Forty Sandwich residents came on April 16 to the Sandwich Hollows Golf Club clubhouse to listen and express their views on the potential creation of recreational fields and facilities next to the course.
On the electronic front, about 400 people had participated by Wednesday in an online survey on the town website about the town’s perceived recreational needs. The survey will close May 9.
Sandwich residents widely consider the town’s existing playing fields to be overused, according to Eric Q. Roise, a landscape architect at Gale Associates Inc. in Weymouth, who gave a presentation at Wednesday night’s forum.
Assistant town manager Douglas A. Lapp said the town hired Gale Associates as a consultant on its initiative to improve recreation in Sandwich.
Selectman Frank Pannorfi told residents gathered for the forum that the town could tap up to 120 acres of land alongside the golf course for the construction of new athletic fields and facilities.
In a question-and-answer session that followed Mr. Roise’s presentation, Selectman Susan R. James suggested that the town consider recreational possibilities such as a well-defined walking trail near the golf course. She said residents already walk the course for recreation.
One resident recommended the construction of courts for pickle ball, a game she said appealed to a wide range of age groups. A number of pickle ball courts could be fit onto one tennis court, she said.
Marie A. Kangas of Hoxie Hollow recommended construction of a building that could accommodate walkers and others seeking recreation on a year-round basis.
Jan L. Teehan of Kiahs Way said any new recreational park should make provisions for Sandwich residents who are handicapped.
Donna Willcuts of Dale Terrace staked out a contrarian stand to the prevailing thrust of the forum when she said the town could not meet its basic needs and accordingly should sell the golf course.
What the town really needs, Ms. Willcuts said, are sidewalks to allow people to walk to existing sites, such as the Sandwich Boardwalk.
Mr. Roise said another outreach session will be held in May, followed by a meeting in June that will put forward some proposals for a recreational plan.
Mr. Lapp, who is shepherding the recreation initiative, previously has said that the town would prefer to make vacant land near the golf course available for leasing or licensing by organizations. The organizations, not the town, would build and maintain the athletic facilities.
The town’s least preferred method is to build any facilities itself.
Mr. Lapp has said that the town may move forward to lease or license land for athletic facilities by fall.