By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — McEvoy Park between Sutton and Chadwick streets is one of the town’s most popular places for soccer and softball.
The park also boasts a playground that neighborhood children use often.
But, whenever it rains, the park is plagued by puddles, making it difficult or even impossible to play on some of the fields.
A rehabilitation plan is expected to eliminate the puddles, according to Public Works Director Bruce Thibodeau and Richard Green, a civil engineer who is a member of the town’s Fields Committee. The reconstructed fields will be equipped both irrigation and drainage systems, they said.
Christine Scypinski, a landscape architect with Waterfield Design Group, the Winchester firm hired by the town to plan the project, told residents Wednesday night that the grass will absorb much of the water. Excess water will be directed into the storm water system, she said.
While McEvoy Park is a well-known scene for team sports, residents who attended the meeting at the Department of Public Works headquarters at 384 Osgood St. made it clear they want to see a better playground there.
Matthew and Becky Bularzik, of 14 Highland View Ave., attended the gathering with Desmond, their 2-month-old son. Becky Bularzik said she frequently brings their daughter, Olivia, 2, to the playground. The slide is at one end of the park while the swings are in another section, she said.
The Bularziks said they want to see an improved playground. Scypinski said that’s in the plan. The structures will be stronger and safer; and a material called Fibar will make the ground under the equipment safer for children, she said.
Scypinski’s plan initially called for putting the parking area near Chadwick Street. Residents said Chadwick Street will not handle a large volume of traffic very well so the parking will be relocated to the Sutton Street end of the park, Scypinski said.
Thibodeau said the town will probably be ready to seek bids for the project in February. Construction should begin by April, he said. The Town Meeting on May 19 approved spending slightly more than $900,000 from the Community Preservation Fund to improve McEvoy Park.
Scypinski estimated the first phase of the project, including the irrigation and drainage systems, a new parking lot, a restroom, a concession stand and a storage building, at $840,000.