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Field Proposal/Debt Exclusion Pulled From Town Meeting Warrant

FOTCAC President says group will focus its efforts on grants, private donations and corporate sponsorships.

Brian Dick and the other board members of the heard the message sent by Tewksbury residents on Saturday.

It stung, to be sure. But Dick says the message came through loud and clear.

to pay for an expanded athletic facility, the matching article is being pulled from the upcoming Annual Town Meeting Warrant.

"I'm not going to get up before the voters at Town Meeting with this or with any piece of this (proposal)," said Dick, a member of the Tewksbury School Committee and president of the FOTCAC.

Dick said that rather than try to get a pared down version of the field plan passed at Town Meeting, FOTCAC would focus its attention on grant applications, private fundraising and the pursuit of corporate sponsorships.

The athletic complex presently planned for the new high school will feature a grass field, a running track, concession stands, restrooms and seating for 500 fans.

The expanded plan would have included a scoreboard, at least 500 more seats, a multi-sport artificial turf field, a five-court tennis facility and lighting. Voters defeated the measure at Saturday's municipal election by a 2-1 margin.

"Yeah, it's definitely (difficult)," Dick said of the defeat. "It's something you put your whole self into. A lot of us spent almost two years on this."

Dick is steadfast that the expanded field plan is essential for Tewksbury, as it moves forward as a community.

"We're getting a 21st century high school and the field just isn't what it needs to be," he said. "It's not the 'Friends' that lost on Saturday or the seniors. It's the kids of Tewksbury that lost out, in my eyes."

Dick said the biggest challenge will be that the longer it takes to get the expanded field built, the higher the price tag will be. Part of that is due to increased cost for materials and part is due to the fact that if an artificial turf field after the complex is already completed, the track would need to be torn up and rebuild over the turf.

 

Bruce Panilaitis April 19, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Can we all stop with the insults. I agree 100% that we need to ALSO fund the arts in our schools at a higher level, but calling your fellow citizens "small-minded" is not likely to convince of the merits of your argument. Bill, have you ever considered requiring people to put their real names on these posts so that we don't have anonymous mud-slinging going on?
Tewksbury2001 April 20, 2012 at 12:12 AM
What do you propose as a solution?
Jim Wentworth April 20, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Are you really posting under the name of Simon Cowell?
Jim Wentworth April 20, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Billvill, Thanks for your note. With all of the work that the FTCAC has been doing with private organizations, grants, etc...the money would be coming in eventually. But it takes time and the construction of the new high school was the main driver in terns of timing. It's a moot point but if the question had passed during the ballot and also at town meeting, any monies generated through grants and additional private donations would have been targeted to pay off the bond that was just voted down. This would have enabled our residents to pay off this bond in less than 10 years. It's done now though and I absolutely respect the FTCAC's decision to pull the article from Town Meeting. Jim Wentworth
bk April 20, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Bruce P., You are correct about the need for the Tennis courts in the HS campus. Like you, I tried convincing people of this big *ALSO* factor. Just because we have problems in one area(arts, MCAS score etc) does not merit shooting some thing (athletic facility or at list Tennis courts) down that would make our community attractive. Sure we have other problems and shooting down this vote is "no guarantee" that those things would be fixed. We need both. It would be as ludicrous to shoot down the arts/music proposal because there is no athletic facility. -BK

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