Friday, October 27, 2006
Banta-Davis plan includes path for cross-country runners
Have you ever driven down Church Street on a fall afternoon and encountered streams of youngsters running, jogging and walking between the Carlisle Public School and Spaulding Field? The 1.8-mile course for the school's cross-country team is up and down and then up again on Church Street. The cross-country team is the largest team at the school, with over 70 runners. The team is made up of fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. When there are home meets, there can be up to twice the number of children running up and down Church Street. Part of the plan for the Banta-Davis expansion, the first Warrant Article at the Special Town Meeting on Monday, will allow a continuous off-road course from the school to the Banta-Davis Land and back.
Recreation Commission Chair Allen Deary says the proposed course would be over 2.5 miles and will initially be covered in wood chips. The path would start at the school and traverse a trail in the hillside down to Spalding Field. On the far side of Spalding Field, an existing path through the woods to Banta-Davis would be improved. The plan also includes a cross-country path winding through the woods behind the existing and the new all-purpose fields at Banta-Davis.
Bill Gale is a sixth-grade teacher and one of the cross-country coaches. After seeing the planned cross-country course, he said enthusiastically, "We would definitely run down there. It would be so much better." Gale, along with parents, worries about the present course that runs partly on the street. "It would be much safer on this new course." He welcomed such a plan and his excitement was obvious.
A recent cross-country meet at home had to be moved from Carlisle to Westford because of safety issues. Both teams are very large, and Gale felt it was unsafe to have that many children running on the road here in Carlisle. Since the kids have to run up and down Church Street, faster runners are running up the street while some of the slower runners are still running down the street, With such large teams, the volume of that interaction along with traffic seemed potentially dangerous.
The new course might be used by adults too. After hearing about the proposed course, Elizabeth Parson of Lowell Street said, "I would definitely run there," as one of her usual runs takes her by Green Cemetery. She said it would be a nice path to walk as well.
© 2006 The