Athletic fields are first part of Allen Brook School plan
April 28, 2011By Adam White Observer staff
Ground will be broken soon on the first building phase of a new park behind Allen Brook School on Talcott Rd. in Williston, after the town accepted a bid and signed a contract with a Richmond construction company last week.
The first part of the park’s plan calls for two multi-use athletic fields, the construction of which will be funded entirely through impact fees under the town’s capital plan, according to Recreation Dept. Director Kevin Finnegan. Finnegan said that future phases would be initiated as town growth generates the revenue to cover its costs.
“Impact fees on new developments are paying for this project,” Finnegan said. “For every new house that is built, there is a dollar figure that goes toward all different services in town, (including) Parks and Rec. As the economy picks up, we should have more money in the kitty to put toward this project.”
According to Public Works Director Bruce Hoar, the winning bid for the first phase came from J. Hutchins Inc., of Richmond. Hoar said the contract stipulates that the project can be started no earlier than May 15. Lindsay Vincelette of J. Hutchins Inc. said that the work is expected to get under way around June 1.
“We plan to coordinate our efforts around school traffic,” Vincelette said. “We’ll start with the necessary erosion control, then move on to the mass excavation for the playing fields.”
The project’s blueprint shows twin fields labeled “soccer/lacrosse,” measuring 330 feet long and 195 feet across. The plan also shows an “extra, all-purpose field” with the same measurements proposed to the north of the first two fields, as well as a softball field, Little League baseball diamond and lighted Babe Ruth baseball diamond, playground, picnic shelter, bathroom/storage/concessions building and “tot lot.”
The existing recreational path near the school will also be reworked, and a “possible future bike path” is included in the plan as well.
Finnegan said that while the entire project is “shovel-ready” in terms of permit and design approval, the timeline for construction of everything beyond the first two fields will depend entirely on funding. He said the Recreation Dept. lobbied unsuccessfully during the town’s budgeting process for the Selectboard to put aside $25,000 per year for the project, as it has for improvements to Rossignol Park at the corner of North Brownell Rd. and Industrial Ave.
“We support the plan and want to see it happen, because the town needs more park space and playing fields,” Selectboard chair Terry Macaig said. “But we didn’t want to raise the tax rate this year, if we could help it.”
Hoar said Rossignol Park would continue to be improved with funding from the capital plan for ongoing improvements.
“Last year we re-did the tennis courts, and we’re looking at rebuilding the basketball courts next,” Hoar said.