By Kate Anslinger
After a deep discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting, the Town Council voted in favor of holding a Special Local Election regarding the Miller Field /Lewis Lake Project. The election, which will be held on June 21, 2016 will give residents the option to vote on the project. If it receives voter approval, the project will include tide gate improvements, lake dredging and expansion, and additional storm water storage within the drainage area of Lewis Lake, and further including the demolition and removal of existing facilities at Miller Field and the design engineering, permitting, construction, furnishing and equipping of a new track and field and related facilities at Miller Field.
Residents and town representatives came out to express their opinions regarding Miller Field, most of who were in agreement of the Special Election. Several strong voices stood up to present the reasons of why going forward with reconstructing Miller Field should be on an upcoming ballot sooner rather than later. Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Steve Calla confirmed that the Miller Field/Lewis Lake project design was already 95% complete. “Permitting is also complete,” said Calla. “All we need now is the people’s vote.” Town Council President Driscoll voiced his concern over the timing of the project and wanted to be sure that good communication regarding taxes and the finance aspect of the project would be put in place to let the residents know. “We need to be sensitive to the taxpayers,” said Driscoll. There was also concern over the jurisdiction of maintenance and if there would be costs in adding maintenance workers to support the cleaning and upkeep of the new field. If the town moves forward with the project, the new field will have the capability of being home to sporting events, which in turn has the potential of bringing money in. “It’s important that we move forward with Miller Field,” said School Committee Chair Dawn Sullivan. “The school committee is making a commitment to the town to work collaboratively on the project, maintenance and planning that needs to be done. We want to work together as a team.”
Over the next couple of weeks, the council will meet to discuss the financing of the project to solidify numbers prior to the election. It’s no doubt that Winthrop residents have pride in their community. “For 26 years I’ve been a coach. I’ve been here a long time,” said Frankie Fabiano. “Kids need this…they need a new field. Let’s get this done.”