Parks & Rec weighs options regarding Fruit Street athletic field turf replacement

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The Parks & Recreation Commission met briefly on Wednesday evening and discussed the maintenance and possible repair of the synthetic turf at the athletic fields off Fruit Street.

“The commission agreed to have Tom Irwin Advisors come to perform testing on the Fruit Street synthetic turf,” said Parks & Recreation director Jay Guelfi. “We are going through the process now of determining how to proceed going forward.”

The firm specializes in the maintenance and sustainability of parks and outdoor recreation areas, according to its website.

Guelfi described the situation as “a fork in the road.”

“We need to decide whether we should go through with replacing the turf or if there can be maintenance to keep it useful for a few more years,” he said.

At a Parks & Rec meeting last month, Guelfi said a consultant advised that the turf was likely to last “another year or two” at maximum. The turf was installed when the field was constructed in 2010 and was expected to last 8-12 years, he noted.

A consultant will come out in July to do “a variety of tests” on the current surface to determine the wear and tear. After that, a representative from Tom Irwin Advisors will provide a report to the commission with its recommendations.

“We have made real progress on this issue,” Guelfi said.

Summer activities

Guelfi noted that summer activities will be in full swing starting next week.

“Starting on Saturday, Sandy Beach will be open for the first time for seven days a week,” he said, noting that residential stickers are required for access to the beach.

“All of the sports and activities on the playgrounds will begin next week as well,” he added.

The most popular programming choices have been archery and tennis. Some activities are filled or near capacity, so Guelfi encouraged residents to check the department’s website at hopkintonma.myrec.com for information.

“Jenny Hart and Colleen Allen, our coordinators, have been constantly searching for new programming to offer,” Guelfi said. “We never expected the archery program to be so popular. There has also been a big increase in the number of people interested in tennis.”

If activities are filled, Guelfi said that people will be put on a waiting list in case openings arise.