Plan for Terrill Park has lighted turf field, new dog park

  • Renderings made by the Bedford-based firm VHB show the proposed plan for Terrill Park. VHB—Rendering

Monitor staff
Published: 2/16/2017 10:51:02 PM

A professional-size turf field, an enhanced dog park, a trail with workout stations and even a splash park.

Those are some of the features included in a preliminary design of the reimagined Terrill Park, as approved by the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee on Thursday.

The current city budget includes $125,000 to design the park – which is located at the corner of Old Turnpike Road and Manchester Street – and the next budget may include as much as $1.8 million for the first phase of construction, said Parks and Recreation Department Director David Gill, with grants and donations.

The first of three phases would focus on the field, its lights and parking, Gill said.

As sketched by David Fenstermacher, the director of land development for the Bedford-based firm VHB, the turf field could be as large as 360 feet by 260 feet, which meets FIFA soccer standards and is also long enough for girls lacrosse. It would be lit to accommodate play as late as 10 p.m. and can be plowed for use in colder seasons when regular fields aren’t available.

“The biggest issue right now with field use is the playability preseason and end of season,” Gill said, adding that there’s also a shortage of lighting for nighttime sports.

“The only lighted field we have is the football field at Memorial Field, which is not big enough for girls lacrosse or other sports,” he said.

The field would be used by high school programs, but also open to community athletic groups. It and the main parking lot, which could hold 130 cars, would be located in what’s now a dirt parking lot where the city used to dump snow.

The dog park that currently exists would be moved to the north, increased in size by about 25 percent and separated from the activities at the field, Fenstermacher said.

In between, likely as part of the third phase, the park could host a playground and fenced-in splash park, where young children play with water features.

“We have a lot of parks from the 1800s. They’re the traditional ballfield, green space, trees,” Gill said. “This is basically – we’re developing a 21st-century park ... where you have multiple features for multiple age groups.”

Running along the Merrimack River and the edge of the park is a trail that planners hope will be incorporated into the Merrimack River Greenway Trail system. In Terrill Park, the design calls for low-tech workout stations placed along the route.

The minds behind the Merrimack River Greenway Trail hope that, within a few years, Terrill Park could be connected by a boardwalk to the Gully Hill farm land behind the post office on Loudon Road as well as to the Kiwanis Riverfront Park, where each location could offer different features.

“As you think of Terrill Park, try to think a little bit bigger, regarding how it connects to downtown, how we could have a walking trail, how we could have multiple people hold multiple events going on at the same time,” Gill said.

The full plan at Terrill Park is estimated to cost less than $4 million, Gill said. Committee members submitted early feedback at the meeting Thursday and encouraged the designer to continue to work out the details.

Gill said he hopes the plans for the park will ultimately continue the effort in the city to bring residents closer to the river.

“I don’t know how many thousands of people drive over those bridges every day and really don’t pay attention to the Merrimack River. I think this is an exciting opportunity,” he said.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)

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