Voters to approve Track and Field repairs
Voters unanimously voted for Article 19 to approve $200,000 of Community Preservation funds to resurface the track and replace the storage facilities at the Knut Anderson Field. The money will also be used to repair the existing fence and build additional fencing to secure the track.
Community Preservation funds, which are raised through a 3 percent surcharge on property tax bills, may only be spent on certain types of projects. Spending the funds must be approved at Town Meeting.
The track is located across from the Wareham Middle School on Viking Drive. Joyce Bacchiocchi, the secretary of the School Committee, noted that even though the track is used mostly by the students, it is “definitely a community space, not just a school space.” Bacchiocchi also clarified that the funds will go towards resurfacing the track, not replacing it.
Board of Selectmen unanimously recommended to approve of this article while the Financial Committee did not. Committee Chairman Barnard Pigeon stated that Financial Committee does not disagree that the track needs to be repaired, but in viewing the entire complex, the track should be part of a major rehab of the facility.
“If looking at the entire field, we feel there are issues that should be added to this package, an example is the middle of the field, which is flooded right now. There are drains down there that are full and are never taken care of. The field itself in the middle is nothing but dirt, and that’s where the field hockey team plays. We feel it would be part of the package to correct all problems within that area, versus just these few,” said Pigeon.
Although those who spoke about the amendment agreed that the entire field needs to be fixed, many voters noted that it needs urgent repair, due to occurring student athlete’s injuries. School Committee’s Vice Chair, Apryl Rossi, whose son regularly uses the track, said she attended several track and field competitions in out-of-district schools, noting that Wareham school track is “severely in disarray.”
“The price to resurfacing the track is nothing in comparison to the liability of a child getting hurt on that track, should something occur because it wasn't taken care of,” said Rossi.
Sandy Slavin, the chair of CPC, said that although the original request was for $500,000, the committee approved a lesser request due to concerns about maintenance.
“In 2006, this body approved 235K to redo the track,” Slavin said. “We were disappointed that it hadn’t been maintained as it should have been, which is why we didn't give them a full replacement.”
However, some changes to protect the new track have been made. Slavin said that a security camera is being installed to protect against vandalism and encouraged the schools to better maintain current facilities.