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Dracut’s $4.4M Athletic Complex Gets Green Light

Feb 27, 2019 05:18AM ● By Lisa Redmond

DRACUT – The Dracut Community Preservation Commission has approved $4.4 million in funding to construct a state-of-the-art athletic complex at Dracut Memorial High School, as well as correct drainage issues and replace the Spray N Play at Veterans Memorial Park, Town Manager James Duggan announced.

“The CPC took up the most pivotal recreational projects this community has ever seen,’’ Duggan told the selectmen at a recent meeting. In a unanimous vote the CPC approved the funds, he said.

The Board of Selectmen and School Committee have agreed to partner in a program to replace the existing Beaudry Field at the high school turning it into a state-of-the-art athletic complex with two multi-purpose athletic fields and synthetic surface.

As part of the project, the Veterans Memorial Park, which has long suffered with “horrific’’ drainage issues turning it into a seasonal mud pit, will have its draining issues corrected and a new Spray N Play installed, Duggan told the Board of Selectmen.

This is a collaborative town and school project, Duggan said. While the high school will have priority in using the new athletic stadium, town athletic programs will be able to use the fields. Fixing Veterans Park is important because the town athletic programs held there often provide the athletes for the high school teams.

The cost for the high-school athletic fields is estimated at $2.5 million, of which $2.2 million is eligible for state reimbursement. The cost estimate for Veterans Park is estimated at $1.5 million for drainage repairs and a new Spray N Play.

The cost of installation and maintenance of the synthetic turf will have to be managed by the town. Artificial turf has a life expectancy of about 10 years and costs about $300,000 to replace.

Town Meeting must still approve the funds. During construction, people must be “creative, patient and supportive’’ in scheduling games next school year, Duggan said. Veterans Park will likely be closed for two years until construction is completed, he said.

The CPC’s goal is to preserve open space, public recreation, preserve historical sites and buildings, and assist with affordable housing projects. Under the Community Preservation Act, Dracut’s Community Preservation Commission receives preservation funds through a 2 percent surcharge on local property tax.

Last spring, the school department began a formal study of the possibility of renovating the athletic stadium at the high school. Huntress Associates Inc., a leader in sports facility development, was retained by the district to develop a master plan that could act as a roadmap for the community to consider.

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