FOSTER — With the first phase of the Foster Youth Athletic Field completed, use of the complex is in place but minimal, says Town Planner Michael Antonellis, who added that the park will see more play once the second phase is finished.
The second phase of work at the park includes a football field, soccer field, basketball court, tennis court, and walking trails.
Antonellis, who took over the role of town planner last June from Jennifer Siciliano, said plans are being drafted for the second phase of the complex.
Architects attempted to shift the football field 10 to 15 feet away from the parking area to make room for more vehicles, but that change proved infeasible, he said.
Foster received a $400,000 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management last April to complete both phases of the project. Phase one included building a baseball field and a 77-space parking lot.
Foster matched the grant by 20 percent for each phase, and is using in-kind work by the town’s Public Works Department for much of that match.
Funding for the second phase is secured in the grant from the RIDEM, expiring in 2023. Antonellis said the town will need to complete the project by then, but he said he hopes to see it completed sooner.
“If all goes smoothly, we hope to start construction in the early spring, and have the field up and running by the fall. It’s very weather-dependent,” he said.
Antonellis added that Foster will grow its own grass on the soccer and football fields.
As for a finish date, Antonellis said he can’t say.
The project will soon go out to bid, Antonellis said, adding that the work will most likely not be affected by the higher costs of lumber.
“I’m not aware of any show-stopping increases,” he said.
The field is being used on the weekend for recreational purposes, and can be booked through the Foster Recreation Department, Antonellis said.
Antonellis said he’s only witnessed a “few folks” playing on the field. The Foster-Scituate Little League and Scituate Youth Soccer Association plan on using the field, though there are no current plans for use by the Ponaganset schools.
“It will be open to both the general public as well as organized leagues,” Antonellis said of the facility upon completion.
The project was part of the School Department’s comprehensive plan, which identified a need for extra athletics space.
The new baseball field features an adjustable and portable mound to be used for softball games.