Selectmen Delay Decision on Lawton Road Fields Plan

Members ask for more information before deciding whether to bring plan to land-use process.

Seeking additional information, the Board of Selectmen has delayed a decision on whether to bring the Lawton Road fields/rail trail plan to the town’s land-use boards.

Wednesday night, Brian Wilson, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, provided selectmen with an update on the proposal to develop a portion of 17-acre town-owned parcel at 55 Lawton Road as recreational space.

The plan calls for a full-sized youth sports playing field, a smaller practice area with parking in the middle. It would also facilitate a 1,200 linear-foot portion of the Farmington River trail. Officials eventually hope to complete the “loop” back to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Simsbury. It currently ends which currently ends at the edge of the CVS parcel on Lawton Road.

“(The plan) maximizes the level space we have on the property,” Wilson said.

Projected cost for the fields, including engineering, site work and other details is $768,742. The trails portion is estimated at $339,174 and town officials feel that grant opportunities could provide as much as 80 percent of that funding.

The parks and rec department is hoping selectmen agree to bring the project forward for land-use approval. No funding has been committed but approvals would allow the town to start putting aside money and/or come up with other funding ideas, Wilson said. Approvals would also give the town several years to complete the plan, Wilson added.

At the beginning of the Wednesday meeting, residents and a few parks and Recreation Commission members and other residents urged selectmen to support the plan. Many said field space is at a premium, often causing problems with scheduling, overuse and lack of space.

“All the (youth) sports are growing,” said Ken Haller, a resident who has been actively involved in the Canton Youth Soccer Association. “We need this kind of space for kids to play.”

Selectmen, however, wanted additional information before making a decision.

While First Selectman Richard Barlow briefly noted that the property is not completely off the table in the town’s search for a highway garage, but said his main concern was irrigation.

Time and time again, Barlow said, he hears that irrigation is a major issue with current fields and wants to see how much it would cost to add a system to the plan.

Steve Roberto agreed and added that he also wanted to see estimated prices for parking lot lighting.

“I would want this field to be a top-quality field,” Roberto said.


Marc Cournoyer November 30, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Traffic is already bad enough on Lawton & Washburn , how about the field already behind Chols ? Already have a parking lot , tax excempt for that land they donate to the town ?
Wyatt November 30, 2012 at 02:25 PM
This sounds like a great idea and a great recreational area for Canton. It is nice to see the Board of Selectman being so active in improving Canton and making it a more desirable place to live.
Betty November 30, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I would like to see an inventory of town owned property, especially vacant land on the town web site before another dime is committed. We should be looking at the big picture when we plan.
Canton Taxpayer November 30, 2012 at 07:35 PM
LOL...what's the delay in bonding? I mean, the BOS/BOF are bonding us into oblivion, why not just add another million or so for a field?
John Fitts (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 07:57 PM
How to pay for this is not even on the table. Whether to even go forward is the current question selectmen are considering.
Canton Taxpayer November 30, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Please -- the parents have requested it....the Boards will do their bidding....
Wyatt November 30, 2012 at 09:17 PM
You make it sound as if representing the wishes of the residents of Canton is a bad thing...
Al November 30, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I think its a great idea. It is clear that Canton is does not have enough fields for youth sports. We should continue to support any initiative that improves the lives of all Canton residents.
Killing Lawton Road December 06, 2012 at 10:05 PM
This is just another attempt to kill the Lawton Road neighborhood. CVS, rezoning the first three lots to commercial, and now this! Why not find other open space in a part of town that is not surrounded by houses? Why not improve what is already in place? What is it about Lawton Road that Zoning feels it needs to dump every traffic intensive neighborhood killing project on the residents of the area? And what is Barlow thinking when he makes a comment about putting the town garage there? Why doesn't Canton just add a landfill as well? I don't see the need for another field especially with the high school field project. Play sport there and get more bang for the buck. Move it to you neighborhood if you like the idea. My guess is it is great on Lawton Road, but it would be a lousy idea where you live.
Betty December 09, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Marc Where is this field located? What is the address?
Donna Carney December 27, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I also live on Lawton Road and live in this town 40 years we do need fields and we could have a field on Lawton with the continue to the tails to trails here no problem. We don't want or need lights to interfer with our lives, and the problems it could bring after dark respect us on lawton road and what we want as a quality of life issue, we are tax payers too. if Mr. Barlow wants to put the garage somewhere have him use space Canton has some place else not on Lawton Road, I can suggest his yard???? It should be up for a vote not a selctmans right to choose where it goes because our tax money will be supporting it. just my FYI
John Fitts (Editor) December 27, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Folks it is my understanding that Lawton Road - at least at this time - is not under serious consideration for the town garage. Again, I don’t know if that could change but they are looking at a few different options.
Betty December 27, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I was asking at the town hall yesterday, Lawton Road was not mentioned as a possible location.


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