An appreciative James DeVellis beamed with pride at Foxborough’s Special Town Meeting Tuesday following the town’s approval of the proposed turf field project.
For DeVellis and other members of the Turf’s Up committee, Tuesday’s 260-129 vote in favor of building a turf field at Foxborough High School was the culmination of four years of hard work dedicated to a vision inspired by the town’s youth.
“I was appreciative that the town shared the sentiment and passion that many have had working on this [proposal],” DeVellis said Wednesday. … “We do not take [Tuesday’s vote of approval] for granted and appreciate it that much more when the residents, businesses and community work together towards something.”
DeVellis said he hopes this project is something the community can be proud of because it was the support from many different groups in town that made this project possible.
“This will be something that many people should be proud of,” DeVellis said. “Some look at this as just a field, but from the perspective of different groups, private and public working together to accomplish something special that neither could do on their own will hopefully lend itself to a process that can be built upon for other future projects.”
While proponents for the turf field project voiced a need for additional fields in town and a desire to provide something special for Foxborough’s youth, those opposed of the project were concerned of the financial impact the turf field would have on other capital projects down the road.
DeVellis said he understood the concerns, admitting he is “always apprehensive” when any capital project is proposed in town and appreciated the support the project received.
“I think that people saw the need and importance of this community project and were willing to invest their money in it and appreciated that the families and businesses also brought a sizable contribution,” DeVellis said.
Turf’s Up was able to raise $419,000 of the $1.6 million needed for the project through an NFL grant, fundraising and donation of services. The remaining funds were appropriated Tuesday. Voters agreed Tuesday to transfer the $1 million remaining in the high school renovation bond, $75,000 from the school department’s building use revolver account and $125,000 from the town’s overlay surplus account.
“We enjoyed helping the school committee and it is special when so many come together to support something that is a building block for many groups,” DeVellis said. “Basically it comes down to Turf’s Up being awarded a $200,000 grass roots community initiative grant, which we then worked to more than double with donations and sweat equity and then the town stepped up to say, ‘thank you’ and ‘we would like to help finish it off and we can all share it.’”
DeVellis said he and Turf’s Up have a tremendous appreciation for the money the town chose to spend Tuesday because the turf field project began in the “worst of economic times.”
“Starting this project when we did [four years ago] has taken its toll and given us a better appreciation for what we are asking,” DeVellis said. “Everyone on our committee feels the stress and many are working two jobs and some have been laid off.”
But providing the community’s youth with the benefit of an additional public field – and the town’s first turf – made the hard work and sacrifice worth it for at least 260 residents on Tuesday.
“I look forward to seeing the kids on the field next year,” DeVellis said. “It has been a long time for Foxborough and this allows us to catch up a little [with other towns] and stay competitive [in athletics].”
Schools Chief Thrilled for Foxborough’s Youth
Foxborough Schools Superintendent Debra Spinelli said Tuesday’s vote of approval for the turf field project reminded her why “there is no better place to live and work in than Foxborough.”
“On behalf of the school department, I want to thank the Turf’s Up committee for their hard work over the past four years, as well as all the people who came to Town Meeting to take the time to discuss and debate the merits of the Turf Field project,” Spinelli said. “I appreciate everyone's perspective and know that people put a great deal of thought into why they decided to support this project at this time.”
Spinelli called the turf field project is a “wonderful example of a true community project” because of the many groups in town that got involved to provide something special to the town’s youth.
“[The project was started] by a group of local volunteers with a good idea, a healthy dose of energy, and the simple desire to do something good for kids,” Spinelli said. “It goes to show what a town can do when people work together. In the end, I believe this was a decision made with both the head and the heart. It doesn't get better than that.”
For more on the turf field project passing Special Town Meeting, click here.