By Kate Anslinger
Residents had an opportunity Monday night at the Point Shirley Association Hall to gather information about plans for the Miller Field revitalization project.
“Winthrop’s Worth It” chairman, James Fabiano, was front and center at the meeting, doling out details involved in the $9.8 million debt-exclusion override which will be voted on this Tuesday, June 21.
The proposed project for the new athletic complex would start immediately if the override is passed. In determining how the town would pay for the project, the town council did cap the override amount at $9.8 million. The town would seek to take out a 15-year bond instead of a 25-year bond, saving interest funds.
The cost also includes extensive drainage work to Lewis Lake and the area.
The cost to the average homeowner would be an additional $130-$155 per year. The project will include:
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
New bleacher system with a visitor seating for 500 and home seating for 750, the opposing sides allowing for easier crowd control
Modern energy efficient lighting system, appropriate for multiple uses
Upgraded track and field drainage, which provides health benefits for the community
New fencing for security and crowd control
An enhanced scoreboard and sound system
Home and visitor locker rooms and public bathrooms
Concession stand and large storage area with garage entrance for field equipment
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.
“Don’t people who are disabled deserve this,” said Viking Pride board member Carolyn Gagnon. “How can we deny them an opportunity to participate in these activities? That alone is enough for me to go out and vote yes. Everybody in our community deserves this.”
As far as the maintenance of the field, the Department of Public Works will be responsible for tending to the upkeep and has committed to learning the new software that alerts workers when a scheduled task is due to be completed. The new software is currently being used by the Arthur T. Cummings and Fort Banks schools and has already proved to be successful.
“We have seen a significant improvement of maintenance in both ATC and Fort Banks, since we’ve been using the software,” said Viking Pride Chairman Vincent Crossman, who has been present during the field design meetings.
“If we don’t do this now, we will be stuck with this forever,” said Town Community Development and Project Manager, Tanji Cifuni. “It’s the focal point of town and the one thing that will draw people here. Having a new field will be the frosting on the cake.”
In addition to the pride that the community would gain from the upgrade, the potential for renting out the field while not in use, would be a revenue generator and would drive more outsiders into the town. The increase in foot traffic could raise value across the board.
“The committees that put this together are tremendous,” said Former Town Council President, Peter Gill, at the close of the meeting. “They spent many hours and decisions and we need to commend them for doing a phenomenal job.”
Voting will be held on Tuesday, June 21. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Polling places are: Precincts 1-2-5 -Winthrop HS Gymnasium
Precinct 3- Senior Center
Precinct 4-O’Connell Hall (Golden Drive)
Precinct 6 – Senior Center