Yarmouth council to vote on $1.5 million turf field proposal

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YARMOUTH — The Yarmouth High School athletic field could be nearing its final year after more than a decade of heavy use.

On Thursday, town councilors will vote on the $1.5 million proposal for a new turf field, and if approved, will move to the Nov. 6 ballot.

The current field, built in 2001, has been well used by myriad of groups from football and lacrosse teams to senior sports and community field hockey camps. It is now two years past its life expectancy and has had so much use that the turf has worn down to a point where it is in danger of becoming a safety concern, said Marcia Noyes, community services director for the town.

“We’ve had studies done on the field and it is still within safe limits,” she said.  “I don’t feel it’s unsafe to the point of causing injuries, but it’s certainly showing its 12-year use and wear.”

The new field proposal includes installing a brock pad to help with additional shock absorption, which would help prevent concussions and other injuries.

Noyes said community services has done it’s usual preseason line painting and maintenance on the field and it is in as good condition as it can be for fall sports. 

In addition to new turf, the proposal calls for the gravel and stone layers underneath to be re-graded and for additional drainage to be installed while the subsurface is exposed.

If approved by voters, the construction of the project would likely begin before the summer of 2013 and be completed in advance of the fall sports season.

“The plan is to put it out to a bid in March and start construction as soon as the high school teams are free,” Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

Summer play would be lost, but construction should only take a few weeks, he said.

In the interim, community groups will need to find a different facility or field while the new turf is being put in, Noyes said, but she was unsure where they would go.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said.

The project was pared down to the essentials to save on cost, according to a presentation by the consulting firm Activitas at a July workshop. The current proposal left out amenities such as concession stands, restrooms, additional bleacher seating, team locker rooms and a new lighting system.

The vote will be held at the town council meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 16, in the American Legion Log Cabin, 196 Main St.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.