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Avon voters get chance to vote on turf project next week on December 12

A referendum will be held on Wednesday, December 12 on two projects — one being the long-discussed proposal to install a synthetic turf field at Avon High School.

AVON — It’s been a long five years but on December 12, Avon residents that have been seeking an upgrade of facilities at Avon High will have the opportunity to vote for a new synthetic turf field and a new eight-land track and field complex.

It will be one of two referendum questions on the ballot for Avon voters. The referendum will be held from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Avon Senior Center.

The other initiative on the ballot is a proposal to replace the town’s public safety communications system.

In November 2013, 70 people attended a meeting to push for a new synthetic turf facility in Avon. In February 2014, the Town Council voted to spend $40,000 for an architect to draw up plans to build a synthetic turf field and recreation complex for a parcel on Thompson Brook Road that began the process to this referendum.

The turf proposal on the ballot calls for spending nearly $3 million ($2.99 million) for installation of an eight-lane track and field complex and a synthetic turf field on the site of the current Avon High football field and track complex.

The original turf proposal called for the field to be built with coated crumb rubber. However, after discussions with residents at several meetings this fall, the Town Council voted on October 23 to use acrylic coated sand as the infill between the plastic blades of grass. The original proposal called for coated crumb rubber.

Lights will not be part of this project. However, conduit to install lights at a later date will be included into the project.

Lights aren’t part of the proposal but conduit to install lights in the future is part of the turf field proposal.

The radio project, which is called the Town and Public Safety Communication System replacement would include replacement of the town’s existing conventional analog public safety radio system with a 700 MHz radio system including the acquisition and installation of dispatch consoles and user devices, the installation of a new radio tower and related improvements to the existing Huckleberry Hill tower location on Kingswood Drive, site improvements to the existing tower sites on Deercliff Road and Ridgewood Road, and related work and improvements.

The proposed cost of the radio project, which would serve the town police department, volunteer fire department, emergency management team, the town Department of Public Works and the Board of Education, is $3.89 million.

Turf project timeline

  • December 2018: Referendum on proposed turf field project at Avon High.
  • October 2018: Town Council decides to use acrylic coated sand as infill between plastic blades of grass on the synethic field instead of coated crumb rubber. Cost of turf field project rises to nearly $3 million ($2.99 million).
  • May 2018: In a special meeting, Town Manager Brandon Robertson presents new scaled back proposal to Town Council and Board of Education that would cost an estimated $2.6 million.
  • March 2018: Town Manager Brandon Robertson sends followup letter to Ben Barnes at the state Office of Policy and Management (OP&M) regarding Avon’s request for financial assistance – a $2.5 million grant — with this project from the state. Robertson and Town Council chair Heather Maguire meet with Barnes on March 27. The answer was no.

2017

  • May 2017: Town Manager Brandon Robertson sends followup letter to Ben Barnes at the Office of Policy and Management regarding Avon’s request for financial assistance with this project from the state
  • January 2017: A letter of support from State Senator Kevin Witkos, State Representative Tim LeGeyt and State Representative Derek Slap is sent to Ben Barnes at OP&M asking for a $2.5 million grant.
  • January 2017:Town Manager Brandon Robertson and school Superintendent Gary Mala ask area legislators (Kevin Witkos, Tim LeGeyt, Derek Slap) for support for the town’s request for a $2.5 million grant from the state to support the project.

2016

  • December 2016: A $4.6 million proposal is finalized to install two synthetic turf fields at Avon High, including building an eight-lane track, a new 1,000-set grand stand and press box. Conduit for lights, potentially in the future, would be part of the project.
  • 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.

2015

  • 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.

2014

  • 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

2013

  • November 2013: Seventy people attend Avon Student Athletic Park Steering Committee meeting

Dan Quick runs for a touchdown for the Avon High football team in early November. The Falcons beat Rocky Hill in the game.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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