Board accepts open space for athletic fields

The borough is planning to build  athletic fields on this land off of Osborn Road and Wisteria Drive in the Apple Hill Estates subdivision. –LUKE MARSHALL
The borough is planning to build athletic fields on this land off of Osborn Road and Wisteria Drive in the Apple Hill Estates subdivision. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Despite the freezing temperatures outside, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses had baseball on its mind Tuesday night.

The board officially voted to accept a 7.3-acre parcel of open space at the Apple Hill Estates subdivision. The plan is to build a full-sized baseball field and soccer field on the property with lights on the land off of Osborn Road and Wisteria Drive.

The land was deeded to the borough as open space as part of the approval process for the subdivision.

Deputy Mayor Robert Neth asked whether the baseball field would be a full-sized field or designed for little league teams.

May N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the field will ultimately be a full-sized one, but right field needs to be extended with additional fill in order to make it the proper size and prevent the ball from going down the steep hill adjacent to the field.

“The plan is that we will build a temporary Fenway Park wall in right field, fill behind it, and we will move the wall when the fill is in,” Hess said.

The driveway and parking lot for the field will be accessed near the cul-de-sac on Osborn Road.

The reason the parking lot will come off of Osborn Road rather than Wisteria Drive, which is at the other side of the field, is that the borough wants to put the baseball diamond as far away from the proposed houses as possible, Public Works Director James Stewart said.

“We didn’t want to have people drive all around the field and we wanted to park people behind the diamond, as opposed to in the line where the balls are flying,” Stewart said.

The parking lot is planned to hold up to 26 vehicles, Stewart said. Vehicles will also be able to park along the cul-de-sac on Wisteria Drive, but there will be no parking spaces laid out.

The borough is planning to light the field using the old lights from Naugatuck High School, which were replaced during the renovation project the school underwent.

“We are funded at this point in the budget to relocate the old lights at the high school up to that field. There’s not enough to complete the lights and make them function, but enough to erect them at this point,” Stewart said. “We feel that is important so when people move into the houses they know what they are moving in next to.”

Stewart said he was waiting on approval from the Zoning Commission before moving forward with erecting the lights, but said that he would put out the request for proposals soon.

Hess said it would be in the borough’s best interest if the field was able to move along quickly.

“History has proven that delaying projects like this has not done well for the town. So we want to pursue this as soon as possible and have the field in before the houses are built and the people who buy there will know they are buying next to a ball field,” Hess said.