.

Abutters Voice Concerns About Proposed Tewksbury High Athletics Complex

Increased traffic, noise and lighting issues are among area residents' concerns.

Approximately two dozen residents from the neighborhoods surrounding Tewksbury High School turned out at Town Hall Thursday night to voice concerns over the proposed enhancements to the athletic facilities slated to be built as part of the

The current construction plans call for a natural grass athletic field with no lights and seating for 500 spectators to be built. But the recently created Friends of Tewksbury Community Athletics Complex (FTCAC) has sought approval from the board of selectmen and the school committee to raise private funds which would be used to enhance the proposed athletic complex.

The new plan also includes the construction of five tennis courts on the high school campus.

The project would cost an estimated $2.2 million and would be funded entirely by grants and corporate or private donations.

FTCAC's public presentation of its plan was attended primarily by town officials, FTCAC committee members and neighborhood residents opposed to the enhanced athletic complex.

Several residents voiced concerns that the lighted fields would be in use late into the evening, and that the field lights and sound system would be a neighborhood intrusion.

"You're going to be welcoming more events with increased noise and increased traffic," said Carlos Amaral, a resident of Ferncroft Road. "How are you addressing the concerns of the abuttters? I think what you're proposing to do would be more appropriate at Livingston Street (park) where there are fewer neighbors. It's definitely the wrong place to do this."

Scott Boyages,  a resident of Henry J Drive, complained that construction crews working on the current high school building project have already cut down hundreds of trees that used to serve as a buffer zone between his neighborhood and the high school.

"Why did they cut down all those trees, and what's this going to do to our property values? That's my concern," Boyages said.

Michael Giuggio, also a Henry J drive resident, asked the FTCAC committee to consider writing guidelines into its charter that would limit the hours during which the field lights and sound system could be used. Giuggio was among several residents who voiced concerns over intrusive noise levels from the complex's public address system.

"Whether it's a sound proof wall or more trees, they have to do something," Giuggio said. "Something like they build along the highway for highway traffic."

 School committee member Brian Dick, who serves as FTCAC's chairperson, assured the abutters that "the town and the school committee will be working together to come up with ground rules" for the athletic complex that will address the residents' concerns.

FTCAC treasurer and spokesman Paul Hibner also promised residents that the committee would work to establish reasonable time limits for the lighted field's usage, and that FTCAC would work with its project architects to reduce noise levels and intrusion from field lighting.

"The technology of focusing light has grown immensely over the last couple years," Hibner said. "They are able to focus the lighting directly on the field now."

FTCAC's proposal calls for the entire $2.2 million cost of the project to be underwritten without the use of any funding from the Town of Tewksbury. The group is presently applying for grants and seeking corporate and individual donations to raise the money, but has raised "only a few thousand dollars" to date, according to Hibner.

Last month, the Tewksbury School Committee granted FTCAC permission to sell naming rights to the stadium, and generate revenue by selling advertising signs at various locations throughout the project.

who was present at the meeting, assured residents that FTCAC's proposal would be presented to the town's planning board in the coming months, where it would be reviewed for compliance with town zoning and use regulations.

The project's timeline calls for funding to be in place by late fall of this calendar year, and for the project to go out to bid by December of 2011.

Construction would begin in the fall of 2012, with the complex opening for use in September of 2013.

Karyn June 24, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Good for the residents who will be most effected coming out...if you don't stand up for your rights, no one else will. I guess the promises made to work with the residents will remain to be seen, but I'm glad to see more outreach being done now as it WASN'T in the past.
Lynne June 24, 2011 at 05:40 PM
A key point that needs to be made is that the issues these residents have will not be going away if this group is not successful in improving the stadium. There will be a football stadium there. There will be increased traffic on game days. There will be noise. Hopefully the town will look at making the required improvements for the abutters.
Melissa Gleaton June 24, 2011 at 05:58 PM
I was under the impression that the new field being built under existing plans did not accommodate football.
Karyn June 24, 2011 at 06:12 PM
It will in the sense of no lighting/night time noise, increased capacity times 3, and more frequent use by out of town entities. I'm glad to see this will be brought back to our Planning Board as I believe there are significant drainage issues to be addressed as well.
Bill Gilman (Editor) June 24, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Melissa you are incorrect. the original plan calls for a natural turf field. But no scoreboard and no press box and limited seating.
Melissa Gleaton June 25, 2011 at 05:02 AM
Thanks Bill. I knew there was going to be a field with lots of hype about soccer, lacross, track & field, but never heard football mentioned. I'd asked specifically about football in more than one place and the response has been mixed. There was lots of "we need a football field", which lead me to believe that the original plan did not accommodate football.
Tewsksbury Parent June 25, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Make no mistake...this is ALL about a football stadium. The one at Ryan is old and it's cheaper to conveniently 'change' the plans at the high school and stuff it in there instead tearing down and rebuilding on the current site. The Redmen club is selling this as a "Community" stadium just to get enough support around town to push it through. They're purposely not using the word 'football' because a lot of people in town don't like them.
Lynne June 26, 2011 at 12:19 AM
The question at hand is about creating a multi-purpose field that can be used during the evening hours in the fall when it gets dark (hence the lighting) for football games and allow rental to various groups for other sports events, most likely during weekend days. There is no hidden agenda here as far as I can tell. They have been very respectful of the abutting residents and are actively looking at ways to decrease their concerns. I hope the abutters will follow up with the planning board and the HS building committee, because there will be a stadium there, as part of the existing plan. Their concerns about the noise, security fencing and parking lot lights will exist, whether this committee is successful or not, and some of these concerns aren't the responsibility of this committee anyway. BTW, Melissa, every time you have posed the football question, I told you there was. It is in the articles and on the plans for the HS.
Karyn June 26, 2011 at 01:37 AM
Again, that area has been known to have drainage problems. If a regular turf field got muddy, at least by nature it's somewhat absorbent, would soak in and then dry out. I would imagine a synthetic surface would be impervious to water to begin with.....where is all the runoff going to go? If they don't incorporate significant measures for drainage are abutters going to have to deal with flooding/water issues on their properties as well? MANY significant issues to be addressed as far as the neighborhood is concerned. I hope they keep on top of it.
Millie June 27, 2011 at 12:55 AM
So the new plan would include ALL sports, not just a new field for football. Football has their own "sacred ground" over @ the Ryan. No other team has ever been allowed to step foot on it...shame on them. Lights or no lights your "sacred ground" is ALL yours because you never wanted to share!
Lynne June 27, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Track camp is there this morning. The track team has practiced there all spring.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something