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Oxford Voters Approve $3.1 Million Field Proposal

Oxford High School will get a new synthetic turf and track after voters approved the project at referendum Thursday.


Five years after Oxford High School opened to students, the school will finally get an athletic complex.

The plans fell in place tonight when Oxford voters approved a $3.1 million proposal by a vote of 1,321 to 820. About 25% of voters turned out for the referendum today at the lone polling station at .

"All along they said, 'Let the people speak.' Well the people have spoken. Now it's time to go on to building our field," said Selectman Jeff Haney.

A ceremonial groundbreaking is expected to take place on Monday.

Background

The proposal includes a synthetic turf field where students could play football, soccer or possibly lacrosse and field hockey one day if the school gets the two latter sports. The field will be surrounded by an eight-lane track. The proposal includes bleachers, lights and a press box. It does not include a field house or a concession stand.

The field will be constructed across the street from the pool and diagonal from the softball and baseball fields. All told, the project will take about four months, said Jim Galligan, town engineer.

The turf will be under warranty for 10 years, though officials say they expect it will last about 14 or 15 years.

The town will pay for the project through a 20-year bond, which would add about .16 mills to the tax rate. Jim Hliva, the town’s finance director, said that equates to an increase of about $35 a year in taxes for the average taxpayer as the town could get a low interest rate, between 2 percent and 2.5 percent a year, on the bond.

Haney, the driving force behind the most recent field proposal, told Patch last month that he firmly believed a majority of residents support the plan.

“The time is right,” he said. “Interest rates are low, this needs to get done. If not now, when?...I just look at these facilities that we have for our kids, and they are not adequate,” he said. “Our track team doesn’t have a track. Our cross country team doesn’t have a course. Our football team (and soccer teams) plays in mud and the fields get flooded."

Will Wilkin August 17, 2012 at 01:29 PM
EOB was a great school when I attended. I had zero interest in athletics and don't even know if that track was built yet. But a few years later I started running and that EOB rubber track is such an awesome running surface! best times for me were on that track. Seymour's gravel track was also good enough though, I enjoyed the simulated trail conditions. The only advice I have for any new runners is to stay off the road or any pavement as much as possible for the long-term sake of your knees. I only run on trails now, though I'm sure I'll check out the OHS track after its built.
Dog Lover August 17, 2012 at 01:36 PM
To E Twig, the field is not being built on the old field, if that is what it could be called. Coming into OHS driveway, it will be on the left side adjacent to the parking lot.
James Property LLC August 17, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Well I didn't make it over the hole @ the door and twisted my ankle. But hay they got their field! SMH
James Property LLC August 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Oh but Roc you do realize you will most likely have to Pay to use it right. Just like the pool.
New to Town August 17, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Roc, I've only lived in town for about a year, but I suppose I'm a part of the city folk to whom you're referring. We moved to Oxford because it seemed like, and is, a nice place to raise a family. A field for high school kids and for the town is a positive step. Our taxes are almost always going to increase. Of course we shouldn't spend carelessly, but improving Oxford for the next generation isn't a careless activity. It's upsetting to see so many people on this board sniping at each other. A referendum is about as democratic as you can get. One side won, and one lost. Now let's pull together.
Lisa August 17, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Amen... Will, Well said!!!
Get Real August 17, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Best of luck to all you will be using the new field, track and throwing areas. As I remember it, the old "practice" field was built to be just that at the price the taxpayers approved under the original high school plan. It was never intended to be the final football/soccer field. So, it could only be built to the monetary standards that the taxpayers set for it. If this is incorrect, please fill us all in. As for "Me", I think Ed hit the nail on the head with his summation.
Kenn Maher August 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I was not for the field but more voted for than against. Next timea vote comes up get to the polls. It's called democracy. Learn to accept dissapointment! Now maybe George can concentrate on what he was elected to do.When I find out I'll let you know. What's next George? Maybe bringing some business into town like you promised.
Undercover Poe August 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM
This is great news. The next famous Olypmian might be growing up in the town of Oxford and really need this field!!!!
Gandalf the Grey August 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
All the people in the greens complain that their taxes are too high. You are in fact living in a senior community that most people in this town are not of age to live in. So of course your taxes are going to be higher you should have known that going into it. The constant complaining isn't necessary
OWF2012 August 17, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Lololol you guys talk about how we already have a field. Excuse me while I point out the fact that for my first two years of high school, we practiced on a field that was 1. A hill, 2. Had random holes that could twist ankles at any given moment, and 3. had a random ass sand pit at midfield. We REDID the WHOLE field, and it still was pretty bad. We got our game field, which might I add, was done very poorly. I also used to play soccer when I was younger, and I will say, little imperfections in the grass, is a female dog to deal with, it's not fun. Our football and soccer teams deserve to play on real fields, just like how every other team does. Go visit brookfield high school, they have about 4 turf fields, and grass field space too, I don't hear them complaining about taxes. their parents go to the games and support the kids. So do the town a favor, and stop bitching, this is for the greater good of everyone, now I can go back to my high school and run on a real track, and workout on a real field, I don't have to run on roads with no sidewalks, or go to a different towns high school field to do what I have to do.. CLASS OF 2012 ;)
Henry Palmieri August 17, 2012 at 05:26 PM
The way this town handles its projects, its no wonder people are bitter. First we pay for a field to be built, its built wrong and there's no accountability. NO ONE even seems to mention this!!!! How easily we forget, I could go on and on but why bother the Nieves will always be led like the sheep that they are. And those of us who are just to disgusted to care anymore should do the right thing and move on to a town that has its s---t together. (believe it or not they do exist)
Ed Rowland August 17, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Mom in Oxford, While you may consider O'Brien Tech a non traditonal High school that has bodyshops,hair salons and catering kitchens,it is really much more than that.The Ct.Trade schools turn out some of the best tradesmen and trsdeswomen in the state.There are machine shops,electrical shops,plumbing shops along with hvac as well as carpentry shops.The graduates not only enter the trades but many students go on to college and do very well in academics.You almost sound condesending but hopefully you are not.No offense.
Mom in Town August 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Ed, I'm talking about allocating funds. You just said the same thing I did. Tech schools have all of these other avenues for spending that traditional public high schools do not. Therefore public high schools usually allocate more towards athletics. I'm not really sure where I mentioned academics or college or how that would apply to the conversation at hand. I certainly didn't mean to sound condescending.
Connecticut Yankee August 17, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Thanks to those who took the time to vote. The final tally says more about apathy than who was for or against building the fields. C'mon, folks, the right to vote and play a role in governing what happens to you and your community is a wonderful privilege. Vote!
Ed Rowland August 17, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Hi Mom,I was going off your apples to apples comment.As far as I know the allocation of funds is done through the St.BOE.There have been huge cutbacks on that level as well as town levels.It is a tough thing to have to make cutbaks on education.While I am not a big fan of athletics I can understand why some were pushing for this.As I said earlier good luck with construction.Sorry if I offended you Mom.Not my intent.Enjoy the afternoon.
Tanya Carver August 17, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Connecticut Yankee, I couldn't agree with you more. It was a great turnout and a gorgeous day. As Dave McKane said it best with his comment to Paul Singley (Editor of the Oxford Patch) and Quannah Leonard (Reporter for Republican American) "You are seeing a truly a bipartisan project, in the 20+ years I have not seen Democrats, Republicans and Independents working together under the same tent in favor of the same project" (Dave, I apologize if I am misquoting you, it is not verbatim, but it's what I can recall.) Thank you Lila Ferrillo, Chair of the BOF, and to Paula Guillet, Chair of the BOE, for your support. As a parent whose child had two close calls with being hit by vehicles, I am happy to know that Cross Country and Track & Field will now have a safe place to practice. GO WOLVERINES
young phil August 18, 2012 at 12:09 AM
You know folks, it seems there are a lot of opinions on either side of this issue. I for one think maybe this kind of money could be better spent on education. I understand most of the schools in town are working with antiquated technology, dirty classrooms, and generally pretty poor conditions. On the other side of the story, as a former high school athlete I can understand the need or want for a nice track and stadium. Something you can proud of. Also, as a relatively new resident of "the greens" let me tell you most of the people here have plenty of money to afford this very small increase in taxes. Believe me it's no big deal. We spend that much at dinner twice a week. have you seen some of the cars people drive here? I guess in the end it comes down to what makes us all happy. The important thing is we all get along. We are a community after all. So let's chalk this up to a win for the athletes, parents and coaches and move on with our lives. Go wolverines or Indians, or whatever!
Asstastic August 18, 2012 at 01:08 AM
How long will this project take?
Dawn Sotir August 18, 2012 at 02:16 AM
So, Oxford passed their 3.2 million dollar waste of money on a track and field that we really don't need! And the operative word here is "need"! What about using the money on the whole town! Trash pick-up or at least a place to take it, add bathrooms and an office onto the dog shelter where the staff has none, an expansive library and the list goes on! Have you ever heard of grant money? So now I pay for this!? What a waste, and yes I voted no!
Oxford for Truth August 18, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Carver, Funny. David McKane would say he never saw a bipartisan project in 20 years.? WRONG. Both parties came together to build a high school and voted in favor of it. All three selectman. Hate to break it to you, but that was under 10 years ago, not 20. Perhaps politicians like McKane are getting long in the tooth. And you Carver are George Temples #1 fans so you will say and do anything. I call you the Temple Templates. We had the Palmer Puppets Now the Temple Templates, Cookie Cutter to the T.
Oxford for Truth August 18, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Temple Templates, Cookie Cutters
tweety August 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Sad to say but when we moved here I thought Oxford was a nicer place to live than the rest of the valley. What has surprised me is the ongoing childish behaviors from a group of people that don't seem to get that although they think they own this town they don't. The voters have spoken in more ways than one. The old boys club and its benefits are finally gone quit whining and just move on...you had your days now the kids have some too!
Conservative Oxford Citizen August 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I always stand behind a vote and support it after it is done. This is no different. As a Fiscal Conservative I look at this a s a bad investment when we have so many other needs in town that couls produce a return during an economic downturn. We need road repairs to invite more people to invest and move into Oxfor dand increase our tax base from growth not asking everyone in town to pay more when they most likely are not getting cost of living adjustments that make up for increases in gas and food. We need to fix the investments we've made like existing school infrastructures to make the environment safe. We need to consider replacing Center School as it falls apart. We need to think about a modernized Library. But no we go for a Athletic Field that replaces a field that could of been updated to accomodate the town for a time when our income could justify it. A smaller investment in fixing the current fields was not a choice I heard much about. I could be wrong but it woudl have been nice to hear how much that woudl of cost fo rthe safety. But then we would not have stands or lights or a broadcast box. What do those things have to do with the kids and the safety I always heard about. It doesn't. That had to do with the parents. But we got it and I blame the people that did not vote. 75% of the residents who didi not think it was important to get it or not. That means 15% of the residents thought we did need it and 10% did not. What a shame. I look forward to the next election
Freddy Mercury August 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Just try and use that track or field. Oxford's finest will stun gun you and throw you in the pokey. What a town.
pa August 19, 2012 at 01:50 AM
"Student", which I dont think you really are! Sounds like the hoity toity folks that moved into town. BTW, we live in a very woodsy, elevated area with several mountains around us.....run up those for a change.....we needed this field like we need another corrupt tax collector......people who live in glass houses....student, if you dont know the ending, Google it....
CMG August 19, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I bet half the people commenting here didn't even vote. I am a true believer that if you want the right to complain then you must vote or shut up. Also, if you whiners moved into a town that already had a school with athletic fields you wouldn't be complaining. Our kids deserve to have what most high schools have for their sports. Stop being so selfish. I voted yes, I am not rich nor live in a mcmansion, but the kids deserve to have a safe place to practice and host games. Congrats to the Wolverines! Enjoy!
Freddy Mercury August 19, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Phil. The first part of your statement makes sense. I would have rather seen the money go towards a decent library that everyone could use. A synthetic field and track are a little over the top. People should put a little more thought into things before they vote. BTW I drive an old Chevy Cavalier with 190,000 miles on it.
Me August 20, 2012 at 02:58 AM
I am very seasoned in the art of smart, reasonable, and pratical thinking. I can see the forest from the trees. I understand fear with risk, but weigh the risk against not only the potential return but the potential impact if chose to forego the act. I just looked at something the school will need to eventually to address: today or in the very near future. The short life span of the current fields needed to be addressed. While I understand the concerns of the economy you stated above, the prudent thing to do is to address the problem while it's going to cost us "X" dollars vs waiting till our backs are against the proverbial wall, forced to address the problem, where it may cost "1.5X" or "2X" dollars for the exact same product. That to me, is not being smart with our money, it's foolish. At the end of the day, shy of eliminating the need for the fields (i.e. doing away with the athletic programs), the fields needed to be addressed. So while, yes, people are worried about this cost being added to our yearly taxes in this economy, would they be any more receptive to pay "2X today's value" in a marginally better economy? Me thinks not. The problem needs to be addressed eventually, while not palatable to some, at least you have an opportunity to keep the cost minimal. Bottom line pay today $35/yr or pay in 3 years $50/yr+/-. Either way there is a problem with an unavoidable expense. I am one taxpayer who voted for the fields who will never get any use out of them.
Me August 20, 2012 at 03:17 AM
There are times when chastising is needed more than coddling and more beneficial, too. I have absolutely zero interest in political life. I don't even know how you came to that thought. The luxury of being an independent, I could care less in politics or who is in office. Just elect people who are more focused on being successful than "right" and we should fair well. Besides, while the Town would benefit from my sensibility and knowledge, it would not benefit from my demeanor; therefore, little collaboration and cohesiveness amongst players would be seen. So unless the Town wants a dictator who would make them successful, then I am not your person, so I will leave the group dynamics to better leaders than me. As far as unemployment creeping back up, looking at BLS.gov (a cited source - hint, hint) today, I would say it has more plateaued out nationally than is creeping up. Between Jan to July of this year it has been as high as 8.3% and as low as 8.1%. But what do I know? It's only reading factual data vs believing in the propaganda being advertised for the election.

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