Friday, May 1, 1998

Long-term caps supports ballfields

by Claudia Miller

Slowly, members of the recreation commission are gathering steam as they chug forward to the May 4 Town Meeting.

Members of the long-term capital requirements committee (LTCRC) voted to recommend the commission's plan to construct ballfields on the Banta-Davis Land.

After weeks of pushing their proposal forward and receiving only lukewarm support, the vote to recommend came as welcome news to the commissioners.

Most officials agree that Carlisle needs playing fields and favor the RecCom's extensive plan, which calls for softball, baseball and soccer fields along with a basketball court and running track to be constructed on the Banta-Davis land in three phases. It is the anticipated costs, especially for the first phase, that most officials are finding difficult to swallow.

First estimate

Racing against the clock, the committee has been seeking estimates from contracting companies to give voters a more secure estimate of what the first phase will cost. Chair Eva Herndon told the LTCRC and members of the finance committee who attended the April 27 meeting that the first preliminary estimate received this week was $549,000, slightly lower than the $570,000 figure the committee had been using. Because the FinCom did not have a quorum, they could not vote a recommendation on the proposal. Chair Nancy Pierce said that she hoped the committee would be able to convene and vote just prior to Town Meeting.

The project has also not garnered the support of the selectmen. They, too, are expected to vote on the project just prior to Town Meeting. Officials have been reluctant due to fears that an expensive project would jeopardize the $115,000 operational override. Also, it is still unclear whether the town will receive federal funding for the $1.8 million O'Rourke parcel.

School committee has supported the proposal, qualified by the understanding that the siting of any future school would take priority over the playing fields and might require those fields to be moved.