School District Withdraws Application For Shutesbury CPA Funds For Track And Field


Installing synthetic turf. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Matteo Pangallo, Chair of the Shutesbury Community Preservation Committee (CPC), reported this week that the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District has withdrawn its application for nearly $85,000 for the high school track and field project. Pangallo made the announcement at the April 12 meeting of the committee when they were to make their decision about whether or not to recommend that the application be taken up at the Shutesbury Annual Town Meeting this spring. He stated that the District withdrew the application the day before.

Requests for Community Preservation Act funds for this project had already been rejected by the CPAC’s of Pelham and Leverett. Both committees indicated that their reason for voting against the application was because the project stipulated that the field would be made of artificial turf. They also indicated that they would be amenable to a different application that specified the use of a natural grass field instead.

The Amherst Indy reached out to School Finance Director Doug Slaughter, who has represented the District throughout these CPA application processes. He was asked to comment on the reason for the withdrawal but he did not respond at the time of the posting of this article.

The Regional School Committee voted in March 2022 to authorize borrowing $1.5 million that would cover the costs of resurfacing the high school track, described as an urgent need as deteriorating conditions preclude competitions from being held on it. Additional funds were also sought for a larger project that would reorient and enlarge the track and install an artificial turf field. The committee specifically removed language that would also have allowed for a natural turf field. In December 2022, Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman provided cost estimates for the larger project that includes artificial turf to be $5-6 million (up from the original $4.7 million). Secured funds to date total approximately $3.4 million, just short of the original cost estimate for a project that includes a grass field.

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1 thought on “School District Withdraws Application For Shutesbury CPA Funds For Track And Field

  1. If I’m reading this right, The Amherst Regional School Committee and Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman are slow learners concerning the actual dangers of artificial turf. I’m not sure why I ever thought they and others would entertain second thoughts on this issue, especially given all the science that has arisen over the many dangers to our younger residents and the community as a whole? I recommend they tune in to The Enviro Show on Tuesdays, 6 to 7pm or Thursdays at 2pm on Valley Free Radio, 103.3fm or streaming at for an interview with Dr. Kyla Bennett and Aalana Feaster on this very subject.

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