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Bath to celebrate completion of artificial turf field

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Bath to celebrate completion of artificial turf field

BATH — After several years of fundraising and a few obstacles along the way, an artificial turf field at the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex is complete.

The field will be celebrated Friday, Sept. 13, with a chance for people to explore it at 4:30 p.m. A football game – this season's home opener for Morse High School – kicks off at 7 p.m., and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will occur at half-time.

The Fields for Our Future group, co-chaired by Lu Lozano and Kay Beveridge, raised funds over six years and during tough economic times to build the $562,000 field. Construction began June 10, with Harry C. Crooker & Sons first removing material on the existing field and installing the drainage and base for the turf. Northeast Turf then put down the playing surface.

The field was completed July 31.

"It's fantastic," Lozano said last week. "The process of construction was great. The team, the two vendors, the city – everything just worked out great. ... We got a really good field."

The club soccer team Lozano coaches played the first game on the field on Aug. 17; Lozano called it an honor.

 "After 6 1/2 years of fundraising, the last couple of months went really fast," he said. "So now we're looking ahead towards other endeavors. We're still a charitable corporation that is going to continue to find more ways to help improve our athletic facilities."

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 then 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, to be earned from field rentals and other McMann Field income, is earmarked for that account.

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