Claxton Field Renovation Project

Claxton Project Description

Claxton Field, located at 1380 Central Avenue includes two softball fields with an overlapping multi-purpose field, trail access, picnic tables, restrooms, and a parking lot. It had a playground area, which was recently removed. This site served as a burn dump prior to the development of the Recycling and Transfer Station in the 1950s/1960s. Claxton was redeveloped as a recreational facility approximately 60 years ago, when additional soil fill was brought to the site and leveled to create the existing fields.

For many years, the Park & Recreation Department and Department of Public Works (DPW) have identified Claxton Field as a priority for renovation within the Town’s annual capital budget process, to upgrade the fields and amenities for Needham residents. There has been strong support from user groups, particularly from the softball community who have limited other field options in town. In 2019, the Park & Recreation Commission submitted a request for design funds to the Community Preservation Committee, which were approved at the October 2020 Town Meeting.

The Renovation Project includes:

  • Replacing Claxton #1 lights
  • Add outfield fencing at varsity softball field
  • Install new player’s benches and dugouts
  • New skinned infields
  • Upgrading turf 
  • Improving ADA compliance throughout 
  • Installing perimeter loop path and possible “workout” stations
  • Installing other “value added” park improvements 
  • Installing batting cages
  • Improve landscape with new tree plantings and related enhancements

UPDATE - February 9, 2023

In Spring 2022, the Town's contractor for the project, Weston and Sampson (W&S) provided the Town with results from a round of soil borings. These samples showed that debris, including glass and plastic shards, was observed 4 to 7 inches below the playground surface. Out of an abundance of caution, the Town immediately removed the playground structures, placed additional soil on top, reseeded with grass and installed a temporary fence around the area. The borings also confirmed the presence of 10 to 12 inches of topsoil free of debris across the field areas, so the fields remained open and available for continued use.

Town staff and W&S discussed whether additional, voluntary testing to determine the chemical make-up of the soil was warranted. Staff recommended to the Park & Recreation Commission that no further testing be done. 

In December 2022, DEP requested that the Town perform further testing on the chemical make-up of the soil. While Claxton Field is not currently regulated under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan, which sets state reporting and mitigation requirements of landowners, DEP’s position is that the Town has an obligation to test based solely on the site’s historical use as a burn dump.

The Town has re-engaged W&S to undertake this additional soil testing.

Materials for February 15, 2023 Joint Meeting of the Select Board, Park and Recreation Commission, Board of Health, School Committee, Finance Committee, and Community Preservation Committee.  

Related Information

February 8, 2023 - Select Board, Park & Recreation Commission, Board of Health, School Committee, Finance Committee, and Community Preservation Committee

October 12, 2022 - Weston and Sampson Central Avenue Utility Work Laydown Area Letter

September 22, 2022 - Weston and Sampson Claxton Field Environmental Investigation Summary and Recommendations

January 27, 2022  - Weston and Sampson Claxton Field Environmental Summary and Improvement Recommendation

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Updated February 15, 2023