Lower Gile Turf

While all parties involved agree that Lower Gile athletic field needs a major makeover, a turf battle of sorts is brewing over the plans.

A group of neighbors calling themselves “Grass for Gile” is calling for plans to install up-to-date artificial turf to be scuttled and the grass field to be reconstructed.

They said their request is based on environmental concerns and have asked the Parks and Recreation Department to change its plans for the heavily-used multi-sport field.

The project has been planned for years and received the $2.4 million funding it needed at Town Meeting in June, but neighbors said they did not learn about the use of artificial turf until June. They brought their complaints to the Select Board in the form of a 15-minute presentation on Aug. 10.

No resolution was reached among board members but after a discussion, some members of the Select Board told Parks and Recreation officials and the neighbors to work together to find a compromise.

Parks Manager Kevin Chrisom said that design plans for the project are being re-evaluated and could be ready next month.

He said the plans had previously been reviewed by the town’s Capital Improvement Planning Committee and also won support at Town Meeting. 

The town also has held meetings with some individuals in the neighborhood, conducted a community meeting, and has the project as a regular agenda item on posted meetings.

The project also includes improved seating to accommodate 500 spectators, better lighting and sound systems, and a press box, and is badly needed for Milton’s growing population of school-aged children.

Chrisom said the project will also need to undergo Conservation Commission review since the old field encroaches on the wetlands abutting Pine Tree Brook.

Chrisom, who said the field is often wet, told the Select Board that he thought it would be good to have an artificial turf field since Milton already has Donovan Field, a grass field, next to it.

Players, he said, “have to learn to play on both.”

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