Prioritizing play at Town Meeting

Playground, soccer fields up for votes
Sep 18, 2019

Those at Town Meeting will be able to support new places for kids to play this fall, as a new playground for Shangri La and new fields for the Wareham Youth Soccer Club have requested Community Preservation Funds.

The soccer club is hoping to create five new soccer fields located on the Westfield property off Charlotte Furnace Road in West Wareham. While the land was intended to host a number of fields, only girls softball has created and maintained fields there.

The club has gotten permission from girls softball and signed an agreement with the town to use the land, and is requesting $40,000 in Community Preservation funds for the $70,000 project.

The land the soccer club hopes to use needs a fair amount of work. Some of the fields are so overgrown, trees will have to be cut down. 

Additionally, the fields don’t have enough parking, so the club plans to take over part of the field to create a parking lot, which will necessitate cutting down some trees and cutting a hole in a fence. 

The funds would also be used to purchase goals, other miscellaneous equipment, and a shed to store it all in.

“We have got a great group of volunteers that have put a lot of time in,” said Soccer Club President Bob Catarius.

Currently, the club uses the fields at the Decas School. Catarius said that the school’s uncertain future after the new elementary school is completed is one of the reasons the club is looking for a new place. 

Community Preservation Committee Chair Sandy Slavin pointed out that the project is in line with CPC’s history, as one of the first projects funded with Community Preservation Funds was drilling a well and installing irrigation at Westfield. Catarius said the club has been able to get that irrigation system up and running.

The second project that could receive funding is a new playground for the Shangri La neighborhood, located at 10 Peaceful Ln.

The existing playground frequently floods and has almost no equipment, as the majority was removed after being deemed unsafe. 

Carol Malonson, a member of the Neighborhood Watch and Playground Committee, has spearheaded the project, and is requesting $220,000 in funding. Malonson said that the neighborhood is home to many kids and young families, so a safe playground is definitely needed.

The work planned is extensive: The drainage issues would be fixed, the basketball court would be upgraded, new equipment will be added, the playground would be fenced in, an accessible path would be added, and so would a pavilion to provide shade on hot days. 

Malonson is still working to find the best deal, but she hopes to be able to use the funds to purchase two play structures (one for kids ages two to five and another for kids ages five to twelve), a four-seat swing set, a toddler swing set including an accessible seat, a “Herculean Climber,” a merry-go-round, and two teeter-totters.

The Selectmen voted unanimously to recommend the approval of both projects.