Weymouth, MA – Mayor Robert Hedlund joined with Principal Kathy Guilfoy, Recreation Director Steve Reilly, Planning Director Robert Luongo, and students from the Lawrence W. Pingree Primary School today to celebrate the completion and revitalization of Weymouth’s Lovell Field. Mayor Hedlund unveiled a new plaque to commemorate the history of the park and celebrate its transformation into one of the South Shore’s premier outdoor recreational facilities. The dedication plaque reads:
“Lovell Field is now a model for the region of what an accessible, usable, and modern public park should be,” said Mayor Robert Hedlund. “It’s a place of opportunity for residents, and a destination for the kinds of family-oriented, community-driven activities that will promote the health and economic well-being of our town. Creating great public spaces like this adds value for everyone. We’re very excited to see this important project completed, along with many others soon to follow.”
“The Pingree community is overjoyed with the Lovell Field enhancements,” said School Principal Kathy Guilfoy. “This playground and these fields serve not only our students but the entire Weymouth community and its neighbors. To know that the children are safe when they play and to witness the joy and excitement they convey during recess is absolutely priceless. We are proud that this is our playground, and we want to thank Mayor Hedlund and all those who helped make this magnificent project a reality.”
Lovell Field is a 14.8-acre, multi-recreational use park located in the heart of East Weymouth’s Jackson Square and adjacent to the Pingree Primary School. Between 2017 and 2018, the park underwent $6.45 million in renovations to enhance its active and passive recreational opportunities, add a new connection and destination along the Weymouth Back River Trail, and support revitalization of the public park, as well as the wider village center.
Plans for the new park were prepared by Activitas, Inc. of Dedham, with construction completed by Green Acres Landscaping & Construction Co. of Lakeville. Improvements include two regulation-size, artificial-turf soccer fields, one half-size turf field for practices, nearly a mile of looped walking paths, an expanded playground with accessible ramps, and a 1,400-square-foot comfort building with restrooms, concession space, and an overhang for gatherings.
In addition, the park now has a dedicated entrance for vehicular and pedestrian access off Broad Street, two parking areas with approximately 180 spaces, and an LED sports lighting system to support evening programming.
“For too long, the youth of Weymouth had no choice but to play on fields that were overplayed, worn out, and in utter disrepair,” said Recreation Director Steve Reilly. “We are so incredibly fortunate to see this dream of new, state-of-the-art, high-quality playing fields become a reality.”
Lovell Field is the flagship park of a $11.4 million capital investment by the Town to improve more than a dozen playing fields and park facilities throughout the community. These projects were spearheaded by Mayor Hedlund, with unanimous support from the Town Council for funding.
The Town’s parks improvement program was undertaken in November 2016 without any need for a debt exclusion or tax override, as was originally proposed for Lovell Field prior to Mayor Hedlund taking office. Plans to improve the park had stalled by 2016 due to uncertainties surrounding the project’s funding and permitting. The project was revived through the efforts of Mayor Hedlund and his staff to reduce the park’s construction cost and to address the concerns of the Town’s Conservation Commission about installing artificial turf too close to the Herring Brook. A responsible borrowing strategy was then developed by the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Ted Langill, to fund not only the renovation of Lovell Field but also sweeping improvements to Weymouth’s broader open space infrastructure, including Libby Field and Weston Park.
Since opening Lovell Field for tournament play in November 2017, and later league games in April 2018, the new park has hosted five weekend tournaments, approximately 90 individual matchups, and an estimated 2,700 players. Principal user groups of the new fields include Weymouth Youth Soccer and Youth Lacrosse, as well as club programs and adult leagues. The park will host its sixth weekend tournament this upcoming Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 6-8).