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Where Rubber Meets Road: Newport Begins Resurface Work on Town Track

  • Brian Cornish, vice president of Maine Tennis and Track, holds a tape while measuring and marking the radius of the Newport track's curve in preparation for paving Monday, July 14, 2014.<br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

    Brian Cornish, vice president of Maine Tennis and Track, holds a tape while measuring and marking the radius of the Newport track's curve in preparation for paving Monday, July 14, 2014.

    Valley News - James M. Patterson Purchase photo reprints »

  • PJ Lovely, Newport recreation director, right, and Jason Avery, facilities coordinator for the Newport Schools, cut down a bush that grew up around the perimeter of the school's track in preparation for paving Monday, July 14, 2014. Paving, first with asphalt, then a layer of rubber and latex on top, will begin Tuesday. <br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

    PJ Lovely, Newport recreation director, right, and Jason Avery, facilities coordinator for the Newport Schools, cut down a bush that grew up around the perimeter of the school's track in preparation for paving Monday, July 14, 2014. Paving, first with asphalt, then a layer of rubber and latex on top, will begin Tuesday.

    Valley News - James M. Patterson Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brian Cornish, vice president of Maine Tennis and Track, holds a tape while measuring and marking the radius of the Newport track's curve in preparation for paving Monday, July 14, 2014.<br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson
  • PJ Lovely, Newport recreation director, right, and Jason Avery, facilities coordinator for the Newport Schools, cut down a bush that grew up around the perimeter of the school's track in preparation for paving Monday, July 14, 2014. Paving, first with asphalt, then a layer of rubber and latex on top, will begin Tuesday. <br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

Newport — Weather permitting, the Newport Middle High School track will be repaved today and, in about a month, it could be open for use again.

“They can’t wait for it to get done,” Newport Recreation Department director and middle school track coach P.J. Lovely said Monday at the facility. “It is one of the most-used community tracks in the area. People come out here at 5 a.m.”

In June, after several years of putting together funding, including about $100,000 in donations, the old asphalt surface was torn up and the chunks of material were ground together with dirt and gravel as the base for the new track, Lovely said. It was then leveled and, on Monday, workers were placing flags in various locations to guide today’s paving schedule.

Once the 2½ inches of asphalt is down and cured for two weeks, the top layer — three-eighths of an inch in depth — is applied. Brian Cornish, vice president of Maine Tennis and Track, which was awarded the job, said the rubber and latex binder on top of the asphalt is applied in five separate layers, one each day. The goal now is to do that work around the first week of August.

The quarter-mile oval around the football field was built in 1987, and over the years there has been some patching and filling of cracks. The track was also relined once.

“There was a lot of wear and tear, and weeds were growing up in one lane,” Lovely said. “To get 25 years out of a track in New England is pretty lucky. We sealed it a few times, but there has not been a big refurbishment. This is a total replacement.”

The roughly $240,000 project was funded partially by a $130,000 withdrawal from a school district capital reserve fund approved by voters in March, in addition to the donations and some money from the town.

The high jump area is also being resurfaced, and the underground sprinkler system for the football field was upgraded. Lovely said they put in new sprinkler heads and added wiring so the system can be set on timers. The football field was resodded, and a power source was run underground and installed inside the track.

Once complete, there will be a few new rules for users to follow, including no wheeled equipment such as strollers and bicycles, and no pets will be allowed.

The track is owned by the school but maintained by the town, which had put some money in a reserve account but budget constraints put a stop to that. About five years ago, the recreation department headed a fundraising project, and a lot of contributions were received from area businesses, Lovely said.

“This has been a town and school project,” he said.

Cornish, with Maine Track and Tennis of Gray, Maine, said the completion date, including striping of the lanes, will depend a lot on the weather. Ideally, they look for a week of no rain to put the latex surface on the top. It is a permeable surface that will drain water and also allow moisture to escape.

The town has more than 100 youngsters competing in track and field, from the recreation league through the middle school and high school.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.