The East Bay Lacrosse organization is seeing double-digit growth each year, which is requiring its coaches to find new ways to develop players at the same time.
“It’s becoming a more daunting task to find the tools and resources needed, especially with limited time and field space,” said Mike Curry of Barrington, an official with the organization that served 520 boys and girls in Barrington, Riverside, Warren and Bristol last spring.
A tool the organization is considering now is a concrete “wall ball wall” off of which lacrosse players could hit balls and practice drills 12 months a year. Curry presented the concept to the Barrington Parks and Recreation Commission last week in an effort to locate funding source while at the same time hoping to gauge and generate interest from the board as well as other people in other youth sports leagues as possible.
Soccer players and tennis players could use the wall as well, Curry said. Any sport that requires a ball could take advantage of it.
In short, the ball wall is made of Jersey barrier-like concrete slabs set on top of each other and held in place with steel rebar connectors. It’s a free-standing structure with field turf on each side of the wall that is laid over a crushed gravel base. The 12-foot-high by 28-foot-wide wall has an estimated cost of $30,000 to buy and install.
East Bay Lacrosse is “really early in the process” of investigating the wall and finding a spot for it, Curry said, although a possible location for the ball wall is the Barrington Middle School.
The wall ball wall is not considered a permanent structure, but it is definitely not portable, he said. It would have to be located at one spot and used only at that spot.
The recreation commission seemed very interested “in taking the idea to the next step,” said Barrington Recreation Director Michele Geremia, including considering spots for the wall.
It also sees as a possible funding source for the wall a state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) grant, which Barrington Town Planner Phil Hervey brought to the board's attention.
The DEM grants were a separate item on the board’s agenda last week. Along with the ball wall, said Geremia, the board tossed around several other suggestions for DEM grants.
Among the suggestions: a trail in the woods behind the Kids Kove playground that looks out over the Barrington River; lighting for playing fields; improvements to the ice rink on Legion Way, and a stage in Haines Memorial State Park that would be used for performing-arts events, such as the Fiddle ‘n Folk Fest coming up in the park on Sept. 15.