Friday, September 22, 2006
RecCom prepares for new town vote Plans for new fields, and pavilion, paths, tennis and basketball courts
Appearing before Selectmen at their meeting last week, Recreation Commission Chair Allen Deary said the group received helpful feedback from residents and town boards since plans to add three new playing fields at Banta-Davis failed by just 11 votes during last spring's election.
RecCom met with Selectmen, the Finance Committee (FinCom), the Council on Aging and others since last spring to see what could improve chances of the vote passing the second time around. A Special Town Meeting for RecCom's plans is coming up on October 30
Deary said he heard there was too much emphasis on ball fields in the previous plan that specified two new Little League playing fields and one multi-purpose field to be added to town land off Bedford Road.
RecCom is now planning a wood pavilion near the upper playing fields, a 22-foot by 42-foot open structure for picnics and other gatherings. It would have a concrete slab and hold six picnic tables.
Another improvement to the previous plan is a network of paved paths to run between the fields. The pathways are for safety, Deary said, because with more fields there will be more cars. They will also serve as walking paths for residents who want to get some exercise in a "great park setting," he said of Banta-Davis' fields and woods.
Also in the plans is reconstructing the boardwalk path between Spalding Field on Church Street and Banta-Davis, a route that's now underwater much of the year as it crosses the Pages Brook wetland. The new boardwalk would be wider allowing the school's cross-country team to use it as part of its course and restore the crossing over the wetland area for walkers.
The existing Little League field located near the road at Spalding Field would be converted to a regulation softball field, creating two softball fields at Spalding.
The two existing tennis courts near the school on Church Street would be converted to basketball courts. Tennis courts would be relocated to Banta-Davis where plans show four new courts built on the right, midway down the driveway.
The main ball field plan, as specified earlier this year, adds two new Little League regulation playing fields at Banta-Davis. One would be built to the right of the existing Little League field, and one next to the existing softball field near the upper parking lot. One new multi-purpose field for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and other sports would be added near the existing multi-purpose field and track, near the upper parking lot.
The plan doubles the number of fields at Banta-Davis from three to six. If voters approve the plan there will be a total of three Little League fields at Banta-Davis, one softball field, and two multi-purpose fields for soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse.
Town meeting - first request
The town meeting and ballot vote are planned in two requests. The first request for $1.6 million covers the following:
· Two natural grass Little League fields
· One natural grass multi-purpose playing field for soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse
· Wood pavilion
· New parking lots
· Blacktop pathways
· Reconstruction of boardwalk path between Spalding Field and Banta-Davis
· Four tennis courts at Banta-Davis
· Two basketball courts at school
· Engineering costs
· Conceptual design plans for a town recreation center (part of long-range plans)
Town meeting - second request
The second request at Town Meeting, an option for artificial turf on the new multi-purpose field at Banta-Davis, is for an additional $526,000. With construction contingency fees added, the total for both options is approximately $2.2 million.
Figures are based on previous bids RecCom received last spring before the Town Meeting vote. If the project is approved by voters it must be put out for bid again. If new bids come in higher, Deary said they may have to remove one Little League field from the plan and the pathway material would change from blacktop to crushed stone to reduce costs.
If the recreation project is approved, some site work such as cuts and fills could be done this fall and early winter.
The first vote covers design work for a recreation center that would be built in the future, and would be used for yoga, exercise, arts and crafts classes, and others.
"We need to do a better job of educating folks this time," said Deary, who acknowledges the request this spring was done in a rush. He said both Carlisle and Concord are in desperate need of additional playing fields during the busy fall and spring sports seasons. Fields are in demand by school and youth leagues, and also by various adult leagues and players. With more and more Concord-Carlisle Youth Soccer, Baseball, and Lacrosse teams, Carlisle players play on Concord fields "disproportionately," he said. Selectman Tim Hult said he also believes new fields are greatly needed. "It makes sense for Carlisle and Concord to independently develop fields."
Currently user fees and donations help offset costs for maintaining the fields and tracks, an expense that is shared with the town. Though RecCom receives donations from families using its programs in its gift account, Deary said the group is not set up to do fundraising.
The group is now organizing to explain the Banta-Davis project to voters. RecCom plans to use community-access TV Channel 8 at scheduled times, and the town's web site, www. carlislema.gov to provide more information.
RecCom will host a meeting to explain the details of their town meeting requests and to hear voter input on Saturday morning September 30, from 8:30-10 a.m. at Town Hall.
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