Letter to the Editor: Upgrade of Sabourin Field on Town Meeting Warrant

Submitted by Christopher Rucker for the Board of Directors, Bedford Youth Lacrosse

At Town Meeting in March, Bedford voters must decide on replacement of the artificial turf at BHS Sabourin Field as part of the 2024 Capital Expenditures article. 

The Bedford Youth Lacrosse Board of Directors respectfully urges a “yes” vote.

Sabourin Field is the only “all-weather” field in town and is a critical piece of infrastructure, relied on by many hundreds of young athletes. Well past its expected end of life, for safety reasons it must be replaced soon. We strongly believe that replacing the existing turf with more advanced, safer, and more environmentally-friendly artificial materials – for instance, using a thicker shock pad and EnviroFill rather than recycled rubber crumble – is the right choice for Bedford.

Grass fields are easily damaged when wet, and not easily repaired. To protect the fields, during and after hard rains, they must be closed to allow them to dry, usually for at least a full day after the rain stops. Further, many of Bedford’s fields (despite diligent maintenance by town workers) don’t drain well, resulting in muddy quagmires after even light rains. 

This causes missed practices and games, robbing our athletes of development time and playing minutes and putting our teams at a competitive disadvantage. Warmer winters and the typical rains of March, April, and May have an outsized negative effect on our lacrosse and soccer programs.

If we do not replace Sabourin Field with turf, this problem will only get worse. In springtime alone, Sabourin Field is scheduled with practices or games non-stop from 2:30 to 9:00pm on weekdays, 8:00am to 6:00pm on weekends. Bedford Recreation Director Josh Smith explained to the Select Board that replacing Sabourin Field with grass would have a similar cost compared to turf but would result in about 60% less availability than a turf field. Rather than having about 1500 hours of available usage per year, the field would support only about 600 to 700 hours of use – there would be no way to sustain the current usage pattern with a grass field.

And, as Mr. Smith noted at the October 23rd Select Board meeting, “we sometimes feel we don’t have enough fields as it is.” Reduction in availability at Sabourin Field would be absolutely devastating to our youth programs.

We urge you to please join us at Town Meeting, March 25th, 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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