DERRY — They can be the fields of dreams for young athletes who love baseball, lacrosse or other sports.
But fields in Derry are now getting some added attention by officials who hope to learn more about how often they are used, and the numbers of those who play in various leagues in the community.
During Derry's town budget workshop schedule, Public Works Director Mike Fowler said there are more than 10 sports organizations utilizing the town's fields.
Fowler said there are 132 acres of parks maintained within the department's building and grounds efforts and that includes nine multipurpose fields.
Fields are the diamonds for baseball and softball and rectangular fields for field hockey, lacrosse or other events.
With hundreds of local youth signed up to play Derry's Little League season every year on dozens of teams, fields get a lot of use, and often are in need of some extra care.
That's why town officials hope to take a closer look at the fields to see how or when they might be improved and upgraded to possibly bring more sports tournaments and eventual revenue to town.
Town Council will move to create an advisory committee to take a harder look at the community's fields
Town Councilor Jim Morgan said much improvement can be done to make Derry's facilities the best.
"We need to step up on our program a bit," Morgan said at a meeting last month. "There are definite repairs that need to be done."
Morgan said he'd rather invest money into field support prior to taking on other major proposed recreation improvements.
"Before I support a lodge at Alexander-Carr Park," Morgan said, adding as a community there are missed opportunities when it comes to offering top-notch fields for outside tournaments like baseball, soccer, or lacrosse.
"It's a huge moneymaker for a town when people come to town for tournaments," Morgan said. "There is a whole system that needs to be looked at, our conditions are not great."
Derry resident and Little League baseball representative Scott Savard agreed.
Savard told councilors that the league appreciated the town's help getting the fields ready for opening day last month. He thanked councilors for coming to see the fields up close and what conditions were like.
Some fields get used more than others, officials said. Some need to "rest" with little or no play involved.
Savard noted that bringing tournaments to town would require improved fields. He told councilors the league has a "wish list" of wants and needs for the future.
"Londonderry, Salem, you see how they do their tournaments," he said. "Ours (fields) are lacking all around."
During recent budget workshops, Morgan suggested putting more financial support behind the town's fields, "to maintain these fields and get them into tournament quality."
Morgan also hoped to get more information on the usage of the fields, how they are being used, and by how many sports players.
Morgan said the town's parks and recreation crews do a great job taking care of the facilities and fields, keeping budget costs in check, but more can be done.
It will also take budget planning.
"I didn't sign up for another three years (on Town Council) to do status quo," Morgan said. "Let's try to figure out improvements as a Council team."
Morgan said people go to other towns and see tournaments on stellar fields, adding that's not the case in Derry today.
"It's a big deal to folks and would be a pride to the community," he said.