Somerville to refurbish Dilboy Stadium, new artificial turf, drainage
Pictures of city officials wielding shiny shovels are captured, Somerville High School students have made their teachers happy, their hats tossed in the air, graduation is over. It is time for the real renovation work on Dilboy Stadium to begin.
The $ 2.75 million project to replace the artificial turf pitch with a combination of artificial turf and vegetable infill and to renew the track was approved last fall. New neighborhood-friendly lighting and drainage work were also planned on the side lawns south of the stadium.
“I’m thrilled that the city has allowed the sports teams to end their season with Dilboy,” said Jim Hanley, assistant coach for G-7/8 Blue, a girls’ junior soccer team he recently coached at a training session. The girls were preparing for a tournament at Tewksbury that could get them into the playoffs.
He described the field as “several years after its useful life”.
The George Dilboy Memorial Stadium is located in the 7th district of the city and was remodeled in 2006. It is a regional multi-purpose sports complex with an artificial turf playing field, a running track, a pool, tennis courts and additional natural fields. The stadium is owned by the State Department of Conservation and Recreation but is operated by the City of Somerville Parks and Recreation Department.
The approved changes to Dilboy Stadium will include Rhino Blend AstroTurf with an artificial turf infill or under carpet that mixes a layer of plant material and a layer of sand over a turf bumper. The crumbs of rubber that are now visible between the fibers on the surface of the field will be gone.
“Nobody in athletics wants grass,” Hanley said of the move to another man-made playing surface. His team plays football all year round, in rain, cold and even when it snows. “Too much play, too much rain can damage grass fields.”
What are the plans?
Plans also include paving the drainage around the running track and grass fields bordering Alewife Brook Parkway, which is currently used for softball and baseball. Construction crews will install sand and silt and a perforated pipe under portions of the lawn to ensure proper drainage and prevent build-up.
The project also includes removing the perimeter fence and the invasive plant species that surround the fields to create a larger buffer zone between the fields and the creek. The grass is also being replaced with a mix of species native to Massachusetts.
The city will install high-powered LED lights on 80-foot poles to increase field operating hours. The lights, similar to those recently installed on Winter Hill Field, are specifically designed to reduce the scattering of light into the surrounding neighborhoods.
“We love the field, we come regularly,” says Richard Pattinson while playing ball with his son Roman, 9, and a friend, Jordan Leidinger, 11. “But the rain gathers on the fields.”
He also mentioned problems with traffic and pedestrian access to the complex. The lonely pedestrian crossing of Alewife Brook Parkway to the complex from the residential area of the city is harrowing.
“It’s just an accident waiting to happen,” he said.