Survey Coming Your Way!
Westford’s Parks and Recreation Dept and Matrix Consulting have developed a survey to gather residents input on recreation in Westford. The survey has been mailed to 2000 randomly selected Westford households. If your household receives the survey please take a few minutes to complete it and mail it back. The survey should arrive at the end of the week of July 24th.
The results of the survey will be used to help determine the direction of a feasibility study which Town Meeting authorized a $100K for in March of 2017.
Town meeting approved the $100K funding request for a feasibility study. Prior to moving forward with a feasibility study the Parks and Rec Commission and Parks and Rec Dept are in the process of awarding a contract to a consulting firm to conduct a statistically valid random survey of Westford residents. The survey will be used to confirm the public input received during the recreation master plan. There was some concern that the input gathered during the master plan represented the interests of only a small subset of the Westford population.
The 2017 annual Town Meeting will include under Article 7, a request of $100,000 for the purpose of conducting a needs assessment and feasibility study for an indoor recreation center that includes an aquatic component, gymnasium, fitness, rowing tank training, community meeting room space and classrooms for programs. The need for this study was identified as part of the 2016 Recreation Master Plan.
This request was originally going to be funded with CPA money approved at the special town meeting last fall. Unfortunately it was determined that CPA funds may not be used for anything related to indoor recreation so the request for funds was rescinded. Because of that the Parks and Recreation Commission requested funding for the study out of the general fund. The Selectmen are in support of this funding request and we hope town meeting also approves it.
It has recently been determined by the town's legal counsel that Community Preservation funds may not be used for the purpose of conducting a feasibility study for an indoor recreation facility. As a result of this news it is almost certain that the request for CPA funds will be withdrawn by the Parks and Rec Dept/Commission.
However this does not mean that a feasibility study will not happen. It is possible that a capital request may be made and funding requested at the 2017 annual town meeting.
2016 Special Town Meeting - Oct 17 Abbot School. 7:30 PM
There are two articles on the town meeting warrant that need your support. Article 8 is to allow the town to enter into a lease agreement that will provide temporary office and programming space for the recreation dept. This space is at the old Courier building at 22 Old Farm Rd. Having this space will allow the recreation dept to move out of the basement of the fire station and provide greater opportunities for recreation programming.
Article 11 is the CPA article which will request voters support the allocation of CPA funds for the recreation center feasibility study. Without this funding and the subsequent study chances of having Westford build a new recreation center will be slim to none so it is important that this article passes.
Please vote YES on both article 8 and 11.
We need 200 voters to start the town meeting. It should be over pretty quickly (< 2 hrs) so please come and urge your friends to attend as well.
On August 23rd, the Community Preservation Committee voted unanimously in support of the Parks and Rec Commission's request of $125K for a rec center feasibility study. Next step is town meeting approval on Oct 17th at 7 pm. Please come vote in support of the funding request at town meeting.
Following the recommendation of Westford’s 2016 Recreation Master Plan, Westford’s Parks and Recreation Commission has submitted a request for Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to develop a Recreation Center Feasibility Study for Westford.
Allocation of CPA funds follows a two part process. First the application for funds is reviewed by the town’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC) and if approved by the CPC, the request is then placed on the town meeting warrant. The CPC will be reviewing the Parks and Rec Commission’s request for funds on August 23, 2016. If passed by the CPC the funding request will be on the Special Town Meeting warrant for October.
How you can help!
Please take a minute to support the request for CPA funds by sending an email or snail mail of support by August 21st to:
Jesse Beyer, CPA, CGA
Assistant Town Accountant/Finance & Budget Analyst
55 Main St
Westford, MA 01886
Points that you can mention in your letter of support:
1) The 2016 Recreation Master Plan recommended that Westford conduct a feasibility study.
2) Funding for the 2016 Recreation Master Plan was provided by CPA funds. CPA funds have been consistently used for feasibility studies. In the past three years, communities such as North Andover, Lexington, Wareham, and Wayland, to name a few, have used CPA funds for feasibility studies.
3) Benefits of a recreation center
- Promote health and wellness through recreational, fitness, and educational programming to a multi-generational population
- Job creation
- An economic stimulus for local businesses and partnership opportunities for businesses to offer services at the center
- New business attraction
- Year-round boost to tourism and leisure retail industry
- Provide recreation services to financially challenged residents
- A catalyst for improving community togetherness
- Reduction in health problems and costs
- Teen recreation opportunities
- Increased property values and tax revenues
- After school opportunities for children
- Make Westford an even better place to live!
It is important that the CPC realizes that the community is behind this initiative and your email/letter of support will help demonstrate that Westford residents want to see this study happen.
More Info on the Recreation Center Feasibility Study
The Recreation Master Plan calls for Westford to develop a needs assessment and feasibility study for an indoor recreation center that includes an aquatic component, gymnasium, fitness, rowing tank training, community meeting room space and classrooms for recreation and community programming. An additional component that the master plan did not identify, but has since become a priority issue, was the need for long term office space for Westford’s Parks and Recreation Department. The Parks and Recreation Department’s prior home at 35 Town Farm Rd had numerable safety and health issues and was closed in April of 2016.
A tentative high level scope of work for the study could include:
- Evaluate the nature, scale and economics of constructing an indoor recreation center within Westford
- Identify the potential audience/supporting membership of an indoor recreation center within Westford
- Assess what amenities/programming would be most logical to provide as part of a recreation center
- Explore the physical characteristics of various sites on which the recreation center could be constructed
- Outline the associated administration, maintenance and operational costs associated with the recreation center’s potential construction and programming
- Evaluate potential funding sources available to support short-term and long-term recreation center alternatives
- Determine feasibility of public/private partnerships for development & operation of a recreation center
A big thank you to all those who came out last Thursday to Westford's Strategic Planning Retreat. The retreat this year set a new attendance record of close to 300 attendees. A large portion of those attending participated in the recreation planning small group break session. Members of the Parks and Recreation Department, Parks and Recreation Commission, and Westford Friends of Recreation facilitated an interactive exercise in which session participants were asked to design a recreation center for the town. The groups were very enthusiastic and some excellent ideas came up and great suggestions were made.
An example of one groups design:
All the designs will be digitized and made available on the town's website.
If there are only two things you can do to help with the Rec Center Campaign this year, attending Westford's Strategic Planning Retreat should be one of them (the other being to attend special Town Meeting in the fall). This year's Strategic Planning Retreat will be held at Kimball Farm on June 16, 2016 at 5:30 PM. The focus of this year's retreat is to get feedback on several large capital projects that are in the works or have been proposed. One of those proposed projects is a recreation center for Westford. This is a perfect opportunity for residents to show their support for improving recreation in Westford. We had a great turn out during the development of the recreation master plan. That interest has in turn provided the impetus for conducting a feasibility study for a rec center in Westford. Please come and show your support for a rec center by attending the planning retreat. Free food and ice cream are an added bonus! Registration is free.
Please register in advance here http://www.westfordma.gov/sprregistration
- 5:15 - 5:30 Registration
- 5:30 – 5:40 Welcome and opening remarks
- 5:40 – 6:30 Overview of proposed large Capital/Facility Projects
- 6:30 – 7:10 Dinner / Poster Exhibits
- 7:10 – 8:00 Facilitated discussions sessions (4)
- 8:00 – 8:10 Ice cream break
- 8:10 – 8:30 Final session - Facilitator report/closing statements
Westford Recreation Center Feasibility Study Information Session
Stony Brook Middle School
Tuesday, May 17th or Monday, May 23rd
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Join representatives from Westford's Parks and Recreation Commission and learn about Westford's Parks and Recreation Dept, the recently completed Recreation Master Plan, and how residents can help with improving Westford's recreation facilities.
Information sessions will be held at the Stony Brook School Auditorium, 9 Farmer Way, from 7:30 to 9 PM on Tuesday May 17th and Monday May 23rd. Please come and learn about how you can help improve recreational opportunities for Westford residents.
The Town of Westford is conducting a public survey as it prepares to update its Open Space and Recreation Plan. Having a current approved Plan will make the Town eligible for State grants for conservation and recreation. Public input is essential in order for the Plan to represent the interests of the community. Survey respondents may elect to be entered into a drawing for prizes from area businesses for several lucky winners. All responses will remain anonymous.
Please note that this is a different and separate survey from the one that you may have previously completed for the Town’s Recreation Master Plan.
Why is this important to supporters of a recreation center for Westford? In the survey there is a question (#7) which asks "What additional recreation facilities do you think Westford needs?". Answering the survey and this question in particular is a great way to show public support for improved recreation facilities in Westford.
Please take the survey online here:
The survey is quite quick and easy to complete.