Above: Good news on the initiative to save 9-11 Memorial Field. (Photo by Susan Fitzgerald)
A state law has been passed allowing the Town of Southborough to lease 9/11 field for at least 15 years. It was the critical step in keeping the field open for use.
In 2013, Southborough Recreation announced that the turf field was reaching the end of its life. They planned to phase out the field’s use for recreation and sports.
Re-turfing the field is expensive. And restrictions on the state owned land made financing prohibitive.
One of the biggest hurdles was that the state would only allow the Town to lease the field for periods of 5 years or less. Meanwhile, long term financing requires a long term lease.
After news broke, youth sports organizers learned the loss of the field was going to have a serious impact. Lacrosse, soccer and even baseball would be competing for limited grass fields which some worry are already overused.
Jim Hegarty (a Lacrosse coach and now Town Clerk) spearheaded an initiative to save 9/11 field. He coordinated a plan with town leagues and Recreation would ensure that financing is covered by user fees – not taxes.
The efforts included articles passed at two Town Meetings and special state legislation with the help from Representive Carolyn Dykema.
Residents were also asked to participate in a letter-writing campaign to the State oversight committee. They were also reminded that the field serves as a memorial for September 11th.
Yesterday afternoon, Dykema’s office confirmed victory after the bill was signed into law:
An Act directing the division of capital asset management to lease a certain parcel of land in the town of Southborough (H.3762), a bill sponsored by Representative Carolyn Dykema and Senator Jamie Eldridge, was passed by the legislature the week of January 24th and signed by the governor on February 4, 2016. [click to keep reading…]