Photo:The proposed project at Town Field
After being pushed aside for other projects and delayed by a worldwide pandemic, Monday night, Aug. 15, was Town Field’s time in the spotlight as the Belmont Select Board voted unanimously to approve a bid to begin construction on the renovation of the Field’s playground and courts at the intersection of Beech and Waverley streets.
“We are anxious and excited to say goodbye to our current Town Field Playground, and hello to the new one in the spring,” said Cortney Eldridge, co-chair of the Friends of Town Field.
And the project – which was first proposed by neighbors in 2016 and brought before the Community Preservation Committee in the fall of 2019 – is coming in at a bargain. Approved for $1,049,033 by Town Meeting vote in May, the town selected the low bid of $870,000 from M.J. Cataldo of Littleton, a potential $179,000 savings which will be returned to the CPC coffers.
Cataldo submitted the low bid of eight submitted with half exceeding the town’s price tag. Waterfield Design Group, the project’s design and landscape team, gave a thumbs up to Cataldo’s past work with the Winchester firm.
According to Jay Marcotte, director of the town’s Department of Public Works, the schedule calls for a start date in September with a completion of the job in June of next year. The project will begin with the demolition of the existing playground and court and the removal of the old and outdated playground equipment and relacing with modern and more accessible equipment. There will be four pickleball courts and a renovated basketball court.
It’s been a long and winding journey for what has been a popular proposal that joins several CPC-funded projects at the town’s playing fields. After receiving an initial $680,624 in 2020, competing CPC and town priorities and Covid-19 delays forced the proposal to the sidelines for two years. In that time, construction costs skyrocketed forcing the proposal to return to Town Meeting in 2022 for an additional request of $343,409.
Eldridge said she and the Friends group hopes Monday’s vote will be final big challenge before the opening of the new playground and courts.
“This was one of the last hurdles we needed to pass, and I am really hoping it’s smooth sailing from here on out,” she said.