The Community Preservation Committee explored the local and state interpretations surrounding whether or not Community Preservation Act funds can be used to pay for artificial turf fields on Thursday. The Community Preservation Committee explored the local and state interpretations surrounding whether or not Community Preservation Act funds can be used to pay for artificial turf fields on Thursday.

Duxbury P.R.I.D.E., which stands for promoting recreation investment to develop excellence, went before the CPC seeking $1 million in CPA funds for the construction of two synthetic turf fields for the middle and high schools in November. Since that time, the CPC has been receiving feedback from both the local and the state level.

On Thursday morning, CPC Chairwoman Holly Morris said that the Community Preservation Coalition had filed legislation the previous week pertaining to the allowable uses of Community Preservation Act funds. The three major uses for CPA funds are historic preservation, open space and affordable housing. Recreation is an allowable use. However, CPC Treasurer George Wadsworth said expenditures of CPA funds for turf fields have been halted in Newton and Wayland until lawsuits in those locations are settled.

Morris said the legislation proposed would clearly state that CPA funds could be used for turf fields. Duxbury's CPC has not taken a vote yet to support P.R.I.D.E.'s request. Morris said she would like to wait until she hears what residents have to say about using CPA funding for artificial fields when the committee holds its public meeting about town meeting articles on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Mural Room of Town Hall.

"I think it's important to hear from the public," Morris said.

Wadsworth, the Planning Board's representative to the CPC, reiterated the board's view.

"It's not whether the law permits it or not. The Planning Board believes it's just inappropriate because it's [recreation] not one of the CPA's legs," Wadsworth said.

Each year, the CPC asks town meeting voters to allot 10 percent of CPA funds to each of the three legs. The remaining money can be designated to any of the legs when additional funding above the 10 percent is needed. Unreserved funds can also be used to fund proposals that fall outside of the three legs, like recreation requests.

Wadsworth handed out two pie charts comparing the CPA reserve funds after town meeting with $1 million allotted for the turf fields and the funds without any money being spent on the fields. Wadsworth said that if the $1 million dollars were used for the artificial fields, the expenditure would use up all of the remaining undesignated funds for FY07 and $467,260 of undesignated funds from the FY08 budget.

Ed McClinchey of Forge Way said his interpretation from doing research about the Community Preservation Coalition was that CPA funds could be used for artificial turf if it involved a change in use. For example, McClinchey said if an old pasture was turned into a soccer field that would be a change in use, while taking an existing field and turning it into an artificial turf field would not.

Morris said she understood that if a project attempted to make improvements to an existing field, then the proposal would be considered preservation and therefore allowed to use CPA funds.

If the CPC decides it will not support the turf article, then Morris said the project cannot go forward using any CPA funds. The CPC's next regularly scheduled meeting after the public hearing on its town meeting articles is Feb. 15. Morris said the committee would vote on the turf field article at that time. Frank Mangione, chairman of the Fiscal Advisory Committee, said his committee and the Finance Committee would take a vote on whether to support the turf article once it knew the CPC's position.

P.R.I.D.E. will hold its own public meeting about its proposal on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Merry Room of the library.

In other CPC news:

- The committee discussed the future of the Tarkiln Community Center on Summer Street. An article requesting $111,800 of CPA funds for plans and specifications will go before town meeting in March. The committee, which has been working with the Historical Commission on restoring the building, said it would like an update on the status of grants being sought to fund preserving the structure. The project is estimated at $1 million.