WESTERLY — The Town Council and School Committee will conduct a special joint meeting Monday to discuss the town's Recreation Master Plan.

The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m.in Council Chambers at Town Hall. The plan includes a determination that the town needs more fields to meet the demands of youth sports and estimates the cost of a new field, including land acquisition and installation of lights and bleachers, at about $3.7 million.

The cost of a new field without acquisition costs is estimated at $2.4 million and the cost of a synthetic turf field — depending on the type of material that is used — would be $1.4 million or $1.6 million.

The discussion of recreation facilities comes amid talks looking at the town's ability to take on new debt and whether the proposed $71.4 million school redesign proposal is viable. School officials hope 50 percent of the cost of the building project will be reimbursed by the state and expect to learn the exact reimbursement rate in May or June.

The plan recreation plan, which was released in February 2018, was developed by the BCS Group, a regional company with offices in Glastonbury, Conn. The company found serious deficiencies at the eight facilities it studied and determined that three or four new youth fields and two larger natural grass rectangular multipurpose fields are needed, or a combination of new fields and converting existing fields to synthetic turf.

The company analyzed facilities at Bradford Preserve, Cimalore Field, Craig Field, Gingerella Sports Complex, the Westerly Youth Football Field, Rotary Park, and the fields at Westerly Middle School and Westerly High School. In 2014, voters rejected a proposal to spend $975,000 to install synthetic turf at Augeri Field at Westerly High School.

Later on Monday evening the Town Council is expected to appoint a new member to the School Committee. The candidates are Timothy C. Killam, Ronald J. MacDonald III, Michael Ober, and Mark Sullivan. They were each interviewed by the Town Council during its Feb. 25 meeting.

The council is also scheduled to discuss a potential resolution to support Gov. Gina Raimondo's plan to increase the fee for parking and other fees at state beaches, parks, and campgrounds as a means to raise funds and pay for hiring eight new state Department of Environmental Management employees to  maintain and improve the facilities.

A proposed ordinance to guide the development and location of solar power projects is also on the council's agenda, along with a discussion of public access to the Pawcatuck River with members of the Conservation Commission and the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association.

dfaulkner@thewesterlysun.com

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