NEWBURYPORT — City councilors are moving forward with plans to earmark about $1.7 million of Bresnahan “under budget” money for ball fields and athletic grounds near the Nock/Molin complex on Low Street.
And they are thinking about putting it to a vote of city voters on Tuesday, Dec. 9.
Recent construction of the Bresnahan Elementary School came in about $3 million under budget, city officials say.
Mayor Donna Holaday and several councilors have stated that more ballfields are needed in the community, in part because the footprint of the Bresnahan reduced the number of baseball diamonds.
So they are proposing to take money from the construction account and transfer it to one dedicated to athletic fields.
Preliminary plans call for a new baseball field at the Nock/Molin School, and major improvements to the track at the Fuller Field on Low Street.
The refurbishing of the track will include a turf field inside the track oval, which parents interested in soccer and lacrosse have requested.
Lawyers serving the city say that municipal leaders cannot just transfer money from the Bresnahan construction fund to an account set up to build athletic facilities.
Voters must approve a transfer from one “account” to another, and that process is in the works.
City Hall officials say they cannot put municipal issues on the statewide election ballot, which is slated for Nov. 4. So they have chosen Tuesday, Dec. 9 to seek voter approval transferring $1.7 million into an account for athletic fields.
Councilors voted during last night’s meeting to receive and file the measure in the General Government Committee, and will act on it over the coming weeks.