By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Winthrop has proven once again that investment made in the community is certainly worth it! On Tuesday, voters went to the polls and approved a $9.8 million debt-exclusion override to fund the replacement of Miller Field and associated drainage issues with Lewis Lake. The vote was 1,807 yes, and 949 no. There were 12,066 eligible voters for this vote.
Councilor Nick DelVento said it best when he said that 10 years ago Winthrop was struggling. The town had yet to pass an override to build the new high school/middle school. The town was also not in the financial shape it is today.
â€œWhat a change from 10 years ago,â€ DelVento said after the town council meeting Tuesday night, when news was given by an outside auditor that the town was in solid financial shape. â€œI think if you look at the Town now, weâ€™re looking really good.â€
The cost to the average homeowner would be an additional $130-$155 per year. The project will include:
â€¢ State-of-the-art regulation track and synthetic turf field with a life expectancy of 10-12 years and the capability of the town to host sporting events
â€¢ New bleacher system with a visitor seating for 500 and home seating for 750, the opposing sides allowing for easier crowd control
â€¢ Modern energy efficient lighting system, appropriate for multiple uses
â€¢ Upgraded track and field drainage, which provides health benefits for the community
â€¢ New fencing for security and crowd control
â€¢ An enhanced scoreboard and sound system
â€¢ Home and visitor locker rooms and public bathrooms
â€¢ Concession stand and large storage area with garage entrance for field equipment
â€¢ A new field house, built by the vocational school, saving over $500,000 in taxpayer dollars
The revitalized field would mirror the footprint of the current field and would be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), compliant, allowing for easier access and egress in the event of emergencies.
Officials have capped spending for the project at $9.8 million. The town was also given $2.5 million last week from MassPort to set up a trust. The trust, when it is set up, will be able to give money to support programs and projects that benefit Winthrop and to mitigate impacts of its proximity to the Logan airport in the following areas:
Environmental, Socioeconomic, Local business and economic development which relate to the Airport functions and needs and Improvement of athletic facilities that serve youth of the Town of Winthrop.
â€œThis is great news for the town and the (voting) numbers indicate overwhelming participation to move forward with a sports complex,â€ said Town Council President Robert Driscoll Jr.
Jim Fabiano, who worked hard with Winthrop is Worth It, thanked the citizens of Winthrop for their investment in the community.
â€œThis is a win for the grandparents, parents and most importantly the kids,â€ Fabiano said as a group gathered at JWâ€™s Tuesday night.
â€œI am proud of the people in Winthrop who cam out for the future of the children,â€ said Councilor Phil Boncore. â€œNow the children will have a place to be proud of when they are playing other communities.â€
â€œNow we will have a sports complex that will compliment the new Winthrop High School,â€ said Councilor Russ Sanford.
The results of the vote were processed quickly and out by 8:20 p.m. Town Clerk Carla Vitale said the speedy results came from the 60 people who helped with the polls.
â€œWeâ€™ve had four elections in four months with days for workers beginning at 6:30 a.m. and going until 8:30 p.m. for minimum wage,â€ Vitale said. â€œI have a wonderful staff.â€