Grants could go a long way toward completing the final piece of Filippello Park, a project that stretches back to the 1980s.
The Town Council heard a presentation from project consultant Glenn Howard of CDM Smith for renovating the Grove Street entrance of Filipello Park, which will include a large dog park.
The current project first started in 2012, Howard said, and has gone through a handful of versions before reaching the one presented Tuesday night, which has a 27,000 square foot dog park, 16,000 square feet of open space and a basketball and a futsal soccer court.
Town Councilors said they liked what they saw in the plan, adding that they appreciate designers and the Recreation Department taking into account the wishes of many groups in town.
“This shows every time the Recreation Department and other departments met with the public they were listening,” said Councilor Ken Woodland. “I applaud you for listening to all the concerns of the groups.”
The project is estimated to cost about $800,000, and the cost grows to nearly $1 million with a 25 percent contingency, Howard said. There are at least two major grants that could cut deeply into the costs.
Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon said the Stanton Foundation offers grants for dog parks of $250,000, and there is a potential for another $25,000 for planning.
The state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs awards PARC grants for acquiring or renovating parkland. This could provide another $250,000, but Howard said the town would have to wait until next year to apply for the grant, which is due in July.
With an expected six month construction schedule, that would push the completion well into 2017 or even early 2018.
“We’ll see if it is worth waiting for grants or just go ahead and do it ourselves,” Magoon said.
The project will complete the transformation of the area from the town’s landfill to a park, which began in the 1980s. The area where the improvements will be made used to be where the town incinerator was located.
This are has been particularly difficult to work with because of contamination underground. Because of this, Howard said that as little change as can be done as possible, the better. Otherwise they must get permission from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Avoiding digging into the soil complicates some things, Howard said, such as adding lights for the area. Digging to put wires underground could be a problem, but he said they might explore adding flood lights to light stands that light the parking lot just north of the site.
Some worried about parking for the new project. Some parking might be added along the driveway. The parking lot next door is now leased by Mount Auburn Cemetery and the agreement runs another six years, or so.
Recreation Director Peter Centola noted that the Mount Auburn Cemetery parking lot is empty on weekends, and he suggested reaching out to them and asking if the town could use it for the park on weekends.