Friday, March 31, 2006
Banta-Davis site plan review passes BOS
Part two of the public hearing of the Recreation Commission (RecCom) plans for developing additional recreational facilities on the Banta-Davis Land off Bedford Road was reviewed at the Board of Selectmen's meeting on March 28. The plan calls for the construction of one multi-purpose field, two Little League fields and four tennis courts as reported in the March 24 issue of the Mosquito. The site presently contains one baseball field, one softball field, and one multi-purpose field with surrounding running track.
The plan will be brought to voters under Article 15 at Town Meeting, May 1, and ballot question 6 at Town Election, May 9. The exact cost is not yet known, but a rough estimate of $1,000,000 has been given. RecCom chair Allen Deary expects to begin advertising for bids next week and to open bids on April 18 prior to Town Meeting.
Engineer Dale Harris (of Dewbury Goodkind) returned to relate some additional details of the proposed Phase 2 site plan. In response to Selectman Tony Allison's earlier comment asking whether something for the older members of the community could be squeezed into the plan — perhaps a bocce ball court, Harris had some good news. "We have set aside a level area that can be used for bocce ball," he said to a delighted Allison.
Deary tossed in another idea. "We are looking at artificial turf for the multi-purpose field," he informed the Selectmen. Deary has spoken to four neighboring towns who rave about their artificial turf fields. "There are no pesticides, no fertilizer, no mowing, no toxic runoff," said Deary. "Another less obvious benefit is that the field does not have to be rested, therefore allowing full time operation." Deary cited an example in which an artificial turf field allowed a soccer tournament to continue in the pouring rain without fear of turf damage or mud.
There is a price to pay for these benefits, but the cost may be offset by the gain in efficiency. "Artificial turf is expected to last about 13 years and can cost $200K to $300K," said Deary. "But added field utilization, low maintenance, and ecological benefits may offset the cost." Deary made it clear that artificial turf is not part of the present RecCom site plan and he was reluctant to even mention the possibility for fear that it might jeopardize approval of the proposed additional facilities. "It's worth taking a look at, however," he concluded.
Chair Doug Stevenson read off over 20 amendments to the site plan that had accumulated as a result of the two public hearings. The board then voted to close the public hearing and went on to approve the Certificate of Decision as amended by a vote of 4-0-1, with Selectman Tim Hult abstaining due to not being present at the first hearing.
© 2006 The