AVON, December 12 – In a referendum on Tuesday, Avon voters gave approval for a new synthetic turf field and eight-lane track and field complex and a proposal to replace the town’s public safety communications system.
Voters approved the synthetic turf and track and field complex proposal by a vote of 1,220 to 783. The communications system proposal was approved 1,654 to 348.
The turnout was good, according to town officials. Fifteen percent of eligible voters (2,106) voted according to Kerry LaDouceur, Registar of Voters. In comparison, only 527 voters participated in the last budget referendum in May.
“I think the turnout was great,” said Brandon Robertson, Avon’s Town Manager. “15.2 percent is certainly higher than you typically see for a budget referendum. We would love to see these numbers all the time. The higher the better.”
The next step for the turf project is to establish a five-person building committee. Robertson said the Town Council will likely appoint the committee at their next meeting in January.
The goal is to begin construction by the end of the school year so it would be available for use in September.
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 infill between the plastic blades of grass will be acrylic coated sand.
Lights will not be part of this project. However, conduit to potentially install lights at a later date will be included into the project.
“It feels incredible. It’s been a long time coming,” said Avon resident Maria Moscoli, who helped coordinate an effort to get out the vote to support the turf proposal. She established a Facebook page about the project and the benefits.
“I’ve been watching this for 10 years now,” said Moscoli, who was president of the Avon High Booster Club for three years. “My kids will never be able to take advantage of this but I am really excited for the current students and the future of Avon (students and residents) to take advantage of this.”
Planning and development for this turf project date back to late 2013.
The radio project 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.
“It’s a nice validation for both projects,” Roberson said. “Both projects have been a long time in development. The community has spoken and now it time to execute.”