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Canton Parks and Recreation Department Proposes Field Space on Lawton Road Property

Plan calls for playing and practice fields, portion of Farmington River Trail.

The Canton Parks and Recreation Department recently hired a Simsbury landscape architect to design an athletic fields proposal for town property on Lawton Road.

The plans, designed by Simsbury-based Landscape Architectural Design Associates, call for a multi-sport field, practice field, small playground and parking lot. It also designates room for the Farmington River trail behind a stone wall on the 2,000 feet of road frontage along the 17-acre plus property.

“Really this is addressing the needs for additional field space for youth sports,” said Park and Recreation director Brian Wilson. “Along with that it would relieve the burden on the high-school fields.”

In addition the plans incorporate an area for the Farmington River Trail behind a stone wall along the road. The long-term goal is to continue the trail to Simsbury, which would complete the loop to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. 

The process for the whole Lawton Road fields plan is its very early stages, Parks and Recreation director Brian Wilson. The department hired the firm from funds set aside for the study in the town’s 2012-2013 budget. For $7,450 the town has received the plans as well as the landscape architect Phil Doyle’s help through the land-use process.

First the town would need the Board of Selectmen’s OK to file site plans. The goal is to get through the land-use process and there is currently no estimate on construction costs, Wilson said. 

Even before that, however, the Parks and Recreation Commission is seeking input. Commission chairwoman Rebecca Andrews has set a letter to abutting landowners and invited them to a 7 p.m. meeting at the community center on Oct. 15. The general public can also attend and see further details. Those who can’t make it can submit comments or questions to bwilson@townofcantonct.org.

Wilson said the number of parking spaces was carefully considered and the presence of a stone wall, which would be improved, and some natural sloping on the property will really minimize the visual impact for neighbors, he said. No lights are being proposed, Wilson added.

The idea for fields on the property, is nothing new. According to Andrews’ letter the site was purchased in 1962 from the estate of Fred and Helen Lawton. Plans were to build a school but it never materialized. It was noted in several studies and after the 1997 Parks and Recreation Master Plan it was considered for baseball fields but they were instead built on what is not Millennium Fields on Simonds Avenue, according to the later.

“Since this time, the number of participants in youth sports has grown significantly and the town has struggled to keep pace with the need for recreational space to accommodate these programs. Plans for this location focus on that need and, if developed, would provide additional field space primarily for the spring and fall seasons.”

 

Editor's Note: Knowing that the proposed town garage project is a topic of conversation, Patch did inquire specifically about the consideration of this site as a potential location. Officials said it was considered but had many negatives, such as lack of public sewer and water, the narrow road, layout of the site, topography of the site (only a small portion is flat), sight-line issues and other concerns. The fact that the town owns the site was appealing but there were many negatives, said Permanent Municipal Building Committee Chairman Peter Reynolds. Those who want to see more can visit the link for documents on the garage and other projects the town has placed on the November ballot.

Mike September 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM
The use of town owned land for recreation and sports sounds excellent. Far better than another shopping mall and drug store.
Jessica Giblin September 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM
I second that, Mike....and John, thank you for inquiring about the property as a potential site for the town garage. I fully support more athletic fields for the town, our kids certainly need them. It would be nice to know what surrounding property owners think...
John Fitts (Editor) September 21, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Thanks Jessica. I didn’t get a chance to speak to the neighbors yet and the Oct. 15 meeting is open to the public. I hope to be there as well.
Wyatt September 21, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Great idea. I'm thrilled that the town is looking into it. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will actually happen!
Wyatt September 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I would imagine that the nearby property owners would be happy, particularly those with kids or grandkids. When my kids were young, I always regretted not being close enough to a park or playground for my kids to walk to.
Donna Carney September 22, 2012 at 04:02 AM
WE WELCOME A PLAYGROUND IT WILL BE A WELCOME ADDITION TO THIS TOWN THEY CAN KEEP THE TOWN GARAGE SOME PLACE ELSE, BUT NOT ON LAWTON ROAD ......WE DON'T NEED IT TO LOOK LIKE BERLIN TPKE, ENOUGH AREADY
Niki Tubach September 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I am confused...if this site doesn't have enough flat land or sewer for the town garage, how can it be flat enough for fields? and how is the site on Rt 44/Cherry brook have more flat land for the town garage? Does it have sewer service?? and about the site line issue....hmmm. I can't quite see how the town trucks are going to enter and exit around Petal and Paws onto Cherry Brook and /or Rt 44 without really messing up that intersection... Not that I don't want more playing fields... with the addition of Football adding girls lacrosse and now boy's lacrosse (due to addition of girls volley ball) the town definitely needs fields! so much to think about!!
Jillian Miller September 26, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Like Niki, I am concerned about the state of the land and the amount of grading that new sports fields would require. While I believe that the twon needs new sports fields, some developed in this sensitive area would require a lot of planning in order to keep environmental impact to a minimum. With the new shopping center going in next door and The Shoppes, I would be concerned about runoff and water management. I am very interested to see how this project will evolve.
John Fitts (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Folks I am sorry if I was unclear about the land. The area proposed for the fields is pretty flat from what I’ve seen and understand. It’s the area behind that slopes off fairly steeply. As far as a garage goes, I wasn’t there for the extensive discussion on the property since it was before Patch started but it is addressed somewhat in this report. http://www.townofcantonct.org/filestorage/74/Cap1-2.11-Site_Selection_Study_5-27-2009.pdf

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