A local non-profit group is seeking input on a potential new recreation center for Westford, and they came before the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night on what path they should take.
Mary Ellen Tynan and Ulrike Kjellberg of the Westford Friends of Recreation informed the board that their group is trying to raise awareness toward their efforts to gather money for a feasibility study for the possible center and also discover what residents might want in a recreation center.
The group was founded as a private non-profit organization in 2003 to aid the Westford Recreation Department and since then has helped raise funds for turf fields, skate parks, tennis courts and a new playground on Edwards Beach.
Selectman Andrea Peraner-Sweet urged caution regarding the group’s feasibility study due to a pending study relating to the town’s Recreational Master Plan, which may not include any recreational center.
There were also notes of caution from other Selectmen relating to the role of privately-funded services in any initiatives as well as other large projects facing taxpayers, such as the upcoming fire station on Boston Road and potential future expansions to the J.V. Fletcher Library.
“In a vacuum, the town might be very approving of a recreation center, but there are a lot of things going on,” said Selectman Kelly Ross. “There are going to be all of these very expensive competing needs.”
Kate Hollister, a member of the Master Plan Committee, informed the board that a study had been done several years ago contacting 1,100 Westford residents and 127 Westford Academy students regarding a potential recreation center.
According to Hollister, 43 percent of respondents in the poll supported a recreation center while 25 percent were opposed.
In the study, a potential recreation center was preferred by residents that have moved to town in the past 20 years and families, but it was opposed by elderly residents.