Published October 16, 2019


LYNNFIELD — Six years after the Fields Committee recommended overhauling Jordan Park as part of the townwide fields project, Fall Town Meeting will be asked to approve renovating the park on Monday, Oct. 21.

The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to recommend renovating Jordan Park on Oct. 8. Article 11 seeks to allocate $655,000 as part of a public-nonprofit partnership.

The Jordan Park project has been in the works for the past six years, as the Fields Committee recommended that the park get a major overhaul in 2013. A warrant article pertaining to the project was submitted by the selectmen for the 2017 Spring Town Meeting, but Article 26 did not move forward because local officials determined the Lynnfield Middle School Track and Field Complex was a bigger priority.

Town Administrator Rob Dolan noted one of selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford’s priorities for fiscal year 2020 is to “rebuild and renovate Jordan Park.”

GALE ASSOCIATES created this rendering of the proposed Jordan Park renovation project. (Courtesy Photo)

“This is one of the last pieces of the fields project,” said Dolan. “The rationale for this renovation is multifold. The proposal allows youth soccer to have incredible flexibility for all age groups. Not only will it allow Jordan Park to be the center point for youth soccer in Lynnfield, it will alleviate some of the strain on the middle and high school fields. Those currently have excessive use. The project will allow other youth groups to use those fields once youth soccer is moved over to Jordan Park.”

Dolan said the Jordan Park project will improve public safety.

“The people of Lynnfield know that there are hundreds of cars at Jordan Park on Saturday mornings and Saturday afternoons with only 51 parking spaces,” said Dolan. “We are looking to double the amount of parking spaces. The number of parked cars all around the neighborhood often prevents basic public safety access in that area, particularly for fire trucks and ambulances.”

Dolan noted Jordan Park’s playground would be reconstructed as part of the project.

“This project involves a full upgrade of the playground,” said Dolan.

Dolan said the Jordan Park renovations have an estimated $879,000 price tag, which will be confirmed once bids are opened on Wednesday, Oct. 16. However, he said the town’s financial commitment to the project will be $655,000.

“Many people have heard of a public-private partnership,” said Dolan. “This is a public-nonprofit partnership.”

In a letter sent to Dolan, Lynnfield Youth Soccer Club (LYSC) President John Scenna stated that the LYFC will be making a financial contribution to help finance the project.

“The Lynnfield Youth Soccer Board of Directors voted to unanimously support a $175,000 donation to the town of Lynnfield to help fund construction costs for this project during the Sept. 10, 2019 meeting,” Scenna wrote. “We are prepared to make payment as soon as Town Meeting approves all other funding appropriations and the project prepares to move forward into construction.”

Scenna also thanked Dolan and the selectmen for “making Jordan Park a priority and for bringing this project forward.”

In addition to LYSC’s donation, Townscape Co-President Rich Sjoberg informed the Villager the nonprofit organization will be supporting the project as well.

“We are making a donation toward the cost of the playground and the park area,” said Sjoberg.

Dolan also noted the Lynnfield Moms Group will be holding fundraisers to “support the cost of renovating the playground.”

“We look forward to supporting them in that endeavor,” said Dolan.

In order to pay for the town’s share of the bill, Dolan has proposed financing the Jordan Park project with funds in two different accounts. He has proposed using $567,627 from the Sale of Real Estate Account.

“If we use that money in the Sale of Real Estate Account, we will still have $1.5 million left in that account,” said Dolan. “That account is dedicated to one-time expenditures that would otherwise be bonded by the community. This project absolutely meets that need.”

Dolan also proposed allocating $127,373 from the Overlay Account to finance the Jordan Park project.

“If that is approved, we would still have $564,000 left in that Overlay Account,” said Dolan. “The overlay is put aside in the event of a tax abatement challenge to the town. Over the last several years, MarketStreet has challenged our Board of Assessors in terms of taxation and went to the Appellate Tax Board. A very responsible settlement was reached between both parties, thus making these dollars available to us.”

Dolan said the Jordan Park project involves “using one-time revenues” that won’t affect the town’s FY20 operating and capital budgets.

“It is sound financially and it also leaves us with additional money for the future if other projects come about,” said Dolan. “That $564,000 in the Overlay Account includes the deduction of the rail trail, which was voted on by Town Meeting.”

Construction details

After Dolan finished giving an overview of why Jordan Park’s renovations are needed and how it will be funded, DPW Director John Tomasz outlined the construction components involved in the project.

Tomasz noted the field improvements include extending the field by 35 to 40 feet, which will enable LYSC to play multiple games at Jordan Park.

“There could potentially be 100 kids playing soccer there on a morning or afternoon during the weekend,” said Tomasz. “It will be a very busy place.”

Tomasz said the parking lot will be expanded from 51 spaces to 99 spaces.

“All of the parking spaces will be gravel, but the access road and perimeter road will be paved,” said Tomasz in an email sent to the Villager.

Tomasz said the project will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also said clay from the field’s old baseball diamond needs to be excavated in order for the field to be expanded.

The DPW director noted local officials recently discussed the project with the Conservation Commission, which included conducting a site visit.

“I think they are satisfied with the plans we have,” said Tomasz.

Tomasz noted the site visit helped address abutters’ concerns about the project. He informed the Villager that abutters were concerned about the loss of trees within the park and along the property line.

“We are losing about 19 trees, but 16 or 17 will be replanted,” said Tomasz.

Tomasz also said abutters expressed concerns about the potential for additional groundwater and surface stormwater runoff as well as expanding the parking lot.

“I think we adequately addressed all of their concerns,” said Tomasz during the selectmen’s meeting.

Tomasz said Jordan Park’s new playground will be fenced in as well. He said two solar-powered lights will be installed in the parking lot.

“The need for that is the darkness kind of sneaks up on you this time of year,” said Tomasz. “If practice runs a little long, kids will be able to get to the cars safely. Those lights will be controlled so they won’t be on at 2 a.m. The only time they will be on is for a couple hours at night.”

If Town Meeting approves the Jordan Park renovation project, Tomasz said work will commence after LYSC’s season ends.

“We are looking to start the first week of November after soccer is done,” said Tomasz. “We will be able to get a lot of it done this year if we have a decent winter. Youth soccer has agreed not to use the field for a whole year.”

Tomasz said local officials hope to have the Jordan Park project completed by next May.

Crawford thanked Tomasz for working with Gale Associates to develop the new Jordan Park renovation plans. He also thanked Tomasz for meeting with the ConCom and Jordan Park’s abutters to alleviate their concerns.

“They seemed to be pretty happy by the time the site visit was done,” said Crawford.

Crawford said the redesigned parking lot will improve the way cars enter and exit the park.

“You will be able to get in and out of the park much easier than you can today,” said Crawford. “I am looking forward to seeing what these bids are. Hopefully they are less than what we estimated, but you never know.”

Tomasz agreed.

“This is an ideal time for this work because contractors would normally be laying their folks off,” said Tomasz. “This is a job that will keep them busy for not the whole winter, but a good chunk of it.”