For questions regarding maintenance or programing at Legion Memorial Field, please contact the Town's Recreation Division at (781) 682-6124.
Legion Memorial Field reopened to the public in the summer of 2015. Improvements to this historic and iconic open space include an artificial-turf field, new tennis courts, playgrounds for multiple age groups, and versatile paths for running and walking. In addition, a new parking lot and field entrance were created along Commercial Street, with the former parking lot off Garey Street converted into green space.
Previously dubbed the “belle of East Weymouth" by the Boston Globe, Legion Memorial Field was originally built as a federal public works project during the era of the Great Depression. Construction began in 1925 over 14 acres of former swamp land. Ernst Hermann, a Newton architect, designed the field, and the local post of the American Legion contributed $8,000 for grading and filling. For a better part of a century, Legion Memorial Field was home to the Weymouth High School Wildcats football team. It featured two football fields, two baseball diamonds, two concrete grandstands, seven tennis courts, and a quarter-mile track with jumping pits. Generations of residents remember the field as the epicenter of sports and ceremonies in Weymouth. Its gridiron was the site of innumerable football games, track events, and high school graduations.
Starting in 2004, Legion Memorial Field went into disuse when the Town built a new high school with state-of-the-art athletic fields in South Weymouth. In 2007, Mayor David Madden proposed a $7.3 million plan to convert Legion Memorial Field into a large sports complex that would serve as the Town’s sports common, separate from the high school. After months of public hearings, the Town Council turned down the plan by an 8-3 vote citing concerns from the park’s neighbors that a major complex would overwhelm the surrounding neighborhoods of single-family homes. Less than a year later, Weymouth faced an unforeseen $3.4 million budget gap caused by the onset of the Great Recession. Newly elected Mayor Susan Kay sought to move forward with renovations to the park, but economic conditions compelled a phased approach with a reliance on state budget grants and Community Preservation funds.
On June 2, 2014, the Town Council voted to authorize the borrowing of $6 million to complete renovations to Legion Memorial Field. Improvements were designed by Activitas Inc. of Dedham, with input from the park’s neighbors as well as the broader Weymouth community. Mayor Kay held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 18, 2014, celebrating the milestone with dignitaries, neighbors, and project partners (click here for a slide show).
On June 20, 2015, Legion Memorial Field officially reopened, with a crowd of more than 7,000 people joining Mayor Kay, the Town Council, numerous dignitaries, and New England Patriot's Player Malcolm Butler to "Welcome Back an Old Friend." The field was ceremoniously rededicated to honor the late Harry Arlanson, coach of the Weymouth Maroons from 1935 to 1953 who enjoyed eight undefeated seasons while leading the team to six Class A championships. Arlanson's descendants were on hand for the unveiling of a stone, memorializing the field in Arlanson's honor. Click here to view pictures of the event taken by staff of the Weymouth News.
Additional information about the project’s history and progress are provided in the timeline below.
In March of 2014, Activitas Inc. presented 75 percent designs for both Legion Memorial Field and Lovell’s Playground to the public. In May of 2014, Mayor Kay requested authorization to borrow $6 million to implement the final design and construction plans for Legion Memorial Field. Approximately $500,000 would also go toward replacement of the high school turf field, which was about a decade old. The Town Council unanimously authorized the borrowing on June 2, 2014, with Fleming Brothers Inc. of Quincy selected to complete the work. A groundbreaking ceremony was held by Mayor Kay on June 18, 2014.
The Town used $150,000 in Community Preservation funds to solicit design and construction plans for both Legion Memorial Field and Lovell’s Playground. The Town selected Activitas Inc. of Dedham to complete the work. Activitas Inc. presented 25 percent designs to the public in December of 2013. Click here for a visual transition of the field to its current conditions by 2013.
Phase II and III of restorations were completed by the summer of 2012. In Phase II, the park's wrought-iron fencing was restored for $107,893 by DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. of South Easton. In Phase III, the park’s concrete wall was repaired and recoated for $148,129 by Roger A. Tremblay Contractors of Salem.
The Town Council approved $215,000 from Free Cash to have S & R Corp. from Lowell tear down the park's dilapidated grandstands and light poles. The Council further approved $250,000 in Community Preservation fundis to continue Phase II and III of restorations.
Phase I of restorations to Legion Memorial Field included repairs to its wall’s 66 brick piers using Community Preservation funds. Construction was completed in the fall 2010 by Northern Construction Corp. of Canton at a total cost of about $213,000.
Mayor Kay proposed "safe proofing" Legion Memorial Field by tearing down the park's concrete grandstands and fixing the field's fencing. The plan required the Commonwealth to successfully fund a $750,000 grant through the state's fiscal year budget. Governor Deval Patrick ultimately trimmed the grant funding down to $87,500.