SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – To those who’ve had the opportunity to see the movie, Field of Dreams, with Kevin Costner, they will most certainly recognize the story. A baseball lover has a dream. To use their own land, their own time, and their own money, to build a baseball field solely so that others can enjoy our national pastime. After all, what is more American than kids playing baseball on a sunny weekend afternoon.
To Shrewsbury residents David and Lisa Massad, of 339 Spring Street, the opportunity was there, to give a great gift to the children of this great town. After all, they were fortunate enough to have the ultimate setting for it. With 13 Acres, perched at the end of a cul-de-sac and completely surrounded by woods, they felt they could provide a private field where children from all over the area could come and play, complete with it’s own access road, fenced in major league sized field, dugouts and a parking lot, all tucked nicely on their own private property, which they graciously made available to several local groups of children. This was altruism at it’s very best, especially since Dave and Lisa’s kids were already grown up and out of the house.
Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and such was the case here, as several of the neighbors filed a lawsuit to prevent children from using the field. To date, I’m not sure why. It’s so incredibly remote, that it can’t be seen from anywhere in town, unless of course you’re in an aircraft. In fact, I’ve personally been to this field with my kids many times and it was just a fabulous place to play, tucked in at the end of a long gravel driveway, on the Massad’s property, and complete with it’s own parking lot. How this could be an annoyance to anyone is beyond my understanding. Normally, of course, a homeowner would have the right to do what they wish, with the proper permit, on property that they own, but then this is no ordinary street. This development, known as Grey Ledge Estates, was build not on a public street, but as a “private driveway” with an association of the homeowners governing it’s use, and sharing in the cost of maintenance, and a few of those homeowners must not be baseball lovers.
Those homeowners have gone to court to stop the field from being used, and according to Lisa, have now change the bylaws for the common drive association to make sure that the use of the field would be permanently banned. These owners expressed concern about potential cars driving on the road, noise, litter, and a host of other issues. Again, having been there many times, I have yet to witness any of them, but then again, I’m not there 24/7, so perhaps I’m missing something here.
The case has already been in and out of court, and will be back in again soon, as David and Lisa are appealing the most recent court decision. As the legal bills mount, so does the disappointment of countless Shrewsbury children who had planned to be playing on this field as the season opened next week.