New site for Deerfield athletic field proposed

New site for Deerfield athletic field proposed

SMITHFIELD - The municipal Planning Department is seeking Town Council permission to apply for a state grant toward building a multipurpose athletic field in Deerfield Park, at a location different from a site that sparked neighborhood opposition earlier this year.

According to Town Planner Michael Phillips, the new location is immediately north of the park's tennis and basketball courts and has been used informally for years for tee-ball games and soccer and lacrosse practice.

At the Financial Town Meeting in June, voters cut a $75,000 cash appropriation for a similar field on the Austin Avenue side of the park after neighbors complained that the project would increase traffic and diminish their quality of life.

In a memo describing the new plan, Phillips said it will "allow for more intensive use of an area that has already (been) prepared for play fields and would fulfill the goal of providing a multi-use area that could be used by all the leagues that currently use Deerfield Park."

He said improvements would include irrigation, construction of a backstop, work on the playing surface and minor regrading, re-loaming, and re-seeding.

Parking would be permitted along the road and at possibly expanded space at the nearby Little League field or adjacent to the tennis courts.

Phillips said that to apply for the new grant from the Department of Environmental Management the town would need to formally withdraw a grant request for the field that voters rejected, which would have been built with a combination of state and local money.

Phillips told the council that he would develop cost figures for the new proposal by the time it takes the matter up again at its Dec. 3 meeting.