LEE >> Later this summer, the town's little tykes will have unlimited access to playground equipment just their size.

The Lee Youth Commission is preparing to spend nearly $23,000 to install five playground structure at the Lee Athletic Field on Housatonic Street.

"The equipment we've chosen is for children 6 months to 2 years old," said commission Chairwoman Kathy Hall.

The combination of a $13,120 state park and recreation grant and $9,500 from local taxpayers will pay for the project, which will get underway when the state funds become available after July 1.

Hall said the commission chose to focus on toddlers' recreational needs because similar playground equipment at the Lee Elementary School is off-limits to the general public during the school day and when youth summer programs are held there.

The playground equipment installation will be the second major upgrade in a year's time at Lee Athletic Field,

The Garrity-Shields Pavilion was officially dedicated Columbus Day weekend after six years of planning, design and construction of the open-air structure, which cost taxpayers close to $25,000.

The Garritys, owners of L B Corp. and several associated business and the Shields family, longtime operators of Dresser Hull Lumber and Building Supply Co., were among the 20 Lee businesses, individuals and municipal entities that contributed hundreds of man hours planning, preparing the site and eventually putting up the structure in several days last summer.


The commission named the pavilion for the Garrity and Shields families for often being active in civic matters, community events and activities in the Lee area.

In recent years, the tennis courts and basketball court have been refurbished at Lee Athletic Field, the installation of other new playground equipment installed and a skate and bike park courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Lee.

Meanwhile, the young and old alike will get to lace up their skates next month as the commission and community volunteers plan to lay down an ice skating rink at the field after Feb. 1 — weather permitting. For this winter, the rink size will be 100 feet by 50 feet, according to Hall, also a Lee school Committee member

"We'll see how it goes and if we have good participation, we'll make it bigger," she said at a recent committee meeting.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.