The Charlestown turf field has gotten major repairs over the past few weeks, a Boston Parks Department spokesman told the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC), on Tuesday night, but a full replacement of the 12-year-old field is likely years away.
Marchelle Jacques-Yarde of Boston Parks appeared at the CNC to update the community on the status of the field, which has developed serious problems over the past year in regard to safety and viability. Several community members have begun to speak out from the lacrosse, soccer and football programs in Town, and Yarde said it was that advocacy that brought resources to repair the field over the past two weeks.
“Part of this effort was because of your advocacy and it was brought to the table because of that,” she said. “We only have 15 turf fields in the city and more than 300 parcels, so if there isn’t advocacy and a line item, the resources can often go to the natural turf areas and these turf fields can be forgotten.”
She said that there was a study done on the safety of the field, and it was determined that the field was safe for shock absorption and should not contribute to player injury.
However, she said it was evident that some repairs needed to be made.
Starting the day before Thanksgiving, a contractor began working on refurbishing the field.
They sanitized and replaced the infill, which are the little rubber tire pellets that are in the field. They also fixed divots, restitched all of the seams, re-secured the anchoring system to prevent uplift at the edges and cleared up the drainage system.
The softball/soccer side, she said, has not yet been done, but is in the works.
“We are in a comfortable place to say now you have a safe field,” she said. “They have returned it to a safe condition for the time being to tie us over until you can get it into the Capital Investment plan. It is on our radar now.”
The likelihood of getting the field completely replaced is at least three years away, with two years to get it into the Capital plan and one year to prepare and design it.
Reid Catlin of Charlestown Lacrosse said the field does need to be replaced.
“That turf is now 12 years old and it’s on its last fumes,” he said. “I liken it to owning a care and we’re at the place where it keeps breaking down and we’re throwing money at it to fix it. At some point relatively soon, we need to re-do it and it will last another 12 years.”
Yarde said it is incumbent upon the youth leagues, residents and field users to advocate to Councilor Lydia Edwards and other city councilors for getting the field into the Capital Plan.