. Only six kids are signed up to play ball this year, although the application process is still open.

Select board members pitched ideas of where to house the baseball gear for the season, or said that the coach may have to lug around the equipment in the back of their vehicle. It’s also possible that kids would have to play baseball in another town this spring.

The topic will be discussed at the board’s next meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.