Herald Staff Writer
Relief from flooding, is just around the corner.
Beginning in the next couple of months, the city is going to break ground to expand the retention pond at then Foundation Fields.
Mayor William Judge mentioned, “This will not affect any of the fields or the walking path but will double the size of the retention pond.” The cost of expansion will be around $200,000. In addition to this, next year, they will be looking at “Phase Two,” which involves the removing of one or two of the soccer fields for more stormwater retention ponds. If removed, Judge understands and will replace the fields. He is looking at a few parks but is leaning toward Newton Park because, according to Caroline Crawford, stormwater engineer, it is more cost-effective to create some deep depressions, re-grade and add French drains to keep Newton Park dry. Once finished, they believe the size of the park will allow for three to four full-size soccer fields. Judge says he doesn’t want to remove anything but, “Newton Park needs to be made more playable no matter what we do.”
An alternative to removing the soccer fields, Judge met with the new owners of C&M Church. The former owner, Dalton Smith, died and passed the property on to his three children. Two live in Florida and the other lives in Ohio. Judge spoke with two of the children, and they want to continue talking to officials about the use of the church. One of the children is into construction, so they understand the cost and reconditioning and getting the building up to code. Judge wants to do some engineering studies of his own to acquire the building for possible demolition to further the retention pond before taking away the soccer fields.
Also during the July 11 Parks and Recreation meeting, Judge mentioned that he has been working with FEMA for two years on a project to buy and tear down homes on 14th Street to create green space and nothing can be built in its place. He also mentioned, “We are at the time now where property owners are going to have to take appraisal values.” This project has been put on a “shortlist.” Additionally, he had just recently filed to have the same “green space” program for 15th Street, but it is still a few years away.