For more than 60 years, Revere Little League baseball players sprayed line drives all over McMackin Park, the beloved ballfield known as “Little Fenway.”
Now the only spraying being planned is for mosquitoes at the “eyesore” of a park that first opened for youth baseball in the early 1950s.
Monday night the Council unanimously approved a motion by Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna to have Mayor Brian Arrigo request Northeast Mosquito Patrol to spray McMackin field for mosquitoes.
“With the recent rain, floodwaters are accumulating in this field which has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and directly affecting abutting neighbors,” stated McKenna in her motion.
McKenna herself then led off the torrent of criticism directed at the group that oversees the field. It was inferred at the meeting that the overseers of the park are the board members of the now-defunct Revere Little League, who were given “ownership” of the park by the city for the price of $1.00 (one dollar).
“Councilor [Patrick] Keefe and I have been inundated with calls about this field and I would just like to tell the residents out there that Revere does not own this property,” said McKenna. “It is owned by a private entity. Revere is doing everything to try to acquire it. The park is privately owned and is responsible for the condition it’s in. All we can do is find the owners and make sure the field is cleaned.”
Keefe, one of the most recognizable leaders of youth sports in Revere as the former Pop Warner president and an active youth baseball coach, said he wanted to clarify for the record that, “There isn’t a league [Revere Little League]. There hasn’t been a league for a number of years. There hasn’t been a fruitful league for probably closer to 10 years. This is an issue that may have been exacerbated by some of the flooding issues, but the park has been neglected by the board.
“We’ve asked them to come in front of the City Council. We’ve offered to help. We’ve offered to work together. A few different administrations have offered some form of support, but it’s going to be up to the people who oversee that field to come out and say that they want to turn over the field to the city if the city is going to pay to repair it and make it into some sort of playable shape,” said Keefe.
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti, who actually played at McMackin as a 12-year-old fireballing pitcher on the East Boston Little League All-Star team, agreed with his colleagues’ remarks. “My question is: Do we know if the private owner is being cited for leaving the property in complete disarray?”
McKenna responded, “We have cited them – I just put a fine in last week with a condition and I fine them all the time,” she added. “It’s up to them to care about the kids, care about the field. It’s a sore eye for the city. And you know what, give the field back to the city because we gave it to them for a dollar.”
Visconti said he would like to have the overseers of the field be continually issued fines for their inaction until there is a resolution of the matter.
Councilor-at-Large Steven Morabito said he played baseball in Revere Little League at McMackin Park.
“It is known as Little Fenway and it has a special spot in my heart because I used to hang out there even when we weren’t playing [baseball] games,” said Morabito. “But it’s not the park I used to know. It’s dilapidated. It’s a complete eyesore. I had a friend of mine who hasn’t lived in Revere for a while but grew up in Revere and they happened to drive by McMackin Park and they were just astonished by what became of McMackin Park. It was just embarrassing because it looks like a field of weeds. That’s what it is.”
Morabito added that “the field sets a negative image of our city and it makes us look like we as elected officials don’t care about the city because people don’t know the park is not owned by the city.”
“We need to correct this situation immediately. We need to get them to the table,” concluded Morabito.
Councillor George Rotondo offered an ultimatum to the owners of the field: “Either you meet with the city and you work with the city and we help you repair it and bring it back to its best use or we take it by eminent domain, it’s that simple.”
Rotondo said the former Dan Rizzo Mayoral Administration and current Brian Arrigo Mayoral Administration “have all tried to work with this group and where are we getting? No place. Where are our kids going? No place.”
Rotondo invoked the name of the late Guy Meli, a long-time RLL officer and team manager, into the discussion. The baseball diamond at McMackin was named for Guy Meli, but the sign has been taken down during the park’s closure.
“Guy Meli would never tolerate this baloney,” said Rotondo.
Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino agreed with Rotondo, stating, “We’re past the point of fines, we’re past the point of working with them. I’ve been on this Council for ten years and that park has been in disrepair for at least eight of those ten years. And it’s a disgrace. If a property is abandoned, a city has the ability to take it by eminent domain and now we’re at a point where we need to put some teeth into it, step up, and take the property back and fix it.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky, who ironically had the real Fenway Park (in Boston) pictured behind him on his Zoom feed, said he spoke with Mayor Arrigo about McMackin Park several weeks ago. “It’s very upsetting to drive by there and see the condition of that park. It used to be an honorable park and was the best field in the state, and like it was mentioned before, it was called Little Fenway.”
Novoselsky suggested the installation of a cover over the fence “so people driving by can’t see the condition down below.”
Council President Anthony Zambuto called the condition of McMackin Park “a health issue” and suggested that the Board of Health should be acting on the matter.
While the issue of McMackin Park has been discussed on several previous occasions, it appears this time the Council means business.