Victory Field Basketball Court to be Moved Slightly, New Storage Approved

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CDM Smith

The design for the track and courts area at Victory Field.

CDM Smith

The design for the track and courts area at Victory Field. Because of the noise from the basketball courts the committee voted to move the court away from properties, so that the bottom lines up with the fence for the tennis courts. The storage bins will be near the top left corner of the track but will be one long storage, not two as pictured.

The basketball court at Victory Field will be moved farther from the backyards of neighbors and new, more attractive storage for athletic equipment will be installed in a different location.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Victory Field Phase 2 continued its examination of what should happen to the track and courts area of the complex on Orchard Street.

Having previously dealt with renovating the track and deciding against putting up netting around the track to stop soccer and lacrosse balls, on Tuesday night the group discussed the tennis and basketball courts and storage containers at at Victory Field.

Basketball Court

One of the most popular parts of Victory Field is the basketball court, which sits at the end of the five tennis courts and next to the back driveway. Pickup games are played almost year-round, neighbors said, but the games also creates a lot of noise for those living near the court.

Steve Kennedy said his bedroom is about 10 yards from the fence for the basketball court.

“It wasn’t there when I moved in. I don’t use my terrace much any more. Basketball is much noisier than tennis,” Kennedy said.

He added that while he does not like the noise, Kennedy would not want to move it to another location which would make it noisy for another neighbor. Plus, he would rather have a basketball court behind his house than a parking lot.

Committee member and Victory Field abutter Ann Korte suggested that since the basketball court is shorter, the area inside the fencing could be reduced and the court be moved away from the neighbors. Some trees could be put in between.

Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon said while he likes the idea of moving the basketball court away from neighbors, he noted that the open space created between the courts and the court would not really be usable by the public. It would be a move to the benefit of just a few people.

Committee member and resident Elliot Friedman said he believes it is the right thing to do.

“It may be a minority but I think where possible we want to be good neighbors,” Friedman said.

Resident Mark Leonard, who is president of Watertown Youth Soccer, said that he wants to make sure the fence around the court is not too close to the boundaries so players do not get hurt running by into the fence.

The proposed court is high school regulation size and a suggestion was made to consider having a junior high size court, which is 10 feet shorter, but the committee did not go for that idea.

Looking at what to do with the space in between the court and the houses, Glen Howard, the designer from CDM Smith working with the Town, said another option would be to put in a rain garden. Anywhere else on the site the garden, which collects storm runoff, would be at risk of being stepped on and damaged.

Councilor Vincent Piccirilli floated the idea of keeping the court where it is but have a sound barrier between the court and the neighbors. Kennedy said he would not like to have a big wall looming over his backyard.

The committee agreed to have the court moved away from the neighbors, and asked Howard to make sure that there is enough space around the court to be safe. The decision on what to put in between the court and the neighbors was put off until a future meeting.

Tennis Courts

The tennis courts will also be resurfaced. At a previous meeting, the committee decided to leave them where they are so the shot put area on the far end of the tennis courts could remain in the same place. The original proposal made two years ago called for shifting the courts over onto the shot put area to make room for more parking. The shot put would have been moved onto the oval of the track, an area, which was to be covered with artificial turf. That plan was scrapped when Town Council President Mark Sideris said the field would remain natural grass. Plus, the committee did not want the shot puts to make divots in the grass inside the track.

There are five tennis courts, which Watertown High School Athletic Director Michael Lahiff said are needed to run a varsity tennis match. He has seen teams use fewer courts, but it means that all the matches could not be played simultaneously, or going to a court at another location. The Committee agreed to have five tennis courts.

There are no permanent bleachers for the tennis courts right now. The committee looked at having a combination of benches and bleachers for the courts. They decided to have two sets of bleachers – each holding 30 people – for the tennis courts. Committee members discussed having benches for the basketball court, but decided not to make a decision until they decide what to do with the entire area between the courts and the track.

Committee member and abutter Elodia Thomas said she wanted to the town to consider having the courts striped for pickleball, a sport gaining popularity using paddles and a ball on a court similar in size to a tennis court without the alleyways on the right and left sides.

The court is different from tennis and Watertown High School tennis coach Dan Cedrone said players already have a hard enough time calling a shot in or out with one set of lines. Recreation Director Peter Centola said he would prefer to have temporary lines be put in for pickleball. The committee agreed to have temporary lines.

Storage Bins

The Watertown High School track and tennis teams store their equipment in a pair of unattractive shipping containers, which in the past have been the target of graffiti. They also sit in an area between the track and the tennis courts that the committee hopes to turn into a place where people will come sit and where picnic tables might be installed.

The new site for the storage bin is at the corner of the track near the end of the sprint lanes, and not far from the back fences of homes on Katherine Road.

The committee looked at a variety of types of storage, including shipping containers, wood sheds, metal storage sheds and concrete storage containers, similar to those located by the baseball diamond at Victory Field.

Members of the committee liked the concrete containers, in part because they like the appearance, and because they can be custom sized. Also, they have custom doors that roll up like a garage door. For the track equipment it would need to be 460 square feet in size, and would be 8 feet tall.

After considering having the bins with the long side running the same direction as the fences the committee went in a different direction. Resident Ruth Webb suggested orienting the length of the storage the same direction as the sprint lanes and be close to the track. The Committee liked the idea because it would mean losing less grassy area to the concrete path and pad for the storage.

Centola said he wants to make sure that there is enough space between the track and the storage to be safe.

“People will be running fast, and if someone falls I would hate to see someone fall into the corner of this,” Centola said.

The tennis team has a smaller storage bin which it shares with the field hockey team. Lahiff said the field hockey now has most of its equipment near the artificial turf field, so it would not need space.

The first suggestion was to have a small storage bin for the tennis team next to the courts. However, some members said they should just add on to the storage for the track team. The tennis team would need about 80 square feet, and Lahiff wanted to make sure there was a separate door and section for tennis. The committee agreed unanimously.

Moving the storage to the area next to the track will likely mean losing a tree growing in the area, Howard said. The trees along the property line, however, will not be impacted.

The committee did not discuss parking or lighting, as was scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting. Those items will be moved to the Victory Field Committee’s next meeting, on Monday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Lower Hearing Room at Town Hall.

Information for the Victory Field renovations can be found on the Town of Watertown website by going to the Document Center (click here), click on “Recreation,” and then click on “Victory Field, Phase II.”

One thought on “Victory Field Basketball Court to be Moved Slightly, New Storage Approved

  1. Relocating the court will be expensive as the surface would be removed & new surface would have to be installed. While designing the new court would not take much time as only a part of the removed surface is needed to be installed. But, maintenance will certainly be a huge task. Basketball courts should be maintained properly to increase their longevity. An annual pressure washing must be done to remove mildew, dirt, etc. While asphalt or concrete basketball courts should be resurfaced in every 4-5 years.
    Basketball court resurfacing

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