Athletic Field Usage, Inclement Weather Policy & Field Closure Procedures
The Town of Derry has numerous athletic fields that are made available for established athletic leagues and residents to utilize. The objective of this policy is to guide and regulate the use of all Department athletic fields, to prevent damage to the turf, playing surface, and player injuries. The Department has adopted an effective field maintenance program in order to keep the athletic fields safe and usable for all leagues and residents. All athletic leagues and organizations are required to adhere to the rules so that the Parks & Recreation Department can safeguard its facilities and protect participants and spectators at all times, especially during inclement weather.
The Town of Derry Parks & Recreation Department reserves the right to cancel and/or suspend outdoor facility and athletic field reservations for games, practices, tournaments, and/or special events when field conditions could potentially result in turf damage and/or associated injuries to players.
- The Parks & Recreation Department shall have the authority to open fields for use during the spring season and/or close athletic fields whenever weather or field conditions dictate.
- The Parks Division shall release athletic fields for overall use, practices and games at the beginning of each spring season. No athletic league, team, or organization will be permitted to use any field until directly notified by the Department.
- Based upon the following conditions, athletic fields will be automatically closed if any of the following conditions exist:
- The field is undergoing restoration and/or repairs.
- There is standing water or snow on any portion of the field.
- Heavy, severe rain or snow conditions occur.
There are dangerous conditions occurring, such as lightning and/or severe storm warnings are in effect.
- Fields and all activity must be suspended if any individual hears thunder and/or lightning for a minimum of thirty (30) minutes from the last sound and/or visual. Once thirty minutes has passed without evidence of further thunder and/or lightning, the fields can be reopened and activity can resume. This is the national Federation of High School Sports policy and the Department endorses this regulation and any further modifications made hereafter.
- The fields are saturated. Fields may be closed on a sunny day if substantial rainfall has preceded the day in question.
- Large areas of soft turf and/or mud.
- Other conditions that deem the field unsafe for utilization.
- Other conditions that a person, using a reasonable degree of care, would consider as dangerous or hazardous to participants.
Other criteria used to determine athletic field playability include the following factors:
Baseball/Softball Fields with skinned infields: If a Department employee and/or a League representative’s foot sinks into the stone dust material at least 1⁄2 inch, the field(s) will be automatically deemed unplayable.
- Should an infield sustain moisture and/or standing water, athletic leagues are not permitted to use any drying agents, sand, and/or stone dust in order to attempt to dry out the surface. This also includes dug out areas without concrete pads.
- Leagues and/or volunteers are not permitted to broom or sweep standing water off skinned infields, base paths, and/or behind home plate. Often times, this does not substantially dry out the surface and can cause significant turf damage if water and infield mix material spills onto adjacent edged grass/turf areas.
Turf Areas / Multipurpose Fields: If there is excessive moisture, water, and exposed areas, particularly within the goal, centerline, and/or sidelines of the field(s), the fields will be deemed unplayable.
- Should an infield sustain moisture and/or standing water, athletic leagues are not permitted to use any drying agents, sand, and/or stone dust in order to attempt to dry out the surface.
- Baseball/Softball Fields with skinned infields: If a Department employee and/or a League representative’s foot sinks into the stone dust material at least 1⁄2 inch, the field(s) will be automatically deemed unplayable.
- The Parks & Recreation Department will make every effort to address and make these determinations for field closures as timely as possible. On weekends and/or should inclement weather approach, should designated Department personnel not be available to make this decision, it is each organization/league’s responsibility to act accordingly, exercising good judgment and comply with these field closure and mandated safety policies.
- In the event that a scheduled game is cancelled, it is the League’s responsibility to contact the Parks & Recreation Department to officially reschedule and request for linestriping services.
The following additional field use guidelines have been adopted to ensure consistency and safeguard each athletic field for use:
- Maintenance: The Parks & Recreation Department assumes the responsibility for all aspects of field and turf maintenance, including mowing, trimming, edging, dragging, and overall field setups. This is to be performed only by trained, designated Town personnel during established work hours. League representatives and/or volunteers are not permitted to coordinate or conduct any maintenance practices or techniques unless they are directly authorized by the Department. Volunteers are always well intentioned, but often times cause more damage to turf areas and/or skinned infields by using improper dragging techniques and/or adding material to the playing surface.
- Leagues and/or volunteers are permitted to drag or sweep infields in between games and/or on weekends only to fill in holes in order to prevent player injuries. Infield mix/stonedust is not to be swept into the established grass turf areas, such as along base paths, outfield perimeter, etc.
- Linestriping Services: Marking down lines, goal areas, and other aspects of field preparation for a game or event shall be approved in advance and/or mutually agreed upon by the League and Department. Athletic Leagues are not authorized to modify established field layouts independently and/or without Department authorization.
- If a League does not opt for linestriping services, such as with the Adult Softball Leagues, they are responsible for dragging the infields independently after each scheduled game.
- Practices: The Parks & Recreation Department requests that individuals and/or leagues limit the use of high traffic areas, such as goal areas and sidelines, during practices regardless of weather conditions. It is recommended that routine practice drills be rotated and spread out over the playing surface. Repetitive drills and practices deteriorate turf conditions and make it difficult for the Parks Division to service, maintain, linestripe and safeguard participants from sustaining injuries.
- Field Lighting: If a league is authorized to utilize designated field lighting systems at any of the Town’s facilities, the league and its representatives and/or authorized agents assume responsibility to deactivate all systems at the conclusion of any scheduled game or practice. If repeated infractions occur, the league will not be permitted to use the field lighting system and have their field permit revoked.
- Sound Amplification / Announcing: The Department will authorize leagues to use sound amplification at fields, as well as the press box at the Don Ball Game Field as long as sound/audio levels are monitored closely, maintained at reasonable, consistent levels, and, moreover, are respectful to abutters to respective park locations. Leagues who are approved to host games at the Don Ball Game Field will operate the press box and/or any other sound system within the following time schedule:
- Monday – Thursday: 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Friday: 4:00 pm – 9:45 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 9:45 pm
- Sunday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Any deviation from the above time schedule must be approved by the Parks & Recreation Director.
- Soft toss of baseballs and softballs against any chain link fencing and/or backstop is not permitted.
- Construction, site improvements, renovations, modification, and/or any physical changes to any field/park are not permitted unless permission is granted from the Parks & Recreation Department.
- Any organization and/or athletic league shall attain prior approval from the Parks & Recreation Department before signs, banners, and pennants are erected, and that they do not deface public property.
- Unauthorized motorized vehicles are not permitted at any time on any athletic field. Vehicles, automobiles, motorized equipment must be legally parked in properly designated areas.
- Site amenities, such as bleachers or player benches, will not be moved and/or relocated by any organization/league without the consent of the Parks & Recreation Department.
- Any damage(s) done to an athletic field through use following a Department closure and/or by non-compliance to the above standards and/or procedures may result in the field/facility being closed. If repeated infractions should occur, scheduling privileges and permits may be revoked. If damages are significant, the Town of Derry Parks & Recreation Depart