Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Consulting Firm Confirms Mayor's Compromise Plan For Playing Fields

Last week the Common Council, in a very close vote, decided to change a bond referendum to eliminate synthetic turf fields. After changing the language, the Council unanimously approved sending the $37M to the ballot so that residents could decide. Usually, once a vote has been taken, the Council moves on to other business, but Councilman Tom Serra, who voted against the change to the language, signaled that he wanted a chance to do the vote over again.

Mayor Drew proposed a compromise plan that would increase the number of fields but leave all of them as natural grass. Today, he released a letter from the consulting firm hired by the city to evaluate the city's parks and recreation facilities. The letter buttresses the feasibility of Drew's compromise for the bond referendum.

Milone and MacBroom confirmed the mayor's contention that the city can save $3.5M by foregoing synthetic turf. They also wrote that 6 additional fields would satisfy all of the demand for playing surfaces in the city.

In releasing the letter, Drew wrote, "This approach saves the taxpayers millions of dollars, meets athletic league capacity, and preserves a grass approach to field construction. Our parks bond has dozens of incredibly important, once-in-a-generation improvements and this compromise ensures that the entire community's needs are met."

The Common Council is meeting at 6PM on Wednesday, September 2nd, to re-consider the Bond Referendum.


Rebecca MacLachlan said...

Thank you, Mayor Drew, for putting the health and safety of our kids first!
Your compromise keeps our kids off hazardous artificial turf but adds more grass fields for more playing time. The added bonus, of course, is the reduction of the overall price tag since "real" grass playing fields are less expensive than "plastic" grass.

Rebecca MacLachlan

John Milardo said...

OMG! This thing just keeps on going on! The consulting firm doesn't say WHERE these six (6) new fields will be constructed? Is the City going to acquire more land the public doesn't know about? Are they going to light up the entire site at Pat Kidney Field? (I'll bet the neighborhood will speak against that solution) How is the bond only going to be reduced by $3.5 million if you are eliminating nine (9) synthetic turf fields at a cost of $1.5 million each? And that does not include the extra cost in the bond for the natural fiber for the artificial turf. I believe that was another $200,000 per field you can deduct.
Why wasn't the consultant charged with determining how many full-time maintenance employees it would take for the upkeep of the Parks properties to a proper standard? Isn't this something that should have been included in the consulting proposal? Or, was the agenda to quiet down the leagues by constructing new artificial fields, and letting them deteriorate after a few short years?
It's not brain surgery to determine proper personnel required for upkeep and proper funding for yearly budgets. Don't waste taxpayer money if your not going to fix EVERYTHING with this bond. As Drew himself stated - this is a "once in a generation" fix for the parks infrastructure. You wouldn't half pave a road, or half bury a water pipe! Do this right too!

Anonymous said...

What is tonight's meeting about and how will the bond referendum be reconsidered? Is there a vote and if so, what is being voted on?

Anonymous said...

This seems like a no-brainer. Why wasn't it on the table to begin with instead of a last minute compromise.