$200,000 track repair proposal to go before Wareham voters at Town Meeting

Feb 12, 2019

A $200,000 proposal to renovate the middle school’s track will go before voters at Spring Town Meeting following approval by Selectmen on Tuesday night.

The board had held off on approving the request during their last meeting on Feb. 5 after School Committee members agreed to add another $25,000 their original $175,000 proposal. The funds would come from the town’s Community Preservation Fund if approved by voters. 

Each year, the Community Preservation Committee awards money to projects through the Community Preservation Act in four categories: open space, historic preservation, affordable housing and recreation. The money is raised through a 3 percent surcharge on property tax bills and the spending of these funds must be approved at Town Meeting. 

Selectman said they wanted more information on the planned repairs before adding the item to the agenda.

Community Preservation Committee Chair Sandy Slavin said the committee had agreed to approve the new request with a stipulation that included future maintenance of the track be done by the schools. The Anderson track was last renovated with money from Community Preservation Fund in 2006.

School officials have said they’re looking to spend a total of $500,000 over the next couple years to renovate the track completely and would include future upkeep costs in their budget.

The $200,000 would jumpstart the project, they said.

Plans call for resurfacing the track and installing a new, six foot fence around its perimeter. Slavin added that a storage facility may also be built at the track if adequate funding is left over. This building would service Wareham’s sports teams.

Superindentant Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood added that in addition to the fence, the schools would also be installing security cameras at the track.

The increased security would alleviate some of the need for maintenance by keeping motorized vehicles and bikes off the track, she said.

“By monitoring the track 24/7, we can make sure its only being used for its intended purpose,” Shaver-Hood said. “Right now, we have people using it all the time, and sometimes they bring things they shouldn’t.”

In addition to school sports, the Anderson track serves as the host location for several major events in town such as the Wareham-Plymouth Relay for Life.

In 2017, an estimated 40,000 people came to the track to see the Vietnam Moving Wall, a replica of the famous war memorial located in Washington D.C.

“I’m glad you could come to a solution to fix the track,” said Selectman Peter Teitelbaum.

“We’re very happy just for the opportunity,” said School Committee Chair Joyce Bacchiocchi.