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Selectmen Move Forward With Lawton Road Fields Plan

Town will now bring project to land-use boards; funding plan would come later.

On Wednesday night, the Board of Selectmen authorized the town to move forward with a plan to develop fields on the town-owned property at 55 Lawton Road. The plan would also accommodate a portion of the Farmington River Trail. 

No funding has been announced but the move gives the town the go-ahead to bring the Parks and Recreation plan to the town's land-use boards for approval. 

The project calls for a full-sized youth sports playing field, a smaller practice area with parking in the middle. At selectmen's request from a previous meeting, parking lot lighting and an irrigation system were added to the plan. The park would also facilitate a 1,200 linear-foot portion of the Farmington River trail. 

Story to be updated. Please check back. 

 

Randy Carrin December 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM
When this plan was initially presented to the residents of Lawton Road in October, we were told that there would not be any parking lights at this location as the fields would not be used at night. Now, parking lights are being added to the proposal. What will be next? A hot dog stand? A playground? Giant scoreboard? Wyatt, you say this is a nice addition to the neighborhood. Do you live in the neighborhood? It's easy for people who live elsewhere to say that. Just as people who live elsewhere in their shortsightedness thought CVS would be a great boon for the town with additional taxes and employment. All I know is that everytime I hear that drumbeat in Canton, it's only a few years later when another development is considered required for the same exact reasons. As a resident of Lawton Road, I was initially skeptical about the Recreational fields across the street. After meeting with reps from the Parks and Rec Dept., i became less skeptical and more open to the idea. And now...parking lights across the street from me? NO WAY!
Canton Taxpayer December 13, 2012 at 05:23 PM
If the Avon-Simsbury wannabe parents want it, it will arrive...in the form of an increased tax bill of course....I've given up trying to appeal to the Board of Selectmen and Finance. Now we "need" these fields -- what about the new track & field at the High School that's going to cost around $3.5 million of our hard earned money?! Wasn't that a plea for more playing fields originally? The Town Boards don't really care what the neighbors think about the new night-lit track/field at the high school either so good luck with fighting the fields on Lawton Road.....
Karen's Dog Training Blog December 13, 2012 at 05:34 PM
It would be nice of towns would think about preserving open space. Does the area really need another playing field? I prefer open space - fields, wildflowers and wildlife. Sad.
Al December 13, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I live in the neighborhood and I think its a terrific idea! Great for the town and the families who live here.
Wyatt December 13, 2012 at 06:12 PM
You raise so many points, so I will try to respond one by one. 1. First, I don't live in that neighborhood. I live right next to Mill Pond Park and have always enjoyed being that close to a recreational facility. Being near a park and bike path is great for kids, families and people who enjoy something to do in their neighborhood. It was great when I had kids, and is great now that I have grand kids. I just wish the bike trail was closer to my house. While you apparently would disagree, being near facilities like this, especially bike paths, tends to increase the desirability of a home. 2. I haven't heard anything about a hot dog stand but maybe I'll see if I can get a permit for one. I do love hot dogs. 3. I don't know what is so awful about the CVS. You sound surprised that one of the main intersections in town (with development on 3 of its four sides) would add something like that. If you don't like development there, then I must assume you wouldn't want it anywhere in Canton - you are exactly the type of anti-development folks that make this such a lousy state for business.
Betty December 13, 2012 at 06:15 PM
A recent report indicated that Canton needs 19 new fields, courts, and "playscapes". I wish the town would look at all the town land before breaking ground or spending a dime for any projects. I don't live in either neighborhood but I urge the town to be respectful of abutting and nearby homes.
Wyatt December 13, 2012 at 06:15 PM
@Karen. The town is already about 1/5th open space - there is plenty of it and, sadly, very few people ever use it. Now that I'm retired, I take walk on land trust properties alot and never see a single soul. Just me and the trees. Far more people use fields than town open space. Further, when considering to keep land open space for non-recreational reasons (i.e. aesthetic, environmental, etc.), you need to consider the value of the land as open space. Does it connect to other conserved parcels? Does it contain any endangered species? Striking natural features? good habitat? views? In general, the Lawton Road property appears to contain none of those traits - it is a good option for development. You can't save all land as open space (just not realistic) so its best to pick your battles.
Wyatt December 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@Betty. From what I've read, the land was purchased by the town in the 1960s to be developed as a school. If someone bought a home next to town land slated for development, they really don't have a right to complain. If they have lived there since the early 1960s, then they need to adapt to changing times. Canton's obsession with NIMBY-ism is stifling to both economic and other forms of development.
Al December 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Absolutely, Canton needs additional playing fields! Athletic programs like youth soccer and lacrosse, are rapidly growing, and we do not have the fields for our children to play on. We have enough open space, hundreds of acres in fact. Its about time we do something with our town lands. I live in the neighborhood of the proposed fields and I fully support moving forward with this plan.
Betty December 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Wyatt, Your comment does not address my comment. Are you aware of ALL town land being looked at for greatest and best use? I have asked I am not aware of this being done.
Randy Carrin December 13, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Wyatt, Life in 2012 is much different than when you and i were kids. Most kids today don't go biking on a bike trail without being accompanied by an adult. And Canton has a very nice bike trail already. i would often ride this trail with my kids when they were young and now as adults they still ride it. Secondly, the bike trail proposed to run adjacent to the playing fields is not connected to the rest of the trail. The town still needs to negotiate with other private properties to figure out how to extend the trail down Lawton Road. Third, I actually have no objection right now to the recreation fields as it was presented at a meeting in October. It is the parking lot lights that I am objecting to. Fourth. Much has already been said about the presence of CVS and the use of that property, so I will not add too much more to the debate. I guess for you it is too far to travel to any of the other pharmacies aka 21st century general stores. As far as development goes, I've heard the same argument when the town was pushing to create commercial property across from the old IKEA. About how much additional revenue that would bring. I heard the same argument when the golf course was converted to the Shoppes. Why not just do what Joni Mitchell once suggested, tear it all down, and "put up a parking lot". Finally, I imagine someone like you would literally open up a hot dog stand if not for your own profit, but in the name of town development.
John Fitts (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Hey folks. I just added a few updates but especially wanted to point out that there will be at least one public hearing during this process during which people can come and comment on the plan as a whole or specific portions of it.
Wyatt December 13, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Yes it does. It responds to the following: "I don't live in either neighborhood but I urge the town to be respectful of abutting and nearby homes." Simply because I only responded to part of your comment, and not all of it, does not mean that my comment did not address yours.
John Fitts (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
One more thing. I just added the plan drawings but please keep in mind that they do not show the changes some selectmen requested.
Andrew Y December 13, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I just hope they don't cut down that MASSIVE old tree on the east side of Lawton.
Ron Miller December 13, 2012 at 09:09 PM
im from canton and i often travel the area and im amazed at all the recreation they have ...the bike trails. 20 or more miles of them ... mills pond .....all of the highschool fields ...the farmington river canoe and tubing.... all the stores for shopping. and i was up at powder mill is it ..for the best fireworks ever. and you need more .hmmmm
Julius Fialkiewicz December 13, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I am on the park and rec. commission, we did present to the neighbors no lights.. It is wrong to come up with this now.
MRiley December 13, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I can only guess that those opposed to new fields a) do not have children that participate in athletics b) don't enjoy outdoor activities/trails. We desperately need additional fields in Canton - and in playing sports in other towns - EVERY other town - it becomes overly obvious that Canton needs these fields. Our children are playing on fields that are simply not adequate. Canton has alot of open space, and a land trust that works to preserve those. I am part of the Canton Land Trust hiking group, and I don't recall ever finding a shortage of places to hike. I agree that although CVS was an odd choice on that corner - that corner is suited for commerce - as it's across from the shops, and on a busy intersection. As for paying taxes - that's life. All of your taxes can't go to ONLY the projects you personally deem necessary. There are others, many others with children that believe that this money is very well spent. I can't speak to the lights, but would assume there is a solution for putting restrictions on when the lights would be used...ie: weekends till 8pm only, etc. I don't think anyone is really 'out' to ruin someone's home.
JEFF DILL December 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM
I believe one of the major attractions to Canton is its "rural" but close enough to businesses. I enjoy the developed land spaces often. Randy, and those close to Lawton Rd, if you are opposed to the idea, possibly consider what you would do if it went through and your property value increased due to completion of the project. My personal opinion is that I very much enjoy the trail from CVS to Unionville. A little difficult to imagine runners /bikers /skaters /rollerbladers / strollers getting across that intersection. Especially now that there is CVS adding to the traffic flow. Even if these people waited for the lights, how much congestion would this add?? Bridge ? Tunnel?
Andrew Y December 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM
What fields in Canton do you consider inadequate? Is it the number of fields available, or the quality of those fields? What sports are you referring to?
Jon Cahill December 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Randy, I understand why you're upset with the idea of lights. But I am sure that the lights would not be running all night long, they would probably shut off after curfew. Also, I think that based on how Canton has been developing (The Shoppes, CVS, Dunkin' Donuts, etc.) it is much better to have a town park across the street than in a few years be fighting against a corporate company trying to put a store there.
Andrew Ziemba December 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Some people choose not to have children because they would rather have more money and live a different lifestyle. Unfortunately in the society that we live in today, it is quickly becoming a fool's idea, now that so much of taxes for local, state, and federal go to spoiling and pampering other peoples children at a massively inflated cost because it is run by government. Privatized schools with privatized fields is the optimum solution to all these problems and allows for a peaceful answer to this topic. Until we can evolve as a race to realize that we gain more by respecting the lives of other people rather than stealing from peter to pay for Paul (and his children) with thuggish tactics, the closer we will be to utopia as a planet.
Karen's Dog Training Blog December 13, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Andrew - Your comment "Some people choose not to have children because they would rather have more money and live a different lifestyle." isn't very nice. Some people do not have children for reason other than that.
Andrew Ziemba December 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM
HA! I could be here all day if I was going to list all the different types of people with different abilities, or disabilities and or life styles from all walks of life who are oppressed by local, state, and federal government. Obviously some people don't have children for other reasons. The rules still apply.
Wyatt December 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM
@Karen. You shouldn't expect so much from Andrew.
Karen's Dog Training Blog December 14, 2012 at 08:22 PM
@Wyatt <g>
Betty December 15, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Thanks Julius, I consider working with the neighbors and doing what you promised them to be respectful. Do you know if all town own property been reviewed for possible use of the 19 fields we need?
Randy Carrin December 15, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Just to be clear, I have no opposition to the bike trail. In fact, I think it is a wonderful component of our community, and don't even mind a bike trail across the street from where I live. And while I was initially opposed to the recreational fields being proposed directly across the street from me, I was impressed with the architectural design of the plan and its concern and respect for people in the neighborhood. What appalls me however is 1) that parking lot lights are now being proposed which I will not agree to no matter when they are shut off, and 2) the overwhelming fanaticism with sports that has overtaken our society and town. Tell me the reason why children need to participate in three teams in one sport? Why do parents convince their children that a particular sport is so important that the child has to breathe the sport all year long? I realize that the days when kids would ride their bikes to a local school field and choose up sides and truly "play" a game of softball or touch football are long gone. I realize that parents no longer allow their children to "play". Now their children have to participate in sports activities organized, coached and managed by adults. Practice three days a week, games every weekend. And then there's always another travel team to join. And the recreational fields proposed for Lawton Rd. are being considered to be used for younger children to play on teams that that would "feed" the older teams.
Bill December 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM
This is exactly what we need, more soccer fields in Simsbury. /sarcasm. Does everyone else see the waist full spending in Simsbury.
John Fitts (Editor) December 18, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Hi Bill, This property is not too far from Simsbury but is in Canton.

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