Second Gilford Meadows athletic field should be ready for play next fall

GILFORD — The Gilford Meadows Committee says that work on reclaiming a playing field area north of the existing football/lacrosse field is proceeding well and expects that work will be completed this fall and that the field will be available for use next year.
Sue Allen, Gilford School Board chairman and a member of the Meadows Committee, told her colleagues last night that the project is being directed by Andy Bartlett, the volunteer project manager, who is working working with local contractors and a number of other businesses which have been donating considerable time, equipment and materials to make the project, which was identified several years ago as Phase I of a multi-year project to add more space for recreational and sports programs, possible.
The Meadows Committee has been working for over 10 years to develop plans for the property, which was donated to the Gilford School District in 2000 by Raymond and Barbara Carye with the stipulation that it be used for educational/recreational programs. The original development plan called for the building of a new high school on the site but voters rejected the idea.
For the past few years, the committee has been working on development and fundraising efforts to expand the playing field capacity for all local field sports, and make safety improvements for existing uses and had set a fundraising goal of $264,000 for the first phase.
This spring, the Gilford School Board approved the plan, for which the committee has already received permits from the state Department of Environmental Services, which five years ago had rejected the first plan proposed by the committee.
Allen said that Gilford Well has been working to install irrigation for the new field while Andy Howe of Beans & Greens Farmstand has been mowing the fields.
She said with the removal of a former apartment building from the former farm site, there will now be only one entrance and one exit road from the property, which will make traffic flow easier during football and lacrosse games.
Phase 2 will involve leveling and seeding the existing multi use field, which currently is rutted and in less than ideal condition. Future efforts will include enhanced concessions and rest room facilities.
Gilford may be looking at forming a cheer team according to Superintendent Kent Hemingway, who said that a student who recently transferred to Gilford from Winnisquam Regional High School has made a request that a cheer squad be formed.
High School Principal Peter Sawyer will be working out a proposal for the squad which will be presented to the School Board when it meets next month.