Track nearly ready
MANCHESTER — The running track at the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park is taking final shape and should be ready for laps soon.
The 400-meter track, paid for by Burr and Burton Academy, now has its rubberized surface on top of the blacktop.
All that was left a week ago was the paint designating the running lanes and other markings.
The rubberized surface is reported to be easier on joints and the track will be open to the public any time it's not in use for organized meets or practice.
Manchester Elementary Middle School and the Taconic & Green School District have expressed interested in potentially starting a track program, according to Manchester Town Manager John O'Keefe. There are thoughts of potentially holding regional or even statewide meets at the track in the future and there are other uses as well such as a Special Olympics or Senior Olympics track and field events.
The track features standard outdoor 400-meter track dimensions with staggard running lane markings.
The track will have six lanes around the circumference of the quarter-mile oval with eight lanes down the straight away on the north side for sprinting events like the 100-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles.
The facility will feature two pits for long jump or triple jump events on the inside of the track on west side of the oval. High jump and pole vault areas will be inside the track on the east side.
There will be throwing areas for shot put, discus and javelin as well.
Clearly, work remains. The grounds are almost exclusively dirt due to construction.
The infield area of the track will be the newly resurfaced Knapp Field. Sod will be put down on Knapp Field this fall.
The field will feature an NCAA regulation soccer field at 120 yards long by 75 yards wide. The field will be able to accommodate soccer, football or lacrosse.
An equipment shed still needs to be built and power needs to be finalized for the electricity and WiFi for the track.
Finally, trees will be planted around the track to provide a barrier between the road and the park and to replace the trees that had to be removed for the project.
Across the park, work is also continuing on the grandstand at Applejack field.
A $200,000 improvement is underway to the covered seating area that was originally built in 1878.
The town is paying 25 percent of the that cost with the rest being covered by a grant. Town money was part of the bond issue approved by voters at town meeting this year.
In addition to address some structural issues, there are improvements to the roof support header that has allowed the town to reduce the number of vertical supports from 11 to 6 to improve the view for spectators.
While most of the bleacher will remain the same, at the bottom, there will be three rows that now feature stadium style seating with flip down chairs and cup holders.
The work is also improving the seating for those with physical restrictions. A handicapped lift has been installed to get people in wheelchairs or who have mobility issues into the grandstand and there will be four dedicated handicapped areas where people in wheelchairs can sit and see over the crowd at ground level.
The work is progressing and should be completed by this fall.
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