NORTH SMITHFIELD – North Smithfield High School graduate Kyle Alves has completed the first half of his vision: adding a new beach volleyball court to Pacheco Park.
Now, Alves and his mentor, Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Kate Pasquariello, are just waiting for local officials to sign off on a plan to create a new youth league for the sport.
Alves had the court built as part of his senior project, a graduation requirement for all students at the school. The Class of 2020 senior received approval from the Town Council last September, and raised the $5,000 needed to install the court, which now sits parallel to the park’s recently refurbished basketball courts.
Alves held fundraisers to complete the work, and local businesses stepped up to help, including Holliston Sand, a North Smithfield-based company that donated to soft beach sand. Other donors included National Marker Company, Beauchemin Lumber, Stanley Tree and New England Truck Solutions.
Staff from the Department of Public Works installed the poles, creating the Slatersville park’s latest feature on a piece of the old parking lot.
“It went very smoothly,” Pasquariello said of the project. “It was a great idea.”
Only a small extension of the fence surrounding the court now needs completion.
“It’s open to the public,” Pasquariello said. “Anyone can go and play on it.”
Alves goal is to also launch a new youth league at the park, and the coordinator said she has received numerous inquiries to a call out for players. She also called on Boys’ Varsity Volleyball Coach Carlos DeSousa to help launch the new league.
“He said he would love to get something going,” she said.
But the group may have to wait until concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have subsided. Town Administrator Gary Ezovski denied a proposal the coordinator drafted to start a summer league.
“He’s concerned about COVID-19, and the fact that it’s a contact sport,” Pasquariello said. “I’d still like to get the youth league going this year, even if it has to wait until fall.”
Pasquariello noted that the park is open although current Rhode Island state guidelines require groups of no more than 15 people and requisite social distancing.
“We’ll hopefully move to Phase 3 in Rhode Island soon, which hopefully means more and greater opportunities for recreation,” she said.
The coordinator noted that the new league will focus on youth, with different age brackets playing around two nights a week.
“That was his vision and I thought it was great,” Pasquariello said of the Alves’ idea for the youth league. For adults, she noted, “you can go to Gator’s when you’re 18.”
While the new league is on hold for the time being, casual play has already begun, and North Smithfield residents are welcome to use the court.
“It’s like a practice court for whoever wants to get out there to try it,” Pasquariello said.
And she plans to get the program going for local youth as soon as it’s allowed.
“I’m sure there would be plenty of interest,” Pasquariello said.
For more information or to volunteer support for the league, contact the coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.