Mayor Martin Walsh has chosen to announce his new four-year Capital Budget on Bunker Hill Street next Tuesday, April 23, and among several high-ticket items for the Town will be a $3 million replacement of the Charlestown High Turf Field – one of the most heavily-used fields in the City.
The Capital Budget 2020-2024 was released quietly on Wednesday morning despite the official announcement at the BHA Building on Bunker Hill Street next week. Within that plan was an unexpected expenditure of $3 million for the turf field, which has garnered a great deal of discussion within the last year due to the deteriorating nature of the 13-year-old field. Many called for it to be replaced late last year when holes appeared, and it was “bunching” up in numerous places – not to mention the constant battle against wayward rubber pellets.
Last fall, the City did make repairs to the field, but Parks Department officials said the Town needed to fight to get the field in the Capital Budget.
It appears that fight was won.
The Charlestown High field was one of four turf fields citywide to be put on a high-priority replacement program – each at a cost of about $3 million.
“I want to thank the Mayor’s Office and the Parks Department for prioritizing the investment in the field turf at Charlestown High,” said State Rep. Dan Ryan. “These turf fields allow for maximum use of the facility. The upfront replacement costs pay for themselves in terms of usage and less daily maintenance.”
Councilor Lydia Edwards said she was encouraged that open space was a priority in Charlestown.
“I am excited to see investment in our open space,” she said.
While getting in the Capital Budget is step one, it doesn’t necessarily mean that work crews will be dispatched to the field tomorrow. Rather, it means that the project is identified, and money has been set aside for it. The date of the actual construction could be as far out as 2024.
The turf field wasn’t the only goodie included in the Capital Plan.
•A total of $1 million was set aside for the complete re-design of Ryan Playground, including design services for new ballfields, new playgrounds, new basketball courts, better parking facilities, an improved HarborWalk, improved lighting and a coastal resiliency plan. Meetings for that major undertaking will likely be scheduled some time later this year.
Rep. Ryan said he looks forward to those visioning meetings in the coming months as this major project gets off the ground.
“The Ryan Playground is truly a jewel along the Mystic River,” he said. “Generations of Charlestown kids have learned to appreciate ‘America’s Pastime’ down there. I look forward to the opportunity for visioning that space to maximize its use for generations to come.”
•The Warren-Prescott School was one of four schools citywide to receive funding in the Capital Budget for improved fire alarm systems and electrical work. The Warren-Prescott and three other schools will have $2.564 million to use to improve Fire Alarm systems, and they will also have $3.091 million to improve electrical systems.
•Another new project now in the Budget is re-design and rehabilitation of the Cambridge Street Bridge. The $2.75 million project is currently in design and will involve rehabilitating and repairing it.
•Other projects in the Budget, but previously known include the Engine 50 Fire Station renovation, which is nearly complete; and the Edwards/Eden/McCarthy Park on Main Street that has a final design and should be in construction very soon. Additionally, $81 million Alford Street Bridge rehabilitation has also been included, though that project has almost ended now.