DRACUT — It has been almost a month since Town Meeting approved the purchase of a 15-acre parcel on Lakeview Avenue to be used for recreational fields.
Officials are now in the process of drawing up a request for proposal with the aim of hiring a designer to bring ball fields, basketball courts and a playground to what is known as the Canney Farm land. Voters agreed to purchase the land, as well as an adjoining parcel on which a house now sits, from developer and Lowell City Councilor Alan Kazanjian for $1.42 million, using money from the Community Preservation Fund.
The request for proposals is the first step in the process.
“We are looking for somebody who has the ability and experience in laying out and designing a park,” said Town Manager Dennis Piendak, adding that the town could receive more than a dozen proposals. “The next step would be to evaluate the proposals, select one and negotiate a fee.”
Once that is accomplished, Piendak said, the details of the park can be worked out, but not until then.
A conceptual plan presented at Town Meeting would be included in the request for proposals, but an architect or a designer would be able to modify the concept somewhat. The candidate would also be required to submit a qualification sheet, listing work experience, insurance coverage and references.
The designer would also be required to take the project through the permitting process. In the case of the Canney property, much of the permitting would involve the Conservation Commission.
“The first step is actually easier than we thought it would be,” said Selectman James O’Loughlin, who sits on the design subcommittee. “We’re basically just asking people to come in and give us their credentials.”
The subcommittee agreed that the request for proposals should be drawn up by July 15 and advertised by July 21. Brian Bond, a member of the subcommittee, pointed out that the deadline for the purchase-and-sale agreement is Dec. 15, and the process needs to move forward as soon as possible. A designer would not be chosen until sometime in August.
A conceptual design plan, prepared by K & M Land Consultants, calls for a senior-league baseball field, three basketball courts, a practice field for soccer, lacrosse and football, walking paths, a concession stand with restrooms, a small playground and ample parking. The plan also calls for lighting.
Town Meeting approved the expenditure of $1.34 million for the property in November. Over the winter, it was determined that the property was appraised at less than Town Meeting agreed to pay. The new figure now includes $1.02 million for the 15-acre parcel, $250,000 for the parcel containing the house, $100,000 for design costs and $50,000 to bond the project.