Category Archives: Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation Commission – Did you Know?

Carrigan Park Baseball Field

The Parks & Recreation Commission is an elected group of five individuals. The Commission directs and oversees policies and operations regarding parks and open spaces under their custody as well as recreation programs in town. They also oversee the Parks and Recreation office, consisting of three paid staff members: one director and two program coordinators.

The Hopkinton Parks and Recreation Commission‘s mission is to provide a sustainable parks and recreational program that enhances the quality of life for the Hopkinton community. The Parks and Recreation Commission’s vision is to be the community leader in providing and promoting high quality recreational experiences and park facilities that enhance the lifestyle for residents and visitors of the community. Continue reading Parks and Recreation Commission – Did you Know?

Parks & Rec Candidate Q &A

CandidateComposite-2016-ParksRec

eHop posed the following questions to our Parks & Recreation Commission Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch theHCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

COMMISSIONERS OF PARKS & RECREATION, For 3 years, Vote for 1

Question 1:  What are your top three initiatives or priorities for programming in the next three years?

F. Eric Sonnett: My number One priority is the continuation of the program fee price stability for the next three years.  The Parks and Recreation Commission is an enterprise fund.  The enterprise fund is required to balance revenue verses expenses.  In a perfect world the fees charged for our programs would cover the expenses for the commission.  However, the Parks and Recreation commission has many non-revenue expenses that I feel should be paid for by the town and not the participants in our programs.  The town common’s care and programs such as free concerts are an example.  Should we lose this initiative with the town program fees would rise as much as 30% and some programs would be discontinued.
My number two priority is to expand our current programming to reflect the changing ethnic and age demographics in the town.  Programs should represent all age groups and nationalities.  Think badminton, cricket, bridge and bocce.
My number three priority is to continue to expand the environment to empower citizens and group to develop ideas for new programs.  A dedicated professional staff is in place to help coordinate these initiatives.

Kelly W. Karp: I believe that there is a growing demand for adult athletic programs in Hopkinton. I was instrumental in bringing the Women’s Flag Football League together last year and found that it was not only a fantastic opportunity to exercise and stay fit, but it provided an additional way for people with common interests to meet and socialize. I would love to see the department expand upon these offerings. Secondly, I would like the department to grow their current offering of Community Wellness programs to include stress management, healthy eating, spiritual, emotional and mental wellness activities. I would like to explore the opportunity of utilizing the Town Common for outdoor Yoga and other group fitness activities. Lastly, I would like to explore additional variations of “mommy and me” or “daddy and me” activities that would give parents and young children a chance to bond and interact with a focus on a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Question 2:  Where do you see the greatest investments should be as it pertains to the town’s facilities in the next 5-10 years?

F. Eric Sonnett: The Fruit Street Athletic Complex is the crown jewel of our Parks and Recreation Assets.  This year two new facilities will be built.  Parking and safety enhancements are also planned for this year.  We have the luxury of undeveloped land for future expansion and the need to do so.  By 2020 the housing units in Hopkinton will have increased by 2000 units.  Expansion is not a want but a necessity.  The need for a professional master plan is upon us.
The East Main Street Legacy Farms parcel that will be deeded to the town this year provides the opportunity to develop a masterpiece for the town.  This parcel could include a Marathon Museum, community center, public swimming pool, and athletic fields.  We are only restrained by our imaginations.
Facilities such as the approved dog park are being built and will be state of the art.  We are negotiating with Stanton Foundation to upgrade our dog park to world class status.  EMC Park will be expanded modernized and the Upper Charles Rail Trail will be an integral part of all that we do.

Kelly W. Karp: Long term, I would like Hopkinton to invest in a full-scale community recreation and wellness center including amenities such as an indoor track, basketball courts, racquetball courts, fitness studios, cycling studios, weight room and pool facilities just to name a few. In addition to offering exercise and fitness, I imagine the facility would serve as a community gathering place for fun and entertainment; learning and education and relaxation and would contribute to a healthy lifestyle for all ages. Short term I would like the department to invest in improving the quality and maintenance of some of our fields – specifically the baseball/softball fields at Hopkins and Carrigan Field.

Question 3:  With the Todaro/Irvine property allocation currently being determined, what do you feel is the best (parks & rec) use of this land?

F. Eric Sonnett: I currently serve on the Irvine Todaro Committee representing the Upper Charles Rail Trail Committee.  The number one Parks and Recreation use for this land is the Rail Trail.  That said the process to determine the use will be heavily influenced by the citizens.  A survey for ideas is in process and public information and discussion are planned for this summer and fall.  This will be a bottom up and not a top down process.  Imagination will be unleashed.

Kelly W. Karp: I would like to see the Irvine-Todaro property utilized for trails as a continuation of the Upper Charles Trail Committee’s vision to connect residents to the wide variety of natural resources Hopkinton has to offer. The proximity of the property provides a perfect opportunity to link EMC Park, Center Trail and the Town Common, making an accessible route for waking and biking to downtown and other points of interest in the community. A fully integrated trail system will add tremendous value to our community; it will allow for safe, healthy outdoor recreation as well as cultural and conservation activities.

Question 4:  There remains a lot of discussion around the weed control of Lake Maspenock – what recommendation would you make to the Weed Management and Control Advisory Group to evoke a timely and mutually beneficial resolution?

F. Eric Sonnett: I currently serve on the Lake Maspenock Weed Management and Control Advisory Group.  This group has hired a weed management expert who is directing the committee through a comprehensive process to define the problem and explore the solutions.  Virtually every weed management solution is being analyzed.  The committee has not yet arrived at a conclusion for the best action but feels that a long range plan is required.  We have done a survey of the citizens and have held two public meetings to date to keep the public informed of our progress and get their input.  More public meetings are planned.   Our goal is to present a plan to the Selectmen this fall.

Kelly W. Karp: From what I have been able to read and study, the issue of the lake weeds in Lake Maspenock is very complicated and not easily or quickly resolved. The Town has been studying and taking action in one form or another since at least 1979. Since then, actions taken have included lake draw-down and herbicide applications. Other recommendations over the years have included aeration, hydro raking, dredging and mechanical harvesting. There are serious pros and cons to all suggested methods of management above relating to safety, effectiveness, cost and feasibility and ultimately community input must be the determining force in deciding which method or methods to use. I believe the Lake Maspenock Weed Management and Advisory Group has been very thoughtful and thorough in understanding the need for community involvement. They have been very welcoming of community feedback via open meetings and public surveys and I would continue to support their outreach and education efforts. I believe that they are thoroughly evaluating the options for an effective, safe and long term solution and I am open to hearing all suggestions. I will continue to educate myself so that ultimately I can assist the community in choosing a solution that is best overall for the town and preservation of the Lake.

Photo Gallery of Town Meeting Articles

For your visual reference, here’s a photo gallery of Town Meeting articles:

List of Articles with Links & Details

Town Meeting May 2, 2016

REPORTS:

  1. Acceptance of Town Reports

FINANCIAL – FISCAL YEAR 2016:

  1. FY 2016 Supplemental Appropriations – $200,000 FY16 Snow and Ice Deficit, and $31,500 for Sewer Enterprise Fund
  2. FY 2016 Budget Transfers – No Action – Consent Agenda
  3. Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Years $3,142.25

FINANCIAL – FISCAL YEAR 2017:

  1. Property Tax Exemption Increase (MGL Chapter 59 Section 5 – these exemptions are aimed at helping low-income residents, veterans, the blind, firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty. Town Meeting votes annually on these exemptions.) – Consent Agenda Hopkinton Tax Relief Committee
  2. Personal Property Tax Bill Threshold – to establish a minimum personal property value of $1,000.00 for personal property accounts to be taxed. (MGL Chapter 59 Section 5)
  3. Set the Salary of Elected Officials – Town Clerk $65,630.
  4. Fiscal 2017 Operating Budget $75,982,132.38, which is a +2.46% Tax Impact (net of new growth)
  5. FY 2017 Revolving Funds. To see if the Town will vote to authorize or re-authorize the use of revolving funds containing receipts from the fees charged to users of the services provided by the various Boards, Committees, Departments or Offices of the Town, pursuant to Chapter 44, Section 53E 1/2, of the Massachusetts General Laws.
  6. Chapter 90 Highway Funds – $651,957
  7. Transfer to General Stabilization Fund – $300,000
  8. Other Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund – $612,647

CAPITAL EXPENSES AND PROJECTS:

  1. Pay-As-You-Go Capital Expenses
    • Highway F-350 Pickup $60,000 DPW
    • Fire Apparatus/Vehicles $46,394
    • IT Equipment Replacement $100,000
    • Replacement of Police Cruisers $74,000
    • Systemwide School Security Upgrades (FY17 Upgrade intrusion alarm systems at Elmwood and High School) $100,000
    • Hopkins School Boiler Replacement (Replace boiler #2 at Hopkins – town received insurance proceeds $42,088 in FY16) $55,000
    • Middle School Water Heater Replacement (Replace water heater installed in 1996) $33,000
    • High School Athletic Center Scoreboard Replacement $25,000
    • Systemwide School Technology Upgrades (FY17 New student information system & wiring upgrades) $100,000
    • School Dept. – Replacement of Tractor $81,000
    • Middle School and High School Bleacher Upgrades and Repairs $85,000
  2. Weed Control at Lake Maspenock – No Action – The Lake Maspenock Weed Management & Control Advisory Group expects to release its recommendations by the end of May 2016.
  3. Sidewalk Master Plan Phase II – $136,000
  4. Transfer Funds to Purchase Fire Vehicle and Equipment – $500,000
  5. Transfer Funds to Purchase Fire Vehicle – $125,000
  6. Transfer Funds to Reequip/Reconfigure Fire Vehicle and Equipment – $55,000
  7. Purchase of Dump Truck $200,000 DPW
  8. Grove Street Water Tank Replacement $1,530,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund – Replaces the smaller 0.32 million gallon water tank which is 95 years old, with a new 1.33 million gallon tank.
  9. Water Main Replacement – Hayden Rowe Street $260,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  10. Water Source of Supply $1,000,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  11. Biological Filtration Wells #4 & #5 $50,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  12. Middle School Auditorium Upgrades (Install air conditioning, repaint stage floor, replace curtains, stage rigging, control console, & light board) $167,000
  13. School Bus Parking Lot (Construct gravel parking lot for buses at the proposed new elementary school – results in estimated annual positive impact of $111K ) $320,000 – No Action – Consent Agenda
  14. School Building & Grounds Storage Facility – Design & Feasibility $25,000 – No Action
  15. Artificial Turf Field with Lights – Design & Feasibility $100,000 – No Action – Consent Agenda
  16. Signage for Historical Sites – $15,000
  17. Transfer Funds for New Capital Projects – No Action – Consent Agenda
  18. Cemetery Roadway Opening – access to the Claflin St from Mt Auburn Cemetery – $2,500

COMMUNITY PRESERVATION FUNDS:

  1. Community Preservation Recommendations – CPC Project Narratives, CPC Powerpoint Slides, About the Community Preservation Act:
    1. $20,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to preserve Town records
    2. $2,500 from funds reserved for Open Space for Boundary Markers/Medallions to be acquired and installed on Town owned parcels
    3. $50,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to improve the public trail and create a dog park on 192 Hayden Rowe Street (Hughes Property). – Some of the maintenance will fall under the DPW budget and the Parks & Rec Budget. The goal is also to set up a volunteer group of dog owners in town to help with some of the maintenance and to think of fundraising ideas.
    4. $50,000 from funds reserved for Open Space to acquire approximately 6 acres of land located at 0 East Main Street and shown as parcel U12-23-0 on the Assessors Map
    5. $60,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to rehab and restore the McFarland Sanger House
    6. $75,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to rehab and restore the Rte 85 Stone Bridge
    7. $25,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to construct a recreational path from Rte 85 to the Stone Bridge
    8. $10,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to install fencing around the Claflin Fountain
    9. $50,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to install protective netting at the Fruit Street Athletic Complex
    10. $20,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to install a boat dock at Sandy Beach

ZONING BYLAW AMENDMENTS:

  1. Amend Open Space Mixed Use Development Overlay District to allow “Cultural Uses” by Special Permit in the Residential Subdistrict, for example an International Marathon Center.
  2. Amend Garden Apartments in Residential Districts and Village Housing in Residential Districts Bylaws Garden Apartments and Village Housing bylaws draft 2-2-16
  3. Repeal Senior Housing Development Bylaw Senior Housing Development Bylaw draft 2-2-16
  4. Amend Site Plan Review and Open Space and Landscape Preservation Development Bylaws Site Plan Review and OSLPD Bylaws draft 2-2-16
  5. Amend Sign Bylaw Sign Bylaw draft 2-2-16Document depicting proposed changes to Sign Bylaw 2-2-16 – These changes are due to a unanimous 2015 US Supreme Court Ruling “Reed vs Town of Gilbert, AZ.” Changes are being made to comply with the ruling, as recommended by Town Counsel.
  6. Amend Hotel Overlay District Hotel Overlay District draft 2-2-16 – Hopkinton already has a Hotel Zoning Overlay District, but has not yet been able to attract a hotel. These changes would: 1) reduce the amount of function room space required from 8,000 sq. ft. to just 1,500 sq. ft.; 2) require just a “restaurant” instead of a “full service restaurant;” and 3) require just a “fitness center” instead of a “health club facility.” Hopkinton’s local hotel room occupancy excise tax rate is 6% (voted at 2015 Town Meeting). A report on the Municipal Cost Impacts of Massachusetts’s Hotel/Motel-Based Homeless Families Shelter Program by the State Auditor’s office.
  7. Elmwood Park Business District Elmwood Park Business District draft 2-2-16Proposed Elmwood Park Business District Map – Elmwood Park is currently in the “Industrial B” zoning district of Hopkinton, this change would create a separate zoning district for Elmwood Park with its own list of permitted uses.
  8. Dog Day Care Dog Day Care Facilities draft 2-2-16 – Hopkinton does not currently have zoning to allow Dog Day Care Facilities, this bylaw would set hours, size, waste, odor control and other requirements for such facilities.
  9. Animal Shelters Animal Shelters draft 2-2-16 – This bylaw change would set requirements for animal shelters, such as Baypath Humane Society, which also acts as Hopkinton’s dog pound.  Baypath would like to expand and improve their physical plant and would need to find another location where they can build a modern animal shelter. They would like to remain in Hopkinton, however, today there is no land within the town of Hopkinton zoned for use by an animal shelter. Info Sheet from Baypath

GENERAL BYLAW AMENDMENTS:

  1. Repeal Sex Offender Residency Requirement – This repeal is due to a unanimous Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in 2015 that struck down a law in the City of Lynn, which was very similar to Hopkinton’s bylaw.

LAND ACQUISITIONS AND DISPOSITIONS:

  1. Acquisition of Easement – 91 West Main Street – for the purpose of creating an exclusive right turn lane in West Main Street eastbound onto Lumber Street.
  2. Acquisition of Easement – Leonard Street – to be used for stormwater management purposes.
  3. Gift of Land – Connelly Hill Estates – to be used for open space and recreation purposes.
  4. Gift of land – Hilltop Road – No Action – Consent Agenda
  5. Gift of land – Legacy Farms Recreation Parcel – to be used for open space, recreation and general municipal purposes.
  6. Street Acceptance
    • Connelly Hill Road, from Smith Road to Bowker Road
    • Valleywood Road, from Erika Drive to dead end
    • Carol Ann Drive, from West Elm Street to dead end
    • Kerry Lane, from Eastview Road to dead end
    • Nancy Lane, from Teresa Road to dead end
  7. Street Discontinuance
    • “Frankland Road” from its intersection with East Main Street to its intersection with Legacy Farms Road
    • The entirety of the private way known as “Peach Street”
  8. Disposition of Property – the discontinued portions of Frankland Road and Peach Street.
    Selectmen recommend No Action, but Planning Board recommend Approval

ADMINISTRATIVE:

  1. Solar Tax Agreements – to authorize the Board of Selectmen to negotiate a Tax Agreement for payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT Agreement) with the owner(s) of a solar photovoltaic facility on East Main Street.
  2. Town Clerk – to change the position of Town Clerk from elected to appointed (hired). In order to move forward this question would also require approval from the state and a yes vote on a future town election ballot.  It is not on the ballot for May 16. Town of Hopkinton 2016 Job Description Town Clerk
  3. Trustees of the School Trust Fund in the Town of Hopkinton – to appoint Jeanne Bernardin (7 Kimball Road) as a Trustee – Consent Agenda

Lake Maspenock Weeds Survey & Forums

Photo by Lake Maspenock Preservation Association

The Hopkinton DPW, Conservation Commission, Parks & Rec. Dept., in concert with the Advisory Group, will sponsor two Public Forums for Hopkinton residents:

  • Tuesday, February 9 at 7:00-8:30PM, Town Hall, Room 215
  • Saturday, February 27 at 10:00-11:30AM, Town Hall, Room 215

A formal Comprehensive Weed Management and Control Plan will be developed for control and monitoring of noxious and invasive weed problems specific to Lake Maspenock. Hopkinton residents are urged to participate in the Public Forums and the online Survey on the Town’s website in order to provide feedback, ask questions and increase their awareness about benefits and ecological impact from proposed methods of weed management. Town wide public understanding and support of the Plan is critical at Town Meeting for approval and financing of the Weed Control Plan. Upcoming Advisory Group Meetings, Public Forums and additional information will be posted in Town Hall and on the Town website.

Online Survey:

Please take a minute to complete the Lake Maspenock Weed Management and Control Advisory Group’s brief Public Survey:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s/I5qy2QZO

Vote Monday – New School and Parks & Rec Facility

All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Middle School. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm on Monday, November 9. There are two debt-exclusion ballot questions. Although voters at the October 26 Special Town Meeting voted to borrow money for both the new school and the parks and recreation facility in order for the projects to go forward, the voters must also pass a debt exclusion at the ballot under proposition 2 1/2 to authorize a temporary increase in the Town’s levy limit to cover the cost of borrowing for these two projects.


 

Article 1 - New School - Exterior View from Southeast

Question 1:

Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition two-and-one-half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds issued in order to construct a new Early Elementary School and related site development on Town-owned property located at 135 Hayden Rowe Street in Hopkinton to replace the existing Center Elementary School? Read more details about this project in our previous blog post.

  • A YES vote would mean that the funds are approved and the expenditure will proceed.
  • A NO vote would mean that the funds are disapproved and the expenditure cannot proceed without a future ballot vote within 90 days.

 

Article 8 - Fruit Street Indoor Athletic Facility

Question 2:

Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to fund engineering designs and construction services related to the construction of an indoor recreational facility/athletic center at the Fruit Street Athletic Fields? Read more details about this project in our previous blog post.

  • A YES vote would mean that the funds are approved and the expenditure will proceed.
  • A NO vote would mean that the funds are disapproved and the expenditure cannot proceed without a future ballot vote within 90 days.

Photo Gallery of Special Town Meeting Articles

For your visual reference, here’s a photo gallery of other articles coming up at Special Town Meeting on October 26: