Council Approves Funds to Design Victory Field Track Improvements

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An overhead view of the planned renovation of the courts and track area at Victory Field.

The renovation of the track and courts area at Victory Field took a major step forward Tuesday night when the Town Council approved funds to start the final designs.

The Council unanimously approved spending $284,500 to allow the Victory Field Phase II project to proceed. The first phase was the renovation of the football and baseball areas at the sports complex on Orchard Street.

The plan includes installing a new natural grass field in the center of the oval, and a new rubber track and subsurface, said Glenn Howard, project architect from CDM Smith. In 2014, before the Victory Field Phase II Ad Hoc Committee began discussing the project, Town Council President Mark Sideris said the field in the oval would remain grass after neighbors and others complained about the possibility of an artificial turf field being installed.

The entrance to Victory Field off Orchard Street will have a new gateway entry. This is one of the options being considered.

The tennis courts and basketball courts will be resurfaced, and lights will be replaced in the courts area, and added to the track area.

Councilor Susan Falkoff asked if the lights will be like the ones on the Victory Field football stadium, which neighbors say shine brightly into their homes. Howard said the ones on the track would be LED and have special shades so they would not have as much glare as the ones on the football field. Councilor Vincent Piccirilli noted that the lights on the football field will not be replaced as part of the Phase II project.

The renovation of the track at Victory Field includes redesigning the driveway so it is a shared space for pedestrians and vehicles. Also, a storage shed will be installed behind the football bleachers.

Some other parts of Victory Field will see significant changes, including the driveway area.

“A lot of people walk down the entrance driveway,” Howard said. “We looked for a way to make it more safe by making it a shared space (for pedestrians and vehicles).”

A new entry gate will be placed at the Orchard Street driveway entrance, and decorative fencing will be installed along that roadway, Howard said.

Between the track and courts, a 20-foot x 20-foot shade pavilion will be built. A new storage area for sporting equipment will also be built behind the football bleachers.

A close up of what the new Victory Field courts area will look like, including the shade pavilion on the grassy area near the track.

One part of the that has not been nailed down yet, Howard said, is the storm water drainage system.

“We are trying to reduce the storm water on the site and do with an infiltration system for the tennis courts,” Howard said. “It doesn’t look like we have the depth to ground water to drain that amount of water.”

The storm water system would cost $300,000 to $400,000, Howard said. Without knowing whether the drainage system will be installed, Howard said it is difficult to pin down the total project budget. A preliminary budget of $3 million was approved by the Victory Field Phase II Renovation Ad Hoc Committee.

Howard said if everything remains on schedule the project will be bid in January 2020 and work would begin in February. The field would be installed in 2020, but Howard said it could not be used for athletic use until the spring of 2021. It could be used in 2020 for passive use.

Councilor Anthony Donato worried that the Victory Field project would have the same problem as the 2019 roadwork project, which had to be delayed when a lack of bidders led to a single bid that was well over budget. Howard said he is confident that multiple contractors will be interested in bidding on the project.

See more information and illustrations of the proposed Victory Field Phase II Renovation by clicking here.

4 thoughts on “Council Approves Funds to Design Victory Field Track Improvements

  1. Why not do field turf that will last for years and be available for use in all types of weather? Seems like a lost opportunity and dumb move.

    • Good question. Back in 2014 or so when the decision was made there were a number of heated meetings where that point was made. Those who use the track area for sports mostly supported artificial turf. However, those who live nearby said that area is also their local park and they want to sit or play on natural grass. Other factors were safety (chemicals used to make the turf and the fill, as well as heat from the field in the summer) as well as cost. I believe in the long run the cost is about even for artificial vs. natural, but the upfront cost of artificial is high because of all the layers they have to install underneath for drainage. That’s a brief summary.

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