...with your tax deductible contribution to help us replace the turf and track surface at Muscato Stadium at Oliver Ames High School. 

There's no doubt about it. For student athletes, parents, coaches; for residents of the town of Easton who use its spaces; and for the many scholastic athletes from other schools in our region who come here to compete, the turf field and track at Muscato Stadium at the Oliver Ames High School is the crown jewel of Easton recreation. These facilities are, by far, our most utilized recreational and community resource.  

Since the stadium was renovated in 2009, it has seen more than 20,000 hours of use including scheduled practices and games for the Oliver Ames sports teams and marching band.  In addition, there have been innumerable activities by students and staff at the middle school and even at the elementary school level - plus countless pickup games by youth and adults, and exercise by walkers and joggers of all ages - who have made great use of the facility. Over the past five years, additional upgrades were made in the form of an improved sound system, and a high-efficiency lighting system that further enhanced the facility's potential and prepared it for active use over many years ahead.

As the facility nears the end of its tenth year of very active use, the turf field surface and track at Muscato Stadium are approaching their maximum lifetime.  As the turf ages, it begins to break down even faster. Worn down by active usage and routine exposure to UV rays, the turf fiber loses its capacity to retain the crumb-rubber infill that cushions athletes and participants. This leads to an increasingly harder playing surface which in turn can lead to harsher physical impact during use, greater athlete fatigue and, potentially, a greater chance of injury.  The rubberized track surface is also aging and requires resurfacing 8-10 years after the initial installation. Waiting too long to resurface the track may require full replacement at nearly triple the cost.

It is time to implement a plan to replace the turf field and resurface the track so that this incredible recreational resource can be used safely for the next decade.  

In 2008, the people of Easton came together and implemented a $1.7M project to fully renovate Muscato Stadium.  The project scope included a new turf playing field, synthetic track, and ADA compliant bleachers.   The funding consisted of public and private sources, including $500,000 which was raised by the Friends of Easton Athletic Community Complex, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that managed the fundraising effort, purchased the turf field, and subsequently donated it to the town.  This grass-roots, community fundraising effort, which raised $500,000, was supported by local businesses and the citizens of Easton who were willing to invest in our most important recreational resource and pay it forward. The vast majority of private donors had children who have long since graduated. However, they saw the wisdom of making a contribution to support the facility so that others would have the opportunity to use it in the future.  

In 2018, Representative Claire Cronin secured state funding for an engineering study to develop the best and most cost-effective method to replace the turf and resurface the track.  Activitas, a Dedham-based company with significant expertise in turf and track projects, has completed a thorough assessment and provided detailed technical recommendations. The recommended project scope includes the turf replacement, the use of the existing crumb-rubber (to reduce the total cost), and the track resurfacing.  The plan is to solicit bids in the first quarter of 2019 and to secure all project funding by the end of May.  This would permit the project to be implemented during the summer months, and be completed before the start of the 2020-2021 school year - which would limit the impact on the fall sports schedule at Oliver Ames High School.

The total cost of the project is approximately $800,000, and once again, the plan is to leverage public funding, including a component of CPA funding, along with private fundraising to make it happen.  Friends of Easton will once again drive the fundraising effort and donate the proceeds to defray the cost of the project.   We are confident that the town will come together, as it did in 2008, to recognize the value of recreation in Easton, and to pay it forward again.

In planning the project, we have made every effort to specify the safest and most cost-effective solution.  The existing crumb-rubber will be harvested and used again with the new turf to lower the turf installation costs.  The Easton DPW has been trained by representatives of Field Turf, to permit the maintenance of the field to be done in-house, avoiding an annual maintenance expense of $6,500.  The resurfacing of the track in 2019 before the surface degrades to the point that it cannot be resurfaced, will avoid the full replacement of the track, which would be more than 3 times as expensive as the resurfacing.  In short, the project team has worked carefully in an effort to minimize the cost to the town.

We are now kicking off the fundraising campaign and, much like the effort in 2008, we are confident that the town will come together to support the project.

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