Track bond proposal to go to Mattituck voters

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08/16/2013 2:30 PM |
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, a pentathlon veteran, working on her hurdling during Mattituck's practice on Monday.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, a pentathlon veteran, working on her hurdling during Mattituck’s practice in March. There will be a special election in October for a track bond proposal.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board approved a resolution Thursday night setting a special election for a track bond proposal.

District residents will be asked on Oct. 29 to approve the proposed $925,000 capital improvement project for reconstructing the junior-senior high school’s aging cinder track, as well as purchasing portable bleachers, irrigation upgrades and asbestos remediation work inside the school.

Prior to the school board voting, the proposal had carried a $1 million price tag but was ultimately reduced after the board agreed to scale down a proposed 300-seat stationary bleacher and remove fencing work from the plan.

If the community approves the bond, school officials said the project will then go out to bid and the track work will take about two months to complete. The proposed 400-meter track will include six lanes and will require between $35,000 to $50,000 worth of maintenance work every 10 years, officials said.

School officials have said the outdated track has made it difficult to encourage other track teams to compete in Mattituck, and the school’s track teams participate primarily in away meets.

The community has debated on what to do with the track for several years and many school board members have said they believe it’s time to let the public weigh in on the proposal.

School board president Jerry Diffley said he believes holding a special election is the best way to deal with the track’s future.

“At this point, we’re just in the mindset that the public should decide it,” Mr. Diffley said during the meeting. “It’s the public’s money. It will be the public’s use not only here for the school and the athletic events that will take place with our students, but also to use as a community track that people can walk and run around.”

The school board voted 5-1 in favor of putting up the proposition. Sara Hassildine was absent from the meeting and Doug Cooper voted no.

“I still feel it’s the wrong time in this economy to pursue this,” he said after casting his vote.

Although Mr. Cooper voted against the special election, he voted in favor (along with his fellow board members) to designate election personnel and planning steps for an environmental study known as SEQRA.

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