June 9, 2015 Election Update

At the Town’s Special Election on Tuesday June 9, the voters approved Question 1 (funding for flood mitigation and environmental remediation) with 1716 votes in favor and 914 against, and did not approve Question 2 (funding for synthetic turf multi-sport field), with 1157 votes in favor and 1473 votes against. Detailed election results by precinct can be viewed HERE.

Town Management will now proceed with the Town’s consultants in the design and permitting work necessary to perform the flood mitigation and environmental remediation work, all in time to successfully coordinate with the WHS reconstruction project. (Town Meeting has already approved the necessary appropriation to spend the funds.) Further information about the course of those projects will be presented at meetings of the Board of Selectmen and on the Town’s web site, winchester.us.

Thanks to all who voted, and to all residents who visited this web site to inform themselves about the questions presented at the special election.

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BOS Information Session Follow-Up

At its June 1 meeting, the Board of Selectmen was provided with further information regarding infill choices for the proposed synthetic field. This memo from the town’s consultant (VHB) includes a table showing some available infills and their various properties. Selection of infill for a synthetic field project depends on a variety of factors, including site properties, safety, intended sports usage, life cycle and cost.

While the infill will not be chosen until later in the design process (if Question 2 is approved), VHB did offer some preliminary recommendations with respect to infill selection. First, since the field is in a floodway, VHB would not recommend the use of either crumb rubber (SBR) or organic infill, as each is too buoyant to be appropriate for the site. Second, VHB would not recommend sand as an appropriate choice given the variety of sports the field is intended to accommodate. At this phase of concept design, and subject to further study, VHB indicated that either Coated Crumb Rubber (Encapsulated SBR) or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), each of which comes in colors other than black, would be a reasonable choice for the proposed field. These could increase the cost of the project by $100,000 to $270,000. The estimated tax impact of an increase in that range would be approximately 85 cents for an average household (i.e., an increase from approximately $14.00 to about $16.50).  See Tax Impact Page for estimated tax projections.

June 1 Information Session

The Board of Selectmen will host an information session regarding the three proposed Skillings Field projects tonight, Monday, June 1st, in the Board of Selectmen room in Town Hall.  The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and the public information session will begin thereafter.

The public is encouraged to attend and ask questions.

Overview

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WHS and Skillings

2013 Aerial view of Skillings Field

The Skillings Field Project consists of two critical projects for the Town, both located at Skillings Field (Ciarcia Field) — the area across the railroad tracks from Winchester High School. These projects are: (1) installation of a culvert under the field — a long-planned step in the Town’s multi-phase flood mitigation program and (2) removal of soil and installation of a “cap” over a portion of the field in order to remediate certain environmental contaminants found in the soil.

Skillings Field is already involved in construction and renovation as part of the rebuilding of Winchester High School. The WHS construction plan calls for new parking on Skillings Field, repositioning of the baseball diamond, removal of the defunct track, and restoration of the baseball and multipurpose fields (basic grass seed treatment).  Most of this work is planned for Phase 3 of the WHS construction (June 2016 through summer 2017).

The work planned for Skillings as part of Phase 3 of the high school project provides an opportunity for the Town to coordinate completion of the culvert and environmental remediation before the parking area is built.  By coordinating the work for all projects together, the Town will save money compared to the cost of executing each project on an individual basis.

The Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and the Educational Facilities Planning & Building Committee (EFPBC) have all approved the coordinated plan for Skillings Field.

At a June 9th Special Election, Winchester voters passed a debt exclusion override to provide funds for the additional culvert and the environmental remediation projects but not a synthetic turf upgrade to the baseball field at Skillings.  Town Meeting had previously approved the appropriation of funds for the culvert and environmental remediation (but not the synthetic turf upgrade).  See Election Results update HERE.