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Residents Question Funding for Recreational Master Plan

During Upton's May 3 Annual Town Meeting, several residents questioned the town spending approximately $35,000 for a recreational master plan. Article 12D on the warrant was seeking $17,500 from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to pay for half the costs of the plan. The article ultimately passed but not without some debate.

According to Recreation Director Andrew St. George, the plan will be reviewing all the recreational facilities in town, including ADA compliance issues at Kiwanis Beach. It addition,

it will determine the overall needs of the town in terms of field use as well as developing new recreational programs.

Still, some residents question spending the funding when the town's overall master plan needs are outdated. "We're going to spend $35,000 on a recreational master plan when our own master plan is 13 years out of date, so we're looking at a smaller picture," stated Lynn Haggerty.

DonnaMarie Floyd stated the town has spent $545,000 on Kiwanis Beach since 2010 noting there are still a number of problems there. "Are we just kicking the can down the road saving ourselves a year instead of spending the time to come up with a new master plan for the whole town?"

Recreation Commission Chair Richard Gazoorian explained in order to qualify for grant funding to help with recreational projects, the town must have the recreational master plan

in place. "This is imperative we do this," he said. "It's not frivolous by any way, shape, or form and it's important that we pass this," he said. He agreed the town master plan does need to

be updated but explained that a plan specifically geared toward the town's recreation needs would provide a much more in-depth analysis and provide more comprehensive details on ADA compliance.

Concerning planning for the

town, Town Manager Derek Brindisi explained that the Selectmen just executed a contract for a $30,000 grant to work with the Central Massachusetts Reginal Planning Commission to complete an economic development plan for the community. He added that should residents accept a large piece of land donated from Harvey Trask, which was on the warrant that evening, that land will also be part of the recreation master plan. The article was eventually passed by a majority vote.

There were several other CPA articles on the warrant that also passed, including Article 12C which will utilize $6,000 for the purchase and installation of four granite posts for plaques to be attached that will mark the sties of the four original public schools in Upton.

Article 12A and 12B placed funding into the CPA accounts. Article 12A placed $12,704 into each of the Historic Resources, Open Space, and Community Housing accounts. And Article 12 placed $15,000 into the Administrative Expense account.


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