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 firstname.lastname@example.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.