recreation field discussion

Recreation Committee members Michael Heylin and Lori Dillon discuss artificial turf fields at the October 9 recreation committee meeting.

Falmouth Recreation Committee is considering sites for a second artificial turf field in town.

“Finding out where to have one that is not controversial is going our number-one goal,” committee member Sandra L. Cuny said at the committee’s meeting on Wednesday, October 9.

Ms. Cuny listed several sites, including at the George Gaspa Sports Complex on Sandwich Road, at Trotting Park, on the Emerald House property or at the Augusta property—the former Cape Cod Drive-In Theater—on Teaticket Highway. Of those sites, committee member Lori C. Dillon said she would prioritize sites with existing parking.

She said the George Gaspa Sports Complex is a feasible site, but only if a full-sized field can fit there.

“I don’t think you build one if you can’t build a full field,” Ms. Dillon said.

The installation of a second artificial turf field is in line with recommendations made in the 2017 Athletic Field Master Plan by Gale Associates. The report recommends installing either nine new natural grass fields or three artificial turf fields.

“To me, the key is nine regular fields versus three,” committee member Richard J. Boles said. “Nine fields is a lot of space, a lot of land.”

Chairman Robert Brown said the town could consider converting a grass field to artificial turf.

“I think the quickest place to get something done, and the least expensive, is an already existing field,” Mr. Brown said. “You take one field out and you carpet it. It would probably be the high school.”

However, a field on school property would be run by the school department. Mr. Brown said installing a field there would not benefit programs like youth soccer.

Ms. Cuny said the school property is a possibility.

“We don’t want to rule out another field on school property, because we have 90 acres of land back there here,” she said. “At other schools, [Athletic Director Kathleen Burke] told me they have had a second turf field and they called it a community field.”

Having a community field on school grounds would require action by the Falmouth School Committee.

“We’d want the school committee to make it a community field and let [Recreation Director] Joe [Olenick] do the scheduling for it,” Ms. Cuny said. “That is something we could work with the school committee on.”

Noting the cost of equipment and installation, committee member Michael G. Heylin said if the town has the land available at the high school, the committee should consider installing two artificial turf fields at once.

“Cost-wise, wouldn’t it make sense to push for both at the same time?” Mr. Heylin asked. “If we’re going to clear this much land, it’s not much more to clear a little bit more and have two fields side by side, with the understanding from the school committee that those two are now community fields.”

He said it would make sense to advocate for both fields at once, rather than argue an individual field for three to four years, and then repeat the process again for a third artificial turf field.

Mr. Olenick said he would talk with Ms. Burke further on this matter.

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