$1.5M bond for turf field placed on Yarmouth ballot

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YARMOUTH — A $1.5 million bond for a new turf field at Yarmouth High School will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The existing field, which cost the town $1.3 million 12 years ago, is showing signs of significant wear. Although it is still within the area of safe play, town officials said, it could become a safety concern if the field is not replaced. 

The new field proposal, approved by the Town Council on Aug. 16, includes new turf and additional shock absorption, as well as a new drainage system. To save on costs, the proposal excludes a concession stand, team locker rooms, painting the high school logo at mid-field, additional bleachers and a new lighting system.

If the new field is approved by voters, the town will be paying for both fields for at least two years.

The town still owes about $350,000 for the existing field, which is scheduled to be paid off by 2016. Payments on the new field would be deferred until 2015. The field would ideally be paid for by 2022, according to town estimates. 

Construction of the new field would likely not begin until next summer, and is not expected to take more than a few weeks.

In addition to the field, the council accepted a Department of Justice grant that essentially adds a new officer to the Police Department.

The $125,000 grant is spread over three years, with a fourth year required to be paid by the town. The town’s share of the personnel cost would also progressively increase every year.

In 2010, Yarmouth police reported five violent crimes and 91 property crimes, according the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Yarmouth crime rates have remained relatively steady for the last five years, with an average of four violent crimes and an average of 92 property crimes.

The council also voted to approve spending $15,000 on Yarmouth’s share of a $45,000 regional natural gas study in coordination with Cumberland and Falmouth.

A natural gas pipeline already runs through the western part of Cumberland, but a substation would have to be built to distribute the gas to the three towns. The cost of the station would be about $1.5 million and new gas distribution piping into the towns would cost about $350,000 per mile to build. The total estimated project cost is $7.8 million.

Acting Fire Chief Michael Robitaille’s appointment to become the permanent fire-rescue chief was also confirmed by the council.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.