A petition was recently created asking the city to improve the Murphy Field, and last week residents testified at city hearings, urging money be allocated to fix up the well-used site.
As of June 6, more than 700 people had signed the online petition created by Jamaica Plain Youth Soccer (JPYS) board president Alf Gracombe.
"The playing surface, surrounding fences and backstops, lighting systems, and concrete bleachers are in clear need of an upgrade. Ever-growing youth sports programs like Jamaica Plain Youth Soccer (JPYS) and the Jamaica Plain Regan Youth League (baseball) rely on spaces such as Murphy to run their programs that provide athletic opportunities for the children of JP, Roxbury, Roslindale, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Dorchester. The crisis is already upon us. We don't have enough quality athletic field space to run our programs," says the petition.
Anyone who has spent time at the field can see, and feel, the pebbly playing field that has dozens of ant hills. The concrete bleachers crumble under your feet and are in severe disrepair.
Boston Public Schools owns the site, and Boston's Parks & Recreation Department has care and custody of the field.
A spokesperson for Parks & Recreation told Jamaica Plain News that they agree the field is due for improvements, and they look forward to its inclusion in future capital plans. The money would need to be included in the Parks capital budget.
Gracombe estimates that JPYS and Jamaica Plain Regan Youth League baseball each have 500 kids participating in the leagues, and they would greatly benefit from being able to use Murphy Field.
"As it stands, Murphy Field is not a suitable athletic field for sports because of the extremely poor quality of the playing surface. Because of its location and dimensions, it could be a gem in the community rather than the afterthought it is today," wrote Gracombe in the petition.
He said the leagues would use the fields seven days a week. The field is already used most days by students of the school, and at nights and weekends by softball and baseball leagues. Residents also commonly play on the field with some bringing their dogs to run around.
Some who signed the petition provided their reasons for signing.
"I have 3 kids who go to BPS at the Mission Hill School, and we use the playground and fields most days after school. It's a great space but needs serious repair. My kids also participate in both JPYS and the Regan league, and on most week nights, the fields at English are jam packed with teams competing for space with baseball, Ultimate, and other soccer leagues. I'd estimate that on any given night, there are easily 100 Boston residents using that shared space. Murphy Field needs some long overdue TLC, and I would appreciate your consideration to invest in it!" wrote Andrew Crowe.
"An upgrade to Murphy Field and the bleachers, fencing, etc would be amazing. As a school we've used the area even more than ever during the pandemic, and our students would benefit from these efforts," stated Co-Teacher Leader of Mission Hill K-8 School Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin.