Letter to the Editor: Support Bedford Athletes by Replacing Sabourin Field Turf

Submitted by Kevin Dickert, Chair, Bedford Youth Soccer Association

The Bedford Youth Soccer Association supports the town meeting article to replace and upgrade the artificial turf on Sabourin Field.

Sabourin is Bedford’s only artificial turf field and the only soccer field with lights.  Bedford Youth Soccer has more than 650 participants every season from pre-K programs through high school aged teams.  Sabourin field is a critical resource to Bedford’s soccer program, especially in the fall when shorter days preclude practices on fields without lights.  Failure to replace the artificial turf would eliminate Sabourin Field as a practice field for Bedford Youth Soccer since a grass field would need to be protected for BHS athletics.  That would leave the outfields of baseball fields at Page and E Fields as the only places for our soccer teams to practice under lights. 

We acknowledge that when the artificial turf was first installed, there was an expectation that rental fees would cover the maintenance on the field, including replacement.  However, over the past 10 years, use by town teams and organization has been so high that there has not been time to rent out to non-town organizations – when driving on Railroad Ave at night, it’s not unusual to see the lights on and activities happening on Sabourin field as late as 9:30 or 10:00, whether it’s late practices for youth sports, or pick-up soccer for adults.

Field availability is already an issue in Bedford as the population of youth athletes grows.  In springtime alone, Sabourin Field is scheduled with practices or games non-stop from 2:30 to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. While our focus is on soccer, we acknowledge the benefit that an artificial turf field with lights brings to town across a number of sports including lacrosse, flag football, field hockey, and track and field (events like the softball throw). Without a turf field, all of these sports would need to find other locations for practices and games – with Bedford’s current set of fields, that would likely be an impossible task, meaning that some of these programs would need to be scaled back or eliminated.

To provide as many opportunities as possible across all sports for our town’s athletes, youth, high school, and adult, we urge you to vote “yes” on the Capital Expenditures article to replace and upgrade the turf at Sabourin Field.

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The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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