By Kristen Levine, Reporter
“Krashes Field started with the idea of building soccer fields,” says Ed Carlson, founder and president of E.B. Carlson Marketing. That idea grew into the multi-purpose fields that Krashes Field evolved into, with Carlson providing pro-bono work to help the project off the ground.
“David and Barbara Krashes donated $100 thousand for the effort, putting it in the Worcester Community Foundation….they wanted to support the youth of the town,” Carlson said. The funds provided to the Foundation would be applied to Princeton, with the stipulation that if the funds were not used within five to ten years, they would go to other local charities. Carlson, alongside Terry Hart and Paul Schlaker, worked together on a committee to buy land in town with the funds provided.
“We were able to buy 120 acres of land alongside East Princeton Road with the Massachusetts DCR [Department of Conservation and Recreation],” Carlson said. “DCR ended up with 100 acres and the town with 17. The 17 acres were the junk part, it was an old gravel pit.”
Facing the challenge of reviving the gravel pit into a viable space for the town, Carlson worked to gather funds from private donors and grants, among other contributions. A point of pride for the project was that no tax funds were allocated to the project. A federal grant of $220 thousand was secured for the project through the Massachusetts Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program.
“It was bought with no taxes to the town,” Carlson said. “We raised private donations in town, about $500 thousand…it was really nice, because the park was built by volunteer donations, not taxes. If you go to the field house, there’s bricks with people’s names on them and plaques for lead donors.”
With funds in hand, the project was a coming together for Princeton to slowly recreate the gravel pit into Krashes Field.
“I was the site manager,” Carlson said. “Busy Bee Nursery in Holden won the bid [for landscaping] and did a great job building up the fields…we ended up with three soccer fields. A local architect with Woodmeister Corp built the field house, he based it on the former summit house on Wachusett Mountain.”
With what Carlson dubbed “a mixture of negotiations, grant writing, fundraising, and a lot of opportunities”, Krashes Field gradually shaped over five years.
“A lot of people wanted to help,” he said. The outpouring of town support for the project was due in no small part to the Krashes’ involvement, with Carlson saying, “The Krashes gave the initial funds to get the park built.”
One of the features in Krashes Field Carlson is most proud of is the flagpole, erected in memory of Captain Christopher Sullivan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2005.
“We went and talked to the family of Captain Sullivan, they were supportive and liked the idea,” Carlson said. “We had a major general there for the dedication, a congressman, no idea how many people were there…it was quite an event to honor Captain Sullivan and I’m glad we have [the flagpole].”
Looking to the future of the field, Carlson is hopeful for its continued improvements and utilization by the town.
“I hope the park evolves into something to meet the needs of the community,” he said. “I hope it continues to evolve into whatever is going to bring people together.”
By Kristen Levine, Reporter