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Selectmen Sign Ward Street field agreement

By Carol Britton Meyer - Wicked Local Hingham, 01/07/11, 11:03AM EST

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Hingham — The final piece of the plan to build a new grass field near the existing lacrosse field at Margetts Field off Ward Street has fallen into place with the signing of a “field agreement” by the Selectmen this week.

This agreement is between the board, the Recreation Commission, and  project proponents (the Ward Street Turf Fields Fund, which has already signed it). The Commission is expected to add their signatures to the document at its meeting next week. Finalization of the agreement is contingent on review by Town Counsel.

Construction could begin as early as next week. “We’re doing our best to prepare the area in anticipation of the placement of sod in the spring,” said Fund attorney Jeffery Tocchio. There’s a one-year guarantee on the work.  By late spring, the new field may be in playing condition.

“This started as a generous gift by a group of citizens who saw a need for more fields and stepped up to the plate and made it happen,” Selectmen Chairman Bruce Rabuffo said. “They worked through all the issues that needed to be addressed.”

The Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals earlier permitted the project, with conditions. Parking and traffic issues have been addressed, and 75 additional spaces will be added to the site, for a total of 150. The issue of traffic will be revisited in a year.

The surrounding conservation land will be protected.

The new grass field will provide additional playing space for use by children and adults.

The Recreation Commission controls the existing field and the Selectmen own the parcel on which the new grass field will be installed. Irrigation will be provided by a well on the property.

The purpose of the agreement is to address current and future maintenance and other issues and governance of the fields, which have been dubbed “Margetts Field 1 and 2.” Maintenance costs are expected to be covered by user fees paid by teams using the fields, giving priority scheduling to Hingham-based lacrosse programs during the spring season.

The Commission will manage the fields and schedule their use. It has not yet been decided whether the D.P.W. or the South Shore Country Club will perform the maintenance work and what form of reimbursement would be provided.

“This agreement is similar to the one for the Carlson Field complex,” Recreation Commission Chairman Frank Jones said. “This will be a great field once it’s finished. A great gift has been given to the town.”

The cost of the privately funded project, which has been scaled back from the original proposal for two lighted turf fields, is about $530,000.