WVN #432: Wide search for playing field sites
- Dear Wayland Voter,
Early next year residents will be watching as town officials pore over a comprehensive study by consultants of opportunities for new playing fields.
The Recreation Commission is evaluating additional suggestions for field sites presented by the second part of the Gale Associates report, which looked at town properties in addition to those held by the Schools and the Recreation Department.
At its Dec. 13 meeting, the Commission also raised the need to discuss staffing decisions made by other town officials. Other issues include lack of communication among departments and Recreation's role to make recreation-related decisions.
When the draft list is narrowed for fields, the Recreation Commission will solicit comment from residents living near those sites. The Commission requested more price breakdowns, saying that it was hard to separate field prices from the added costs of parking.
Director Nancy McShea noted artificial turf costs are less than when the town's first such field was constructed at the High School in 2007. If turf is installed, commissioners said, there should also be lights. There was discussion of installing artificial turf to the High School baseball and JV football fields, along with bleachers and lighting.
No decision has been made on creating fields at the Middle School woods, and resident Bill Hearne asked the commission to table any further action on the controversial Middle School site.
The land areas reviewed in Gale's follow-up report and suggested uses are:
-- Former Nike site: full size multi-use field with grass (this can also be used as two youth fields). There's also the possibility of two outdoor basketball courts. Parking.
-- Holiday Road (a.k.a. Orchard Lane): two full size multi-use fields, single 60-foot baseball diamond. Parking. The site is hilly and wooded.
-- Old Connecticut Path -- municipal property at Greenways: Three full size multi-use fields, a single 90-foot baseball diamond; only two multi-use fields or baseball diamond can be used simultaneously. Also a hilly site.
-- Main Street -- current highway garage site (if a new garage facility is built elsewhere): One full size multi-use field. There was discussion that this site might be artificial turf with lights.
-- Route 20, north side, where gravel is stored to the left of the access road to the dump: One 60-foot baseball diamond, or hockey rink on the decommissioned septage plant site. It was noted the Economic Development Committee is looking at this area as a possible senior housing project.
-- Loker Recreation Area: three 60-foot baseball fields, and McShea indicated these could be extended to 75 feet. There apparently are two organizations that might contribute to such development. One is Frozen Ropes, and another is a men's softball organization.
The Commission also looked at rehabilitating various fields, at the Middle School, the High School tennis courts, Alpine (with turf, light, and bleachers), Claypit either grass or turf, and turf/lights for more area at the High School.
The Commission will attempt to prioritize its list at its next meeting, on Jan. 3.
The second part of the Gale report, containing the information and maps discussed at the meeting, is not posted yet on the town website.
The Board of Selectmen has scheduled a joint meeting with Recreation and the Board of Public Works on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m., with town counsel present, to discuss roles, communication issues, operations and the status of already approved capital projects.
-- Molly Upton
Best wishes from WVN for the holidays and the New Year. You can look forward to a lower property tax bill based on the final rate of $19.01 -- a tax reduction achieved by voter action.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor