Last month, voters at Lynnfield Town Meeting approved the next step in the ongoing effort to rebuild the town's athletic field facilities. The measure would spend $250,000 on design services for the project, with final approval for the entire project expected to come before voters at the April town meeting.
The following was provided by Lynnfield resident Katy Shea:
Dear Lynnfield Residents,
It was good to see the School Committee support the field proposal at our October Town Meeting. Based on the open discussion during town meeting of our increasing debts and liabilities, I am hoping the School Department moves forward to helping our town to qualify for PARC grants up to $400,000. Lynnfield could qualify for this grant money, if the school committee would transfer the town owned athletic fields to open space and parks, as has been done in several communities like North Reading and Salem.
Massachusetts PARC grants are available to cities and towns that are improving or creating athletic fields for their communities. Therefore, many cities and towns have turf fields that are dedicated and deeded for park and recreation purposes only. To qualify for these grants, land must be dedicated to park and recreation purposes and not under the care and control of the School Committee. There is no added cost to the Town since the DPW currently maintains the school fields.
I am hoping at this April’s town meeting, our townspeople will be able to vote to transfer the High School and Middle School fields to be dedicated to fields and deeded for park and recreation purposes only. If this is done, we will be able to qualify for the initial upgrade of our fields, and ongoing upgrades to our turf fields. (There is a limited life expectancy of turf fields between 10 to 15 years.)In a recent Globe article, “Lynnfield considers cell towers to plug gaps in coverage”, by Christian M. Wade, dated October 17, 2013, Mr. Gustus speaks about new cell towers and the need to boost revenues. This in combination with the inability to use projected revenues of $150,000 from our Golf Enterprise account to fund the new fields project, make The PARC Grant a very good place for the town to boost cash. The High School and Middle School will be the centerpiece of our upcoming fields project. It will benefit all of us if they are deeded appropriately to financially benefit the town and offset the growing needs of increasing town revenues. I look forward to future discussions on this topic and hoping the townspeople are able to vote on this item at April’s town meeting.