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February 19. 2014 7:19PM

Milford weighs options for creating new playing fields

MILFORD — The town has plenty of land available for new recreation fields, and finding the money to install the fields may be just a few feet below the surface of the Brox land.

In 2000, the town bought 270 acres, known as the Brox property, in the west end near Route 101 with the future in mind. The land has plenty of space for schools and municipal buildings, and there are also viable commercial and retail lots on the site that are on the market. According to Director of Planning and Community Development Bill Parker, interest in the commercial and retail space has been minimal because of the lack of roads and utilities.

Little has been done with the land since it was purchased, despite the creation of a master plan for the property drawn up in 2005. But recently, revisions to that master plan have been proposed, and at the top of the list is the creation of playing fields for kids in Milford, said Parker.

“The fields in town are essentially in use 100 percent of the usable time,” said Tim Finan, who sat on the committee to update the Brox master plan. “This leaves no down time that is necessary for proper care and maintenance.”

The priority at this point is to develop “temporary” fields on the part of the property on Heron Pond Road, near one of the town’s elementary schools, said Finan. The fields are considered temporary because they would be located on the proposed site of a fire department substation for the west end of town. That substation isn’t planned for the immediate future, however, and would be built only if growth in the community reached a point where it required more coverage from the fire department.

Finan said the land is already cleared, and the department of public works could develop the fields “fairly quickly for relatively low cost.”

Should the need arise for the substation, Finan said, permanent fields could be developed on a part of the property known as “the pit.”

In 2007, the Board of Selectmen asked voters to approve the creation of the Brox Community Lands Infrastructure Capital Improvements Fund in which money to create fields, roads or run utilities into the property could be reserved. To add money to the fund, the board also asked voters to approve a plan to sell $500,000 worth of gravel and earth materials quarried on the Brox property. The quarrying operation didn’t get off the ground, however, before the warrant article expired, said Parker.

In March, voters will once again be asked to authorize the sale of $500,000 worth of material, but putting that money in a fund will have to wait.

“During the course of the next year the town will look at the feasibility of doing a gravel plan to move forward with the possibility of selling gravel,” said Parker.

But according to the state Department of Revenue Administration, the town will have to vote at a later date to allow the proceeds from the sale of the gravel to be placed into a capital improvement fund for the development of the property, Parker said.

nfoster@newstote.com


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