Letter from the Fields Committee

The following is a note from the Fields Committee that they asked me to post.

Well here we go and we need your help!!!!

If you have been following the news on the fields you know that we have made a great deal of progress. The Selectmen and School Committee have approved the Memorandum of Understanding which will give both our student athletes and recreational athletes of all ages tremendous access to what will be the best playing fields in the area. And the Selectmen have provided a budgetary path to the construction of one of the largest turf complexes built at any school.

None of this will happen without a tremendous amount of work by the Lynnfield athletic community and we need your help.

First, please mark two Town Meeting dates on your calendar:

Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.;
Monday, April 28, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

We need you to attend those town meetings and support our efforts to get this complex built. Let me tell you a little about the background, the facility, the costs, and the plan for funding this complex. Lynnfield has had an extreme field shortage since the 80’s when the number of athletes far exceeded the availability of fields. Year after year it has been a problem for every organized recreational sports organization in town. And if the shortage was a problem for youth and adult recreational sports the condition of the fields was an even bigger problem for the high school varsity and junior varsity teams. Many of our fields are in such terrible condition that they are unsafe for play and when it rains there is almost no field in town that is playable.

For fourteen months the Field Study Committee worked to solve this very complex issue. Originally we thought that the land on Main St. at the Middleton line would be a good solution but the cost of accessing that land and the cost of development for what would be a very small field complex was determined to be excessive. After exploring a number of alternatives (working with our consultants – Gale Associates) the committee recognized that our best solution was multifaceted and included rebuilding and restructuring the playing fields at the High School and Middle School to create a multipurpose complex that would solve multiple problems at the same time. And secondly, to execute a field improvement plan that would bring all Lynnfield fields up to a safe and playable condition for all athletes.
By doubling the number of full-sided fields at the high school from two to four and by
constructing three of them utilizing artificial turf we will substantially improve the condition of the fields while providing fields that could sustain much higher use quotients. The addition of lights on the three turf fields would make them available into the hours of darkness which will be particularly helpful in the fall when dusk comes early. In addition, the baseball complex at the high school would be rebuilt to current standards and a new softball field would be built on the upper level. This will provide a new MIAA compliant field complex for both our high school and recreational athletes.

At the Middle School the bleachers need to be dismantled. They are unsafe by any standard and need to be removed. The track is outdated and in a state of disrepair; it needs immediate attention to bring it up to standards. The existing field is too small for any full-sided sports other than football and is too heavily used to adequately maintain the natural grass playing surface.

The committee has recommended that the track be rebuilt using a different radius on the corners and that a full sided artificial turf field be built inside the track at this location.

The total cost of these projects is approximately 8.5 million dollars. The Selectmen have developed a funding mechanism that will fund approximately 6.5 million dollars through utilization of monies that are currently in various accounts of the town, money that was committed to field development from the sale of land to LIFE and finally through incurring some debt which would be paid from new taxes coming from Market Street. This approach means that there will beno new taxes for the people of Lynnfield.

Separate from the Field Committee, several of us have agreed to raise approximately 2.5 million dollars in private funding to assist in this project and will initiate that effort if Town Meeting approves the engineering monies in October.
The Selectmen accepted our committee report and agreed with our recommendation. We will move forward at the October Town Meeting with a request for funding of an engineering contract that would fund the hiring of an outside consultant to design the field complexes; detail the work necessary to bring all Lynnfield fields into a playable condition and prepare an RFP to facilitate bidding on these projects. The estimated cost of the engineering portion of this project
is $250,000 and is a substantial investment that should not be taken lightly. We would encourage all voters to seriously consider the commitment of these monies in October while considering the funding that will be necessary in April to get this done. And if we are not committed to moving forward with the expenditure of 6.5 million dollars in April, there is no sense in funding the engineering portion of this request.

This is a unique period in the history of Lynnfield Athletics and the Town of Lynnfield and you have an opportunity to change the way Lynnfield is viewed. This comprehensive proposal addresses and solves every single field need we currently have and while we will continue to seek new field locations to separate recreational and varsity conflicts, this complex will resolve the issues that have plagued Lynnfield for over thirty years. The ability to get this done without increasing taxes due to the partial use of new revenues at Market Street is really a singular opportunity.

This complex will differentiate Lynnfield when it comes to young families looking for a place to raise their children and will benefit all of us that own homes in Lynnfield. It will provide all athletes with a first class sports complex that is safe and fulfills the needs of our town. And it improves the quality of life that all of us moved to Lynnfield for.

The Field Committee,
Arthur Bourque Kevin Sullivan Kyle Shinnick
Bob Priestley Kevin McHugh

Thank you,
Wallace McKenzie
781.462.1517 – office
866.334.1731 – fax
wambkl – IM
wam – email

One Response to “Letter from the Fields Committee”

  1. Iam Danceswithdachshunds Says:

    I’d like to see the DETAILS that generated that $8.5 million estimate! It has “rip-off” written all over it.

    Standard aluminum bleachers cost under $100 per seat. How many seats are we talking about here? For $1 million that’s at least a 10,000 seat capacity – almost the population of Lynnfield! That leaves $7.5 for what? Astro-turf and asphalt?

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