Artificial turf athletic fields may be coming to Stonington as early as next year. At a joint meeting of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance the presented four options for the fields.
The Boards of Finance and Selectmen didn’t make any decisions on what if any option to recommend sending to a town meeting and then referendum, but the option that appeared the most popular includes transforming Donald E. Palmer Field at into an artificial turf field and then repairing the softball, boys soccer, field hockey and the all-purpose fields.
“Building one or more synthetic turf fields would fill the needs of the town quickly,” Athletic Fields Task Force Chairman Paul Sartor said.
The plan which Sartor called option three would cost about $2.5 million that Stonington residents would need to approve to bond during a referendum vote that could happen as early as October 17.
Sartor said that in coming up with their recommendations the looked at the condition of the fields, their uses and needs and also looked at the tennis and basketball courts.
The first option the Athletic Fields Task Force presented was the doing nothing option, the second option was repairing the softball, boys soccer, field hockey, football and all-purpose fields for about $1.2 million. The fourth option would build two artificial turf fields and repair the other fields for a cost of about $4.5 million.
According to Sartor if built an artificial turf field would last for about 10 to 15 years. If the town decides to stay with grass fields Sartor said the town would need about four or five new fields to play on due to the volume of use. One of the main problems with that Sartor said is that the town doesn’t have the land for four or five new fields.
“Most people would rather play on natural grass if they could, but one of the advantages is during the winter time the turf is always soft,” Sartor said.
Before sending the measure to a town meeting and referendum the Board of Finance wanted the town, task force and schools to come up with a plan to manage the fields.
Board of Finance Chairman Glenn Frishman said he wanted to make sure if the taxpayers voted to bond money for the fields that their investment was protected.
First Selectman Edward Haberek Jr., said he would work with the Board of Finance, Athletic Fields Task Force, and school administration to outline how the fields would be overseen and maintained.
“The committee worked great together, they’re a great group of people,” Sartor said.
The Board of Finance plans to meet again on the fields on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
At the meeting the Board of Finance also voted to appoint June Strunk to the board to fill the .