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Staff Writer

NASHUA – Everything from coming up with a decibel threshold to charging for use of the band shell are a few of the possible options to alleviate the issue of excessive noise coming from Greeley Park, according to a committee charged with addressing the problem.

Members of the Greeley Park Audible Use Committee met in City Hall on Thursday to brainstorm ways to address concerns from neighbors of the park about the loud noise spilling into their homes during the summer months.

Last month, the Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance that prohibits amplified sound from the park except for the annual Summer Fun events and programs. The ordinance was amended to accommodate organizations who had already requested to host events at the park.

Ward 3 Alderman Diane Sheehan was the primary sponsor, but she said it was meant to be a stop gap while a long-term solution is ironed out.

“It’s not the intention to stop the park from serving the community,” Sheehan said.

The sound committee was formed to come up with recommendations for how to deal with the noise by mid-May. The committee is made up of city officials, representatives of organizations that use the band shell and residents living near Greeley Park who are affected by the noise. The next meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6. It will be held in the meeting room on the third floor of City Hall.

At Thursday’s meeting, Swart Terrace resident Tracy Pappas said she has been dealing with the issue since 1994. Heavy metal music blaring into her residence from noon to 8 p.m. isn’t what she had in mind when she moved into the neighborhood.

“My neighbor Bob said that’s the first thing they do to people at Guantanamo,” Pappas said, sitting at the table with the five other committee members.

Every day there is an event that is too loud is a day that Pappas said she can’t use her porch or deck, which she points out she is paying premium taxes on. While she understands there will always be some noise coming from the park, it has gotten out of hand.

“I don’t expect not to be able to use my yard,” she said. “I don’t expect to have music blasting over a lawn mower.”

G. Frank Teas, president of The Nashua Bank, is chairing the committee. On Thursday, he brought a list of ideas, including moving some of the events to another venue in the city, creating a decibel threshold for performers and a time limit on performances.

Because of cost, the band shell was never finished when it was erected 20 years ago. Nick Caggiano of the city Parks and Recreation Department brought a list of projects where sound mitigators could be built around the shell. The project costs ranged from $70,000 to $1.2 million.

One idea that most in attendance seemed to agree on was charging a fee for using the band shell and using the money generated for maintenance of the park. Sheehan said most other communities charge for using their facilities.

“If you’re the only place that doesn’t charge, you’re going to be a magnet,” she said.

The Summer Fun series of outdoor events accounts for much of the use at the hatch shell. Sheehan said those events aren’t the problem.

“The city has been very reasonable in their use,” Sheehan said. “We need to make sure anybody using it is using it in a reasonable way.”

John Edwards, who also lives on Swart Terrace, said the level of use has risen at the park, as has the amount of inappropriate use.

“There’s been different levels of responsiveness to the problem, but it has gotten to the point where it needs to be addressed.” he said. “I love rock music, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a matter of degree.”

Edwards said more needs to be done with regard to scheduling so neighborhood residents know when to expect events. He raised the idea of having a system requiring advance notice of events, so if anyone has concerns, they can be raised ahead of time.

Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashua