CIP 557 Memorial Field Complex
The City of Concord and School District leadership recently agreed to review options for the Memorial Field Complex and to explore opportunities to work together on needed improvements. Both sides agreed the first step in the planning phase would be to work together and bring in a consultant to help evaluate the existing site, develop a new master plan for the site and a plan for future joint investments. VHB out of Bedford NH was chosen for the project. The cost of this phase is around $141,000 and will be shared equally.
As part of a Facility Condition and Master Planning phase there will be a review of soil conditions, site drainage (the early 1970s underground field drainage system is no longer working), recommended field and site improvements, new track layout, review if the site can support the addition of an artificial turf field (we are not recommending crumb rubber - there are other options now available) and other needed amenities. As part of this phase there will also be public meetings to listen to wants and needs of our residents.
A recording of the September 19, 2023 community meeting is included below.
The second public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb 22, 2024 at 6 p.m. at Concord High School. The consultants will present plans that will address the drainage issues at the site and improvement options for new and improved recreation amenities at the complex.
History of the complex
Memorial Field Complex has been used as a City Park since 1926 when two tracts of land were conveyed to the City by Allen Hollis for the use of amateur athletic fields. As part of the donation, a bronze tablet was to be placed dedicating these two tracts as a memorial to the Concord boys who lives were sacrificed in World War 1 The Memorial Field complex is now made up of approximately 14 separate tracks of land over the 36-acre park.
Original facilities included six clay tennis courts, a cinder track, football field and softball field. In 1933 the city installed the first grandstands on the football field, in 1936 the baseball field opened and in the same year a marker was installed at the site dedicated to the men and women who served in World War 1. In 1945 the first night football game was held (with portable lights) and in 1947 permanent athletic field lights were installed for the football field.
In 1971, City Council funded a feasibility study for Memorial Field to look at the expanding needs of outdoor recreation in the community. An excerpt from the feasibility study is as follows: “Since Memorial Field is the athletic field for the city’s high schools and plays a prominent part in the summer recreation as well, it is necessary for the city to either improve it or replace it”. The latter was rejected since it was determined that adequate land could be acquired to expand and that wetness could be controlled through proper field drainage. In order to implement expansion needs additional land was acquired around this same time. The State of NH deeded 9.5 acres for the expressed purpose of expansion of the city’s athletic facilities and another 12.3 acres was purchased with the help of Land and Water Conservation Grant and city funds. The city undertook an expansion and improvement plan to enlarge the complex that included site underground drainage system, general site improvements and adding fields for: softball, soccer and practice football field, an improved football stadium and new track. At the time of these renovations the two football fields were not made large enough to hold soccer games nor anticipated to be used for lacrosse. The current size of the two football fields limits the use as we cannot fit regulation soccer or lacrosse fields on them. Interesting to note the 1970s Memorial Field Expansion layout of the complex also included amenities like a field hockey field, an indoor field house with showers, dressing rooms, weight lifting equipment, coaches’ rooms and expanded parking. These amenities were never built.
During the past 10 years the city has invested almost $800,000 to improve the 10 tennis courts, baseball field press box and the funding of an engineering study for the baseball and football field bleachers. However, in the years ahead, the complex will require significant investment to improve the drainage of the entire site, new bathrooms and maintenance building, improve general field conditions, bleacher replacement for football field, major renovations to baseball field bleachers, field lighting upgrades and full renovation of the existing walking/running track and related site improvements. Memorial Field is located in a natural bowl approximately 18 feet below street level of Fruit Street and the surrounding private homes. The varsity soccer, Softball A, baseball and back football fields are the fields with poorest drainage in the park. These fields have contours measuring 290 feet above sea level. As a reference the varsity football field sits at 294 feet above sea level and overall drains well.
Please look under the "resource" link above for more information on project.
Click on the image below to view it in a new window.