Board to trim remaining park projects

SOUTHWICK – The financing of the remaining $1.3 million in projects to complete at Whalley Park was the topic of discussion between the Board of Selectmen, Parks and Recreation Commission and Community Preservation Committee (CPC) coordinator Dennis Clark this week.
Kelly Magni and Daniel Call represented the Parks and Recreation at the meeting. That committee is applying to the CPC for funding for the last remaining projects at Whalley Park. The town is set to take ownership of the eight-acre recreational park donated by John and Kathy Whalley.
Clark told the group the CPC meets next on Aug. 9, however, he is sure that they will not agree to fund all $1.3 million because of a few other projects on the committee’s priority list.
“They will not deplete their funds, especially on one project,” Clark said. “We can’t just take the whole pot of money and put it into this.”
Clark noted a project at the Kellogg property that the committee has already committed to as one example of its financial priorities.
Clark suggested the town bond for the funds, which did not go over well with selectmen.
“Voters just narrowly approved the school funding, I don’t think this would pass,” said Selectwoman Tracy Cesan.
Select Board Chairman Arthur Pinell pointed out that the CPC tax was also approved by a narrow margin. Cesan said she is not “a fan” of the CPC tax herself and bonding would “hold that CPC tax over our heads for a long time.”
Clark said he thought the committee would approve much of the project, throwing out a figure of $1 million. Planning Board Assistant Ruth Preston suggested that some of the projects could be phased-in.
The board discussed what could be cut from the project and said the three largest expenses were the starting point, including $200,000 for concrete sidewalks, $50,000 for landscaping, and $146,000 for field lighting.
Cesan said while it would be nice to have more trees for shade, they don’t necessarily need all that are in the plan.
“I think it’s wise to cut the landscaping down, but still plant some shade trees,” said Pinell, who suggested eliminating mulch, decorative trees and shrubs while keeping shade trees.
“That will save about $31,0000,” he said.
The groups agreed to ask designer R. Levesque and Associates to revise its costs with the modifications and outline what the cost would be to install electrical conduit for the two proposed lighted fields, as well as give the cost for lighting one field only while placing the conduit for the second. The group also planned to ask Levesque how to reduce the concrete costs and look at other options for a sidewalk,
Board members said they would attend the Aug. 9 CPC meeting to continue discussions so the application could be formalized.

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