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Upton Rec Commission Seeking South St. Land for Fields

If all goes as planned, the Upton Recreation Commission will be bringing a $675,000 purchase before voters during an April 3 Special Town Meeting. The Commission is hoping to purchase 67-acres of land on South St. in order to eventually develop much needed recreation fields for the town. The funding to purchase the land would come from Community Preservation Act funding if members of the Community Preservation Committee approve it.

During a February 14 Board of Selectmen's meeting, members of the Recreation Commission spoke with the Board to discuss the possible article on the warrant.

Proponents of the project state the land is part of the flood plain making it ideal for recreation fields. The 67-acres will allow for multiple fields to be developed as well as significant parking.

The Board and the Commission made it clear that the $675,000 would be for the land purchase only and that additional monies would be needed to develop the fields. According to Commission Chair Richard Gazoorian, the Commission is looking into fundraising and grants to help construct the fields. Still, all agreed the first step to the project was to acquire the land. "Without the land, we can't go anywhere," said Selectman Robert Fleming.

A public hearing has been scheduled for March 7 to hear residents concerns' about the project and to answer questions. One such concern routinely heard was traffic flow in the area. The Commission plans to develop a Fact Sheet regarding the project in an effort to educate residents in more detail. In addition, the Commission may develop a PowerPoint presentation to be given prior to the vote at the Special Town Meeting.

Selectman Ken Picard added that even if the purchase goes through, the fields will be developed as the town can afford them, which will hopefully help neighboring residents with the transition.

Selectman James Brochu, who works at Blackstone Valley Tech., stated local organizations are continually requesting use of the school's field but that school officials are unable to accommodate their needs because of BVT's own needs to use the. "The fields at the schools are grossly over used," said Gazoorian.

Recreation Director Mary Cortese stated there were more than 2,000 children taking part in youth programs. "That was the population of the town when I moved in," said Fleming.

If CPA funding is used to buy the land, a conservation restriction will be placed on the fields.

Besides recreational fields for youth and adult leagues, the land will be developed for passive recreational activities too, such as hiking. "This is going to make a significant impact on this town for decades to come," said Gazoorian.


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