Parks, Planning Board Discuss Options and Process for New Playing Fields at Cow Pond
Jon Strauss, Vice-chairman of Parks Dept., asked Planning Board for a letter of support to Community Preservation Committee for a proposal to create badly-needed playing fields on a large parcel of town-owned land that is located just past the town's transfer station. Strauss advised that he had walked the property with Dept. of Public Works Director Tom Delaney, and it would support three additional playing fields, saying, "It is big enough to allow for expansion and to alleviate parking at Cow Pond Brook."
According to Strauss, Groton-Dunstable Association, a coalition of use groups, contracted with engineer Stan Dillis to begin plans for the fields and talk to Natural Habitat even though the fields are 1000 feet from Cow Pond Brook. Dillis said that there are no wetlands in the area where the fields would be located. Each field would be about two acres.
Strauss pointed out that the site interfaces with a number of existing trails. He added that having sports fields in that location does not require a lot of infrastructure, possibly a couple of wells and some port-a-potties.
Planner Russ Burke asked about an overpass on the site that is one vehicle wide and how it could accommodate 100 parking spaces and three fields.
Strauss said that the overpass was already earmarked for removal by DPW, and Dillis added that a 20-foot wide gravel bed would be installed that would accommodate two cars traveling in opposite directions.
Burke said that Planning Board would want to see a plan that would be part of a Site Plan. Soccer has 1000 kids, Lacrosse and baseball more than 400 each. The group uses the private school fields and entire girls teams are off town fields completely.
Strauss asked exactly "what the Planning Board would like to see from us. We will be able to invest in town-owned property and to use this for access to trails that we've already invested in."
Chairman John Giger advised, "100 parking spaces triggers a Level 2 Site Plan requirement. This is the starting point for you. There are lots of issues on this land that is heavily used by ATVs and four-wheelers, and we need to know how you plan to protect those fields, especially since the area is not observed daily by people." Strauss replied that the fields would be fenced.
Giger also asked about the status of the Groton Police Dept. firing range. Strauss told him that they had also walked the site with Chief Donald Palma and his department is looking for federal funds to establish a firing range. Giger cautioned that safety of the area will need to be taken into account.
Strauss and Groton Dunstable Association will return to the Board with additional information and to address their questions.