SAUGUS — Stackpole Field is the latest Saugus park to be improved.
More than 11,000 square feet of sod was installed, stone dust was placed around the perimeter of the football field and maintenance of the baseball diamond is being completed. Employees of the town’s Department of Public Works are doing the work.
The improvements are necessary to provide athletes with fuller, softer grass and more cushioning to reduce the chance of injury, said Town Manager Scott Crabtree, who estimated that thousands of children use the field to practice and play football, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and cheerleading each year.
Stackpole Field is also typically the venue for Saugus High School’s graduation ceremonies.
“The town’s parks and playgrounds have and will continue to be a top priority for this administration,” said Crabtree.
Evans Park behind the shuttered Evans Elementary School is also under construction.
The deteriorating basketball courts and tennis court were demolished last month to make way for regulation-sized basketball courts with new sidewalks, parking, drainage, lighting and security cameras. The project is expected to cost $637,000.
“This is in the center of town and it’s just an eyesore,” said Crabtree, who added that none of the courts are the proper size for tournaments.
Veterans Memorial Park was renovated in 2016. It is now wheelchair accessible with handicap inclusive equipment, new swings and an updated basketball court.
A second handicap accessible playground, the Bristow Street Park, was completed in 2017. It has a large play area with swings, slides, a seesaw and a seating area. A 10-foot tall lacrosse wall and tee-ball field were renovated, and an infield, backstop, bleachers and players’ benches were added. The park also has a new basketball court, bathrooms, concession stand, storage shed and workout stations. The park has LED lights and security cameras.
The tennis courts at Belmonte Middle School, which will be turned into an upper elementary school in a few years, were replaced in 2017. There are now five tennis courts with one overlapping pickleball court and wind screens. This is where the Saugus High School tennis team practices.
Funding toward the Evans Park project was allocated at Town Meeting in May. Members approved $500,000 to be used for design, construction, lighting and security for the town’s parks and playgrounds, including but not limited to Evans and an ice rink next to the public safety building.
Two park-related articles passed at Town Meeting in 2017: one for $500,000 to repair and maintain existing playgrounds, and a second for $500,000 to add security, lighting and cameras to Bristow Street Park, Veterans Memorial Elementary School and Belmonte Middle School.
Costs for the Stackpole Field project are paid for through the Department of Public Works budget, said Crabtree. He could not provide the cost for the project.