Construction of Bath turf field underway

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BATH — An artificial turf field at the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.

Fields for Our Future, a community group that has been raising money for the project, has raised the $562,000 necessary to build the field but is still fundraising for other related expenses; its ultimate goal is $580,000.

“Our obligation with the city is that our group is covering all the costs,” Lu Lozano, who co-chairs Fields for Our Future with Kay Beveridge, said last week. “So our contracts, with the contractors, we have covered.”

Construction began June 10. Harry C. Crooker & Sons is removing material on the existing field and installing the drainage and base for the turf. Northeast Turf will lay the turf material.

Seeing the project finally taking shape prompted Lozano to recall a day in December 2006.

“A little exploratory group (of us) sat around a table in the library at Morse (High School) and (said), ‘here’s a good idea,'” he recalled with a chuckle. “And it certainly is.”

The City Council voted in April to have the field built. Three years earlier, Fields for Our Future raised $270,000 before approaching the council about borrowing the remaining funds. The council voted 5-4 in February 2010 to borrow up to $300,000 for the project, but a successful petition drive sent the matter to a referendum, where voters defeated the borrowing proposal in June 2010.

The council opted in September 2010 to support the turf installation, as long as there was no request for or appropriation of tax revenue. Councilors established a reserve enterprise fund, meant to provide funds for future replacement of the field when it reaches “the end of its useful life.”

Annual revenue of $35,000, earned from field rentals and other McMann Field income, is earmarked for that account.

Fundraising was difficult at times, in particular with the recent economic slump.

“A lot of doors that we saw as opening up for us clamped shut as everybody tightened their belts,” Lozano said. “But … the core team, Kay Beveridge in particular … carried the day. It’s about people, it’s about community. … The community support’s been great.”

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Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Construction of an artificial turf field at the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex in Bath is underway, with completion expected by the end of July.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.