, Salem, MA


November 9, 2013

Letter: Community responded on Bertram Field

To the editor:

Problem identified. Community responds. Problem solved.

For the last several years, the track at Bertram Field was beset with a moss and mildew problem where the track passed beneath the large and expanding canopy of trees adjacent to the North Shore Hospital’s parking lot. The problem posed treacherous conditions to athletes at the curve, particularly in damp weather.

Without addressing the shadowing problem, even the brand new track being constructed would experience the same problem over time. At the direction of Mayor Kim Driscoll, Tom Devine, Salem’s conservation administrator/staff planner, who is coordinating the Bertram Field renovation project, brought the problem to the attention of Salem Hospital’s administration and the hospital pledged to cooperate in resolving the problem.

Brian Dentremont, president of Eastern Tree Service, at the request of City Councilor Bill Legault, visited the site and offered his company’s services at no charge to the city of Salem or the hospital if the city would supply diesel fuel and volunteers would supplement and support Eastern’s work force.

The city agreed, and on Sunday, Oct. 13, the following volunteers spent the day, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., clearing trees and shrubs, hauling and feeding the material into Eastern’s efficient wood chipper (which cast the chips on the newly cleared slope), raking the slope and sweeping the parking lot when finished: Gary and Ann Lavoie, Aaron Palmer, Jerry Canada, Mike Panneton, Susan, Timmy and Matthew Ryan, Ian Carter, Steve Bona, Steve and Stevie Lamonica, Joan Dentremont and Richard Stafford. State Rep. John Keenan provided additional muscle as well as pizza and beverages to replenish the workers.

The result is a cleared slope, and direct sunlight to keep moss from making a home on the renovated Bertram Field track.

At a time when the federal government is struggling to function, this project was a particularly gratifying example of cooperation between the public and private sectors with results to be enjoyed for many years to come. Thanks to everyone who made this improvement possible.

Richard Stafford


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