Sandwich Town Officials Strike Deal To Allow For Sale Of Pop Warner Site
By: Mary Stanley
The Sandwich Bull Dogs, the town’s Pop Warner Football team, may be on the move.
The Pop Warner organization has agreed to give up its use of 7.2 acres of land next to the Stop & Shop on Quaker Meetinghouse Road in South Sandwich. The plan, which still needs Town Meeting approval, is to roll the 7.2. acres into the 50 town-owned commercial acres next door that the town is looking to sell.
The seven acres contain all of the Sandwich Pop Warner facilities, including its football field.
According to the agreement reached last week, in exchange for giving up this land, Pop Warner will get a new, possibly better field elsewhere in town, at a location yet to be determined.
For more than a dozen years, there has been a management agreement in place allowing the football program to use the acres for its playing field. But that agreement included a clause giving the town the authority to take back the property if it needed to do so.
Over the years, the football organization has poured time and money into creating a lush turf field, installing lights, bleacher seating and other amenities.
“We recognize that the organization has put a lot of money and sweat equity into that field. We didn’t want to go in and just take it back without being fair to them,” said Mr. Dunham.
So for the past several months, Mr. Dunham, along with Assistant Town Manager Douglas A. Lapp, Recreation Director Guy J. Boucher and President of Sandwich Pop Warner Patrick W. Van Cott have been discussing how the town could include that property in its sale of the town-owned land without harming the football program.
Mr. Lapp said an agreement was reached that when the town commercial property is sold, the successful bidder will be responsible for constructing a new football field of equal or higher value on another piece of town-owned property.
“This agreement works out well for us as long as we get an equal or better field somewhere else in town. We don’t mind moving to another field as long as it is in the Town of Sandwich. It’s good for us and it’s good for the town,” said Mr. Van Cott.
The town has not identified which parcel of land would be given to the organization.
As part of the agreement, the football program will not move from its current home until the new field is completed.
“We want to time this so that they don’t miss a season,” said Mr. Lapp.
He said including this land in the commercial property sale makes the property that much more attractive and valuable.
“The Pop Warner field is in a significant portion of the commercial property. By including this land in the sale, it could increase the value, in terms of development potential and ultimately increase the tax revenues,” said Mr. Lapp.
“We’ve been floating the idea of including this property in the sale of the commercial for a number of years. But it has just been over the past few months that we began talking with the Pop Warner organization about how we could do this, so that it is beneficial to them and to us. We are extremely appreciative for Pop Warner’s cooperation with this,” said Mr. Lapp.
But voters still need to approve giving authority to the town to include the football field in the sale of the commercial property. Mr. Dunham said the article will be on the warrant at next month’s Town Meeting.