Ward Street Grass Roots

A Hingham organization fighting for rational use of our Town’s resources

Click here to join our emailing list and receive more information

Open to Restricted

ONE:  from rural, passive-use open space to developed, artificial, restricted space

Currently, the 13 acres off of Ward Street consist of one large natural grass field, used for athletics after school and on weekends from late spring through fall, with a dirt parking area, a scoreboard and small shed, all visible from the road. A narrow dirt lane leads between woodlands and wetlands into a large open natural meadow. The land contains walking trails, beautiful rock outcroppings, old cedar trees, stands of bittersweet and much much more. It is a rural and natural habitat, surrounded on all sides by wetlands, peaceful and quiet. It is pitch black at night. Moreover, it is home to a wide array of wildlife who depend on this natural habitat to survive. Day and night you hear and see countless birds and animals, from the tiniest peepers to the huge hawks, herons and deer. People use it for all kinds of passive recreation. It is a beautiful place to enjoy nature, to play, to relax and get away from the bustle of life. This is unrestricted open space, available for use at any time by any body and all wildlife.

The proposed plan cuts down trees, and replaces the entire 13 acres of natural habitat with artificial surfaces. Grass fields would become turf made of ever-green plastic, crumb rubber and sand in a layer about 2 feet deep. They would be surrounded by gravel parking lots and paved driveways. In many places, the plan extends right up to the permissible 50’ buffer around the wetlands. All open playable spaces would be on plastic grass. The fields would be fenced with a 5’ chain link fence. Toilets and a septic system and a concession stand would be built. The plan adds up to 200 cars, coming and going and parked for most of the day and into the evening. Field use would have to be scheduled. This project completely changes the nature of the land, from rural, accessible to all and natural, to developed, constantly-used, restricted and artificial.

Plus, the proposed warrant article would allow for 8 80’ light towers (that’s 8 stories high) and 12 17’ parking lot lights, if approved by Town Meeting. Several neighboring towns report that they must keep parking lot lights on all night to protect against vandalism of their turf fields. In the past decade, South Hingham has been increasingly developed, with the additions of Black Rock, Boston Golf, Ridgewood Crossing, and Linden Ponds, plus several smaller streets and individual houses. Those of us who appreciate this beautiful parcel of accessible open space for what it is now, feel this potential additional loss deeply.

SEE: Impact on Wildlife Statement by Joan Iovino and Mark Schlesinger here