Hanover Special Town Meeting approved a plan Thursday night to allocate an additional $240,000 to the Forge Pond Park recreation complex, keeping the seven-year-old project on track for completion this spring.
The money will come out of the Community Preservation Act fund, which is collected through a 3 percent annual surcharge on local property taxes plus a state contribution that matches a percentage of the tax revenues. Last year, the state matched 28 percent of the town’s proceeds.
Hanover Town Manager Troy Clarkson said that Thursday’s vote “was not contentious at all,” adding, “I’ll chalk that up to the people involved in this project.”
The Forge Pond Park complex is being built on a 70-acre property off King Street purchased by the town with a $1.4 million bond in 2006. The park will include several baseball and softball diamonds, multi-use fields, more than a mile of walking trails, a pavilion, and ample parking. Construction of the complex has already cost $4.1 million from the Community Preservation fund.
Diane Campbell, chairwoman of the Hanover Community Preservation Act Committee, said in an interview Friday that she felt ambivalent at first about the decision to allocate more money to the project. “It’s going to look controversial,” she said. “The issue is not the use of the money; the issue is we already gave them $5 million. This is a CPA project. I really don’t like giving them more money, but we want to finish this project and finish it well.”
According to Campbell, the project has changed hands from the Department of Public Works to former selectman Dan Pallotta, who owns a private construction company and has volunteered his services. The hand-over has necessitated a review of the original plans and accounting for changes in the cost of materials since the project was first proposed in 2006.
Clarkson said that when the project was first proposed, the total estimated cost was $6 million, but that the town appropriated the money over years, granting $2.5 million in 2007 and $1.6 million in 2009.“Essentially, this is a $6 million project that has been built for $4.1 million,” he said. “The town elected rather than build it all at once, to do sort of a slow barn-raising and approach it step-by-step, using town labor and town oversight.”
In this round of funding, project coordinators had originally asked for $482,000 from the CPA committee, but in talks with town officials, they whittled the cost down to a $240,000 petition.
Clarkson said the Community Preservation Act fund will still cover dugouts, scoreboards, and landscaping, but the town will use its operating budget to cover infrastructure costs like water facilities.
“Washington could learn a lesson from how Hanover has approached this funding request,” Clarkson said.
Cara Bayles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.