Victory Field Neighbors Worried About Future of Track Area

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Charlie Breitrose

Victory Field has many abutters. Residents want to be heard when it comes to renovating the track and court area.

Tennis courts at Victory Field sit just outside the back yard of Marion Road residents Elodia Thomas and Bruce Coltin.

Charlie Breitrose

Tennis courts at Victory Field sit just outside the back yard of Marion Road residents Elodia Thomas and Bruce Coltin.

The fence around the Victory Field tennis courts sits less than 100 feet from the back window of the home of Elodia Thomas and Bruce Coltin. The couple worries that proposed changes to the track area of the athletic complex will mean they will have to endure more light, noise and other annoyances in their home.

In April, Thomas learned that the Recreation Department plans to renovate the track and courts at Victory Field. The plan calls for replacing the track and installing an artificial turf field and adding lights around the track. The courts would be redone, and a street hockey rink that can be frozen in the winter has also been proposed.

In addition, nearly 30 more parking spaces and a barbecue area has been proposed, Thomas said.

Thomas and other residents of Marion Road, Katherine Road and Orchard Street – which sit next to or across the street from the complex, have begun to organize to make sure their voice is heard during the planning for the Victory Field renovations.

“We were stunned by all the parking,” Thomas said. “We knew we bought a house next to a field, but no one expected a parking lot outside of their bedroom windows.”

Thomas said she thinks there is enough parking if people use the Department of Public Works Yard, just the other side of the football field.

“We want better signs directing people to the DPW – ones with big arrows,” Thomas said.

Victory Field has many abutters. Residents want to be heard when it comes to renovating the track and court area.

Charlie Breitrose

Victory Field has many abutters. Residents want to be heard when it comes to renovating the track and court area.

The renovated football/baseball field already gets a lot of use, and is frequently rented by out-of-town groups. Thomas and Coltin fear the track will also be used at all hours, and not left as a place for kids to play and hang out.

“(The track) serves the purpose of a town square – people with kids at the tot lot and people walking around the track,” Coltin said. “They want to turn it into an athletic facility for people in leagues. It undermines the feel of the park.”

Thomas also worries about the addition of large light poles around the track. Light from the basketball courts already illuminates her living room in the evening – mostly from indirect light. Also, she does not want the smoke from the barbecues coming into her backyard.

There are improvements that neighbors would like to see, such as real toilet facilities to replace the port-o-potties now available to users of the track and courts. Also, some shady places for people to sit, and more signage and enforcement of the park hours – which are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.  There are no signs on the basketball courts, and Thomas said she sometimes has to call police to break up late night games.

Some of the other improvements would be better at some of Watertown’s other parks.

“They could go to Arsenal Park, where there are no abutters,” Coltin said. Filippello Park could also be a good spot, he said.

The Recreation Department will hold two meetings to discuss plans for Victory Field – one on Thursday, Sept. 11 and the second on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. and will be in the Watertown Savings Bank Room at the Watertown Free Public Library.

6 thoughts on “Victory Field Neighbors Worried About Future of Track Area

  1. This comment is from someone who wrote in anonymously. I did not approve it because it was anonymous and also slightly vulgar. But it is a valid opinion. Here is the comment:

    “This may be one most poorly written and biased things I’ve read in months.”

    In response, the story reflects the feelings of the people living around Victory Field. This is the first of many stories about the project, including the upcoming meetings.

    Anyone who wants their opinions about the proposed project, please send a letter to the editor to

  2. This article is absolutely ridiculous. There are both falsely stated facts and absurd claims. First I would like to point out that bathrooms are available at the facilities and are typically quite clean. The port-o-potties are simply an option. A simple look around the facility would make this clear. Secondly, those who are worried about the renovations should not have purchased a house so close to a public field. It should have been obvious to them that the park is going to be used (there may be barbeques, music, lights, loud noises, and worst of all people) and if they had an issue with any of these things they should have chosen to live elsewhere. A few more things – I don’t see how smoke from a barbeque is an issue, I personally think they smell good. Also, the parking behind the field is public parking and is convenient for the field. It is ridiculous to think that people should not park there because it becomes a parking lot…after all, parking on the street is entirely legal. Regarding the lights, the issue again falls under my opinion that one should not move in next to a park if he/she does not want to be affected by the lights which shut off at ten. Finally, I think that Victory Field is a fantastic location for the improvements as half of the park was recently redone and it is one of, if not the most popular park in the town.

  3. Thanks for opening the discussion about the Phase 2 proposal and the Victory Field Neighborhood Charlie. We look forward to the hearings. Elodia & Bruce

  4. I live in Watertown, although not directly next to Victory field. While it doesn’t impact ‘me’, I can certainly understand the changes concerning those who do live so close to it.

    For those who live on Katherine, while yes, there is a field in their backyard, there is a stretch of green between the track and the fence to their homes which I understand there is a proposal would be filled with either another tennis court or something else.

    Certainly with upgrades there will be more visitors to the park. Does everyone really feel the roads surrounding the park are really able to handle the additional traffic? Everyone knows the crazy intersection of Common, Church and Orchard. Cars speed thru that area 24/7. Is that going to be addressed in conjunction with this proposal, or is the plan just to add even more visiting cars to that intersection?

    I’m all for maintaining what’s there, but very much against making it into something busier. Isn’t there something better to spend over $1M on? How about changing the rusted 80 year old water pipes leading to many of our homes so we get some real water pressure…I’m just saying….

  5. I was born in the town. Grew up in the town. Used the fields hundreds of times. Things didn’t change that much during my childhood. Now ..watertown had a young progressive Recreation Director who is working night and day for the betterment of the town…mainly it’s children. Director Centola has even held or is going to hold town hall meetings where residents can voice their concerns or support over the direction of the fields. Change in anything is not always easy…but I believe that if the residents engage the director thru these meetings , phone calls, or visit his office, there concerns will be heard.

  6. I am in favor of renovations to the parks and Victory Field. As a parent of a high schooler who is involved in sports it is important. The lack of lighting on the oval in the fall had affected the length of some HS sports. JV soccer games had to be cut short due the lack of lighting and worries about students getting hurt. In addition, the turf field has extended the playing and practice season for many of the HS sports.
    I know many of the towns parks and youth sports have been a lifeline for my single child who spent his elementary years in a private school. I love the feeling of community our towns sports give to the children and their parents.

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