Plans move forward for Boyle Athletic Complex

Plans move forward for Boyle Athletic Complex

Negotiations begin for salt barn property

SMITHFIELD – Overdue renovations on the Smithfield running track and football field may happen soon after the Town Council on Tuesday approved architectural and engineering services for the Boyle Athletic Field and Complex.

The firm Edward Rowse Architects, for $50,740, was chosen to complete stage 2 architectural and engineering services. According to details in the bid, Smithfield schools would like to convert the existing natural turf football field within the track to synthetic turf and replace the six-lane track with an eight-lane track.

Designs would incorporate field event areas within the complex to accommodate triple and long jumps, shot put, discus, high jump and throwing events. Also included in designs are ADA-compliant bleachers, though the location of the bleachers is not yet confirmed.

The district also suggested adding parking and new pedestrian pathways for consideration in the designs.

Existing lighting will be re-used.

Supt. Judy Paolucci said the town and School Department are collaborating to ensure renovations can be realized with minimal to no additional borrowing or tax impact. Paolucci said she completed the stage I application without any paid support.

“The stage II application, which is more involved, will include a thorough review of what options the town may consider in the redesign and renovations,” Paolucci said.

She said Stage II will be paid using the school’s fund balance, and grants are also being sought for portions of the project.

“Our ambitious goal is to have the project completed by the fall of 2022,” Paolucci said.

According to the bid proposal, the design team, including Pare Corporation and Traverse Landscape Architects, will use stage I plans in preparation for a schematic level of design drawings.

Pare, a company that’s familiar with local zoning and planning requirements after working on the Pleasant View Elementary School project, will review underground utility information and conduct site observations among other work. Pare will also help in submitting plans following stage II checklists.

Traverse will provide color graphics and renderings for plans, as well as perspectives for marketing the plan.

The Boyle Athletic Complex has long been a source of scrutiny by residents for its deteriorated condition.

In November 2019, Paolucci told the School Committee that the track and football field could no longer support athletic events due to its condition.

At the time, the Athletics Capital Committee estimated the project to cost approximately $3.3 million, which included everything in the current bid and additional items including a press box and a scoreboard. A new concession stand and bathroom were removed to come to those estimates.

In other important action Tuesday, the Town Council approved entering negotiations to sell its salt barn property at 999 Douglas Pike to developer Richard Conti for $2,155,000.

Town Planner Michael Phillips said the town sent out a request for proposals to purchase the property after receiving several inquiries about the parcel. Smithfield purchased the property in 2010 for approximately $1 million, using the salt barn for several years.

Eventually, the town stopped using the facility and in 2015, demolished the building at the corner of Routes 7 and 116. Phillips said the town received two proposals and found Conti’s offer to be a better deal due to it being higher and due to his ownership of an adjacent property. Both of the properties are located in the town’s Economic Growth Overlay district.

Conti couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on his plans for the property.

Town Manager Randy Rossi said the funds from a sale will go toward the remaining balance owed on the property, and the council will decide where the rest goes.

Conti made news last year after applying for the town’s potential fifth Class A liquor license to build a liquor store, the Northern RI Liquor Warehouse, at 970 Douglas Pike.

The council tabled the item after residents expressed concerns about it being offered to Conti without offering other applicants a chance to apply. Sen. Stephen Archambault introduced legislation to overturn the proposed fifth license last August, citing constituents’ concerns that it may negatively impact the other liquor licenses in town.