SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen authorized the final payment Tuesday night for corrections made in the area of a new youth football field, part of which was built in the wrong place by the Maine Army National Guard.
The $3,000 approved Tuesday to pay for stone, piping and drainage diversion ends months of discussion over the football field with property owner Kris Laney, whose land abuts the field that is part of the sports complex at the Skowhegan Community Center off West Front Street.
Voters at the annual Town Meeting June 8 agreed to purchase a 50-by-470-foot slice of land owned by Laney at the far end of the football field for $15,000. That cost, plus about $8,000 for engineering and drainage work, and $4,500 for survey work, also caused by the project, brings the total amount to be spent to about $27,500.
Town Manager Christine Almand and Road Commissioner Greg Dore, who was interim town manager during some of the public discussion on the project, said the labor and equipment use donated by the National Guard saved the town about $250,000 to construct the ball field. The field was built during the past two summers.
“We saved the town a tremendous amount of money with the help of the National Guard,” Almand said.
Dore said buying the strip of land for $15,000 was cheaper than moving the football field at an estimated cost of $45,000.
Youth football previously was played on an old field on Willow Street, behind the site of the now-demolished Skowhegan Middle School. The high school has its own football field and the new middle school uses the high school’s practice field.
The miscalculation of the placement of the field falls on the town, they said.
“I believe that it was a lack of oversight on our part and this is our way of resolving that,” Almand said Wednesday.
Dore said the field was surveyed, but town officials did not “stay on top of it” to make sure the field was in the right place.
“We had an engineer there checking on materials, the placement of the (drainage) pipe and all that,” Dore said. “We skipped the step of — once they started building the football field — to ensure that it was built in the right spot. The football field was skewered about 12 feet onto Laney’s property.”
They said drainage problems affected three or four properties and since have been fixed with a new drainage system.
“Part of the football field’s drainage system dumped off into the woods at the top of the hill; it goes down the hill into the field and down to the street,” Dore said. “Basically what we did is channeled water onto their property — there are three or four there.”
The new drainage system corrected all that, he said.
Laney declined to comment Wednesday. Almand said the negotiations with Laney had been cordial and not adversarial.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367