Voters to decide on $2.5 million bond for recreation upgrades


CUMBERLAND – In addition to a slew of candidates, Cumberland voters will be asked to approve one local bond referendum question related to recreation upgrades around town.

If approved, the $2.5 million bond will go toward improvements at the Mercy Woods property, Diamond Hill Park, and Tucker Field, among others, Mayor Jeff Mutter told The Valley Breeze.

The mayor acknowledged that everyone is facing difficult times right now but noted that improvements to parks and recreation areas can directly benefit a lot of residents. “We want to find places for our kids to play and for everyone else to enjoy,” he said. “We’ve had this problem for a while.”

The Parks and Recreation Commission is currently evaluating fee structures, said Mutter. While they’re looking for voter approval, plans have to fit inside an overall spending plan that makes sense for the town. “There’s a lot to consider,” he said.

At Mercy Woods, located in the northeast corner of town, money would go toward future athletic field improvements as a way to help with space issues with fields in the town including not being able to let fields get a break from use, Mutter noted.

Former Mayor Bill Murray and the Town Council purchased the property and under the agreement with the Sisters of Mercy, the town can’t complete work yet. The fields would eventually need to have water connections to work, he noted.

Other priorities for the funds include converting a full-sized baseball field into a multi-purpose field at Diamond Hill Park and to start preparing for a turf field at Tucker Field, a project that’s “down the road,” Mutter said. “That’s not imminent.”

Another plan would be to make Garvin field into a premiere Little League field, the mayor said, noting that the town has had a lot of success with baseball, especially Little League, and he would like to see a field representative of that.

“Those are the four big aspects of the plan,” said Mutter who previously told The Breeze that the goal is to spend money on places that get a lot of activity in town.

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