Finally, soccer fields to be redone
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Club officials have been pushing for renovations of the fields since they began playing there. “We end up canceling a lot of games — the kids couldn’t practice,” Schwartz said. “Soccer is played in all sorts of weather, [but] we [couldn’t] play there in the rain when it was grass.”
The county is funding the renovations with an environmental bond act, Martino said. The soccer club, meanwhile, has been setting aside money from various fundraisers for more than three decades to fund a project like this, Schwartz said, adding that it hoped to build two synthetic-turf fields, but could only afford one. “We’ve been waiting for so long to do it,” he said. “At some point in the future … we would hope to maybe one day turf the second field.”
Schwartz said that the club is also purchasing lights for the fields and paying for their installation. Teams cannot currently practice at night, and lights will help coaches accommodate practice schedules with players’ parents’ work schedules.
Martino said that the county is not installing lights as part of this project. “If lighting is to be installed in the future, it will be done by the soccer club, not the county,” he said, “and will need to be approved by the county only after acceptance by the local community surrounding the basin.”
The County Legislature’s presiding officer, Norma Gonsalves, who took office in 1998, around the time the fields were created, said she hosted a community meeting two years ago to inform the residents about the construction — including the lights — and that the news was well received.The lights, she said, are “going to be directed downward and not impact on the surrounding community. All that was taken into consideration.
“With the lighting,” Gonsalves added, “you have less possibility of vandalism.”