Town Council to consider $4.6 million proposal for 2 turf fields, new track facility

The Avon High football and track and field complex.

The Avon High football and track and field complex.

AVON, Nov. 1 — On Thursday evening, the Avon Town Council will consider a $4.6 million proposal from Town Manager Brandon Robertson to lay down a synthetic turf field, construct a new track and field facility and bleachers on the site of the current Avon High football field and track along with laying down a synthetic turf field on the site of the current field hockey field.

The proposal calls for conduit around the main field and track and field complex be included so lights could be added at a future date.

The meeting will begin Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Town Council chambers.

Robertson is recommending a broad use policy if lights are added to the main field in future. The policy would call for 15 night games a year for high school teams. There would be no night games from December through February.  

The proposal calls for buffering with trees and plants along Sudbury Way and West Avon Road to help shield the facility from local residents.

The proposal would replace the current football field with a synthetic turf field and a refurbished eight-lane track. The proposal would also include bleachers to seat 1,000 fans, a press box, a storage building and sports-related equipment, such as hurdles, nets, pads and goals.

The proposed multi-use synthetic field and track and field facility at Avon High.

The proposed multi-use synthetic field and track and field facility at Avon High from a September proposal.


The proposal developed by the Recreation and Park subcommittee also called for the use of coated crumb rubber to be used as fill between the blades of synthetic grass.

Crumb rubber has been used as a base for thousands of fields across the nation in the past decade. There are some concerns about the health of athletes who play on the crumb rubber fields. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating those claims.

To address those concerns, the committee decided to use coated crumb rubber pellets, which Simsbury used when they replaced their original fill on their synthetic field this summer. The committee, working with consultant BSC Group of Glastonbury, did consider several alternatives to crumb rubber, which is made up of recycled tires that are ground up into tiny pellets.

The town has been examining proposals for synthetic turf fields since 2014. 

In November 2014BSC Group provided the town with two proposals for an athletic complex that could be built on a 15.25-acre parcel on Thompson Brook Road at the site of the former M.H. Rhodes Company, adjacent to the bike trail.  

One proposal that included a multi-use synthetic turf field, a second natural grass field, bleachers that could seat up to 1,000 fans, a home and visitor locker room, public restrooms and a press box is estimated to cost a little over $5 million. There would be parking for 250 vehicles. An eight-lane track was included an earlier design but dropped because there wasn’t enough space on the site.   

Timeline

  • November 2016: Town Council to consider finalizing a proposal to install two synthetic turf fields at Avon High and build an eight-lane track.
  • September 2016: The Town Council and Board of Education hold a joint public hearing to comment about the proposal. Recreation and Park subcommittee proposal for Avon High, September 2016
  • August 2016: Recreation and Park subcommittee meets throughout the summer and comes up with a proposal.
  • May 2016: Subcommittee of Recreation and Parks work with the town architect and Board of Education staff to begin work on their recommendation.
  • April 2016: Town Council decides to appoint a committee to come up with a final proposal for upgrading facilities at Avon High. Votes to spend $30,000 to modify plans to address issues with the proposal at the high school.
  • December 2015: Board of Education hears proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High.
  • June 2015: Town Council hears $3.21 million proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High by rebuilding tack and installing two synthetic turf fields.
  • April 2015: Subcommittee of the Recreation and Park committee recommend $3.21 million proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High by rebuilding tack and installing two synthetic turf fields.
  • November 2014: Architect provides town with two proposals for athletic complex on 15.25 acre parcel on Thompson Brook Road at site of former M.H. Rhodes Company, adjacent to the bike trail. Town Council asks for estimates for similar complex at the high school.
  • February 2014: Town Council unanimously votes to spend $40,000 for an architect to draw up plans to build a synthetic turf field and recreation complex on Thompson Brook Road
  • November 2013: Seventy people attend Avon Student Athletic Park Steering Committee meeting
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  • I hope the Town of Avon understands there is no safer surface for students to play on than grass. None of the alternate infills to crumb rubber have been independently tested – and if you all will remember – everyone was told the crumb rubber was safe. Not until there were academic institutions and independent scientists testing the crumb rubber was it found to be harmful.

    So –here you go again. Why don’t you spend some good money and install state-of-the-art grass fields and protect your citizens health.
    Nancy Aldernan, president Environment and Human Health, Inc.