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Parks & Rec roundup: Concern about PFAS might delay Fruit Street turf replacement

by | Jan 13, 2022 | Featured: News, News

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Parks & Recreation Commission discussed a possible delay to the Fruit Street fields turf replacement project as well as Town Common requests and EMC Park updates.

Regarding the Fruit Street fields, Chair Dan Terry reported that he and consultant Kathy Hervol of Gale Associates presented an application to the Conservation Commission to determine whether engineering work was necessary to satisfy commission requirements. The Conservation Commission responded with a request to broaden the scope of the application to determine if the water beneath the fields is contaminated with PFAS, a group of chemicals that has been found in one of the town’s wells on Fruit Street.

Although there is not yet evidence to suggest that the site is problematic, Terry noted that the field is indeed within a zone for a well that has tested positive for PFAS. The town’s engineering firm, Weston & Sampson, will be evaluating the situation. “We’re formulating questions for that engineer to determine what should be done as we pull up the field and put down another field to consider for water supply,” Terry said.

The report is expected to be completed by the end of the month, at which point next steps would be determined. Although the study and its results have the potential to delay the turf project, the commission intends to continue moving forward with other elements of the project while it awaits further information.

Parks & Recreation Department Director Jay Guelfi confirmed that the department has $350,000 to contribute toward turf replacement. Guelfi also shared that he presented the project to the Capital Improvement Committee last week — a presentation that he believes was well received and resulted in few concerns or questions.

EMC Park updates shared

The Hopkinton Cultural Council requested permission to create three to five more murals on additional fence panels at EMC Park. The commission approved the request, and the content will be subject to review by the group prior to installation. The artwork would be completed this summer.

Guelfi also shared that new playground equipment has been installed at EMC Park; a “rocket ship”-type structure that includes a climbing rope has taken the place of a tire swing. Guelfi also noted that the department will be replacing all of the park’s board timbers with rebar once they are able to secure the material.

Town Common requests approved

Hopkinton PolyArts, the annual festival that features regional artisans, crafters and local nonprofits, was granted a permit to use the Town Common on Sept. 10.

The Hopkinton Public Library’s request to use the Town Common for two upcoming events also was approved. On May 14, the library will host Hopkinton 101, a community-building event in which other town departments and local nonprofits can share information, give short presentations and recruit volunteers. On July 16, the library will host a concert on the Town Common featuring female jazz musicians.

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