Parks and Rec Commission researching artificial turf

Parks and Rec Commission researching artificial turf

CUMBERLAND – Members of the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission are looking into whether the multipurpose field at Diamond Hill Park should be natural grass or artificial turf, as part of a needs analysis of Cumberland’s athletic fields, slated to be complete by May 1.

“That field is literally used constantly from the first best day of spring to the first lousy day of fall, apart from perhaps five or six weeks (in the summer) when the field does get some rest,” Alan Neville, chairman of the commission, told the Town Council at its Feb. 5 meeting.

The commission has sought input from a consulting group to see if more aggressive care of natural grass could be a solution or if town officials should find other locations for multipurpose fields to relieve usage of that field, he said.

Neville provided an interim report, telling councilors that the group hasn’t finished the analysis of the town’s 17 athletic fields yet and wants to gather all of the facts and be as comprehensive as possible.

“We want to provide these wonderful spaces for our kids and adults and as gathering places for the entire community to enjoy,” he said.

The goal of the analysis is to determine what the needs might be for the fields over the next decade.

As part of the report, commission members will determine what sports organizations use each field, what their schedules are, and how well the fields meet the needs of the groups.

They’ll also review the conditions of the fields as they relate to accessibility, what amenities are provided at each location, ongoing upkeep, and more, Neville said.

They will then “develop a directional plan to address future needs that will provide a foundation for a more detailed plan going forward,” he added.

The commission is currently collecting survey responses from different groups that use the fields, and was still waiting on the School Department’s answers as of last Wednesday, he said. Survey takers were asked about the conditions and usage of the fields, what seasons different athletic teams use the fields, and any conflicting schedules.

Members also plan to consult with and seek input from the town’s Conservation Commission, Planning and Public Works departments, Mayor Jeff Mutter’s office and the Town Council, he said.