After ten years of soccer games, lacrosse games, and football games, the turf at 9-11 Memorial Field is starting to show its age. The Southborough Recreation Commission announced yesterday they’ve kicked off a project to replace it, but turns out turf isn’t cheap. The cost to complete the project is expected to range between $400K and $450K.
At a meeting last October, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney said he would be reluctant to ask voters to fund the turn replacement, which at that time was estimated to cost around $500K.
“To go to Town Meeting and ask residents to play $500K to replace turf when the police and fire stations are falling down, it doesn’t make it to the top of my priority list,” Rooney told members of the Recreation Commission. “I think you’ll need to find ways to fund it if you want to do it.”
Rooney suggested increasing user fees to bring in more cash, saying the rates for 9-11 Field are “substantially less” that similar fields in neighboring towns. Selectman Dan Kolenda suggested offering sponsorship opportunities to local businesses to help raise funds.
Recreation Commission Chair Mark Murphy told selectmen they would also research whether Community Preservation Act funds could be used toward the project, and said the commission planned to talk with Representative Carolyn Dykema about funding options.
Located on Farm Road near the border with Marlborough, 9-11 Memorial Field was built ten years ago in partnership with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns the land. A memorial to the victims of the 9-11 attacks also sits on the site. Director of Recreation Doreen Ferguson told selectmen replacing the turf will give the field another ten year’s of life.
According to information from the Recreation Commission, the field is used most by Southborough youth sports groups, which average about 400 hours on the field each year. Of those, Southborough Youth Soccer relies on the field the most, particularly for its 11-year-old teams.
“Losing the use of 911 would drastically impact this age group which currently consists of approximately 155+ children in this age group alone,” the commission wrote in an email to supporters yesterday.
In addition to soccer, and Northborough/Southborough Youth Lacrosse which is also a major user of the facility, the field is also used by both youth and adult sports groups from neighboring communities, which average about 250 hours on the field annually.
The commission said they would be kicking off fundraising efforts in the near future, and they asked residents to help support the project.
“If you feel that the 911 Memorial Field is an important facility for your children, our community and keeping this 911 Memorial Monument a memorable structure in our community, please consider supporting this project when our fundraising efforts begin in the near future,” they wrote.
What do you think? Do your kids use 9-11 Field? Would it impact you if it went away? Is the cost to repair the turf worth it? Will you support the fundraising effort? Share your thoughts in the comments below.