Having heard from the public about the proposed renovation of the track area of Victory Field, the Town Council has asked for revisions and will hold a meeting to discuss the project soon.
At Monday’s Town Council meeting Town Council President Mark Sideris announced the next steps for Phase 2 of the Victory Field renovation.
The proposed project includes replacement of the grass with artificial turf, a new track, resurfacing the tennis courts and the tot lot, addition of lights to the track and replacement lights on the courts. Also, a multi-use court would be added where basketball and street hockey could be played, and a new parking area would be created.
Sideris said he and other councilors attended the two public meetings and heard the input from residents. A majority opposed at least part of the project, with most of the opposition focusing on the artificial turf, the lights and to a lesser extent the new parking area.
Supporters say the grass field is in bad shape, and the artificial turf would allow more games, practices and other use. The track and tennis courts are overdue for replacement, they said.
The project architects from CDM will have a chance to update the plans, Sideris said.
“The architects will have a chance to see if they can come up with something – a better alternative – after hearing what the public said,” Sideris said.
Elodia Thomas, who lives next to the field, said she worries about the public’s input being included in the revised plans. She and other Marion Road residents met with Recreation Director Peter Centola and architect Glen Howard last spring.
“We told Peter Centola about our issues and they were not reflected in the plan,” Thomas said. “I have little faith anything will be changed.”
At the second public meeting, Centola said the project is far from a “done deal,” and he expects more meetings and changes to be made.
The revised plans will come back to the Town Council at a meeting in October. The meeting will likely be held at Watertown Middle School to accommodate the expected turnout.
Residents will have a chance to comment, and the council will discuss the proposal. Councilors could then take a vote.
“We may decide not to take any action,” Sideris said.
Before the meeting occurs, Councilor Susan Falkoff said she would like some additional information. She asked to see assessments about putting an artificial turf field in other locations in town. In addition, she wanted a breakdown of the use of the current artificial turf field – comparing users from the town with use by private groups.
Bruce Coltin, Thomas’ husband, said he is glad to see the healthy debate, and dissent about the project.
“People looked at the (Phase 2) plans and a huge uproar ensued,” Coltin said. “That didn’t happen with Phase 1 because it never had a chance.”
He added that town has an opportunity to build something wonderful, but that cannot happen if it is planned by a small group of people who ignore those opposing the project.
Sideris said people can still send their input and suggestions for the Victory Field project to Recreation Director Peter Centola by sending an email to email@example.com.
See other stories about the Victory Field project: