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Upton Selectmen Hear Initial Review of Master Recreation Plan

Upton Recreation Director Andrew St. George and Commission members Debra Amorelli and Richard Porter attended the August 20 Board of Selectmen's meeting to present an initial review of the Recreation Master Plan for the town.

Prior to the discussion, Selectman Brett Simas stated the Recreation Commission was not there to request money that evening and explained the purpose of a Master Plan.

"It's a process that creates a vision, it creates a roadmap, it creates a sense of ideas and opportunities and potential proposals," said Simas. "A Master Plan in and of itself isn't even a proposal. It's simply a body of research that aggregated data is put together to look at opportunities and all the possibilities we have in terms of development."

According to St. George, the driving force for the Recreation Master Plan is a combination of ADA compliance projects coupled with the recent donation of the Trask Property.

During several public meetings with the Recreation Commission, attendees identified

a number of projects they'd like to see come to fruition which included, a Cal Ripken, full size rectangular field with lighting for various uses; sufficient parking at any new facilities; larger baseball/softball fields; regulation tennis courts; passive areas near active recreation areas for spectators; additional playgrounds; more walking trails; a seasonal, outdoor hockey/ice rink; and full ADA accessibility at all facilities.

St. George explained the town would not be moving forward with the initiatives all at once. "We're looking at a phased approach to this," he said, adding that some projects will be put on hold indefinitely.

This first phase, he explained, would be to reconfigure the Leland Baseball Field and basketball courts to allow for a full-size field and upgrades. "The courts are in pretty bad shape right now and in need of some significant work," said St. George.

This could happen by either moving the location of the baseball diamond to allow the courts to stay in place and then renovate the courts or leave the baseball diamond in its current location, enlarge it, and move the courts to the opposite side of the field. The final decision would be determined based on engineer designs and costs.

Another initiative in the first phase is basic ADA accessibility upgrades at Kiwanis Beach and Leland Field.

The second phase of the Master Plan includes building a new, fully compliant Kiwanis facility in a more accessible location that would allow for year-round recreation, including after school programs. A playground area would be built near the new facility and a redesigned parking area would be part of the second phase too.

The third phase involves developing the donated Trask property to address field shortages.

In order to help defray costs, St. George hopes the DPW can assist with projects and the Commission will be applying for grants and approaching the Community Preservation Commission to utilize CPA funding.

The next step in moving forward is for the Commission to finalize costs and plans and then approach the Finance Committee, Capital Budget Committee, and ultimately residents.


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