Second Search For Temporary Recreation Home Begins On Wednesday

The Recreation Department needs a new home and the process to find it a temporary home recently stalled. It appears that process is about to reset.

During the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on Monday, it was revealed that a new search for space to house the town’s Recreation Department offices and program space will begin following a meeting on Wednesday.

In that meeting, several members of the Parks and Recreation Committee and Recreation Department will meet with Town Manager Jodi Ross and several members of the Board of Selectmen to discuss search parameters for the new search.

The first search proved unsuccessful after it was revealed that the four submitted locations did not provide a viable location.

In addition to enough square footage and cost, high ceilings will also be needed in order to hold some programs held by the Recreation Department such as basketball and volleyball leagues.

Currently, several sports programs organized by the Recreation Department are hosted inside school gymnasiums.

Kacy Caviston (left) and Chris Barrett at the April 11, 2016 Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting

Kacy Caviston (left) and Chris Barrett at the April 11, 2016 Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting

However, Recreation Department Director Pat Savage told the committee it was becoming more difficult to schedule time within the gyms due to increasing demands from the schools themselves as well as other organizations.

Office space for the department is also required after being forced out of the now officially unsafe-to-enter Town Farm Building.

The Recreation Department is temporarily using the training room at the Rogers Fire Station as office space, just a few hundred feet from Town Farm.

Bids for the temporary space may potentially split office space and program space, or utilize office space for less space intensive activities, such as training areas for the Westford/Littleton Crew rowing team.

Building modular space, comparable to the Millennium School, was discussed as an option as well for the department’s offices. Initial estimates were indicated at approximately $1 million during the meeting.

Although exact costs for the space are still unclear, there was a sense from the committee that not all funding for the space will come from program fees.

“We need space, we’re a town department,” said Kacy Kaviston, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee. “What other departments have to pay for their own space?”

A permanent recreation facility also remains as a goal for a longer time frame, with the committee aiming to acquire funding for a feasibility study during Special Town Meeting in October.