The city will issue bonds for $3.6 million to pay for an upgrade to Hillhouse high school’s football field—with a promise to address neighborhood concerns about the environment.
That was the result of unanimous votes Monday night in City Hall, where the Board of Aldermen voted to authorize the city to borrow the money for the Bowen makeover.
The state will contribute an additional $8 million to the project, which includes the installation of a new artificial turf field, new bleachers, locker rooms, concession stands, and gates.
Beaver Hills Alderwoman Claudette Robinson-Thorpe amended the deal at the last minute to include a requirement that the Board of Education and construction contractors address environmental concerns raised by neighbors and make changes to the design to address such concerns. Nan Bartow, head of the Friends of Beaver Pond Park, has expressed worries that the new turf field could lead to contamination of the pond with overheated or polluted water.
Before Monday’s vote, East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker rose to explain why he had decided to support the borrowing. Elicker had raised concerns about taking on more debt. He said his colleagues convinced him in caucus that not doing the repairs would adversely impact young people, “particularly African-American youth in the city.”
Alderwoman Robinson-Thorpe later said that it would have cost the city around $3.8 million just to repair the field’s track. So to pay the same amount and secure $8 million from the state only made sense, she said. She said the field hasn’t been fixed for over 30 years.
Westville Alderman Adam Marchand rose in support of the item. He said the City Plan Commission, of which he is a member, will hold a public hearing during the site plan review for the field upgrade design, which will give the public an opportunity to voice any further concerns about the project.