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Penders Field May Get Artificial Turf

Town officials say Penders Field, where Stratford High plays its games, is worn out from overuse. They say artificial turf would make it easier and cheaper to maintain.

Penders Field will most likely be resurfaced with artificial turf after the Town Council passes a new capital improvement budget.

Councilman Paul Hoydick (R-10) said the project has a preliminary cost estimate of $1.3 million, although about half of that would come from previously allocated funds.

The projected cost is only a rough estimate that might change once the field renovations are designed and go out to bid, he added.

Town officials say Penders Field, where Stratford High School plays its football games, has been badly in need of renovation for years. The surface is uneven and bumpy and one end zone is at a higher elevation than the other, they said.

The field came up for discussion last week at a meeting of the Board of Education Liaison Committee, which includes members of the Board of Education and the Town Council.

Board of Education Chairman Gavin Forrester said the field is in such bad shape that Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) referees last year debated whether it was safe to play conference games on it.

Forrester said the field is worn out from overuse, and the Stratford Department of Public Works staff has been reduced making it difficult to keep up with the maintenance.

But using it less has made a difference, he said. Stratford High’s team now holds its practices on an athletic field in Longbrook Park and Pop Warner has moved its games and practices to Bunnell High School.

Bunnell High School’s football field was resurfaced several years ago with artificial turf. Officials say the artificial turf is easier to maintain and doesn’t wear out as fast.

Forrester described himself as a traditionalist, so he favors natural grass sports fields. But he agreed that artificial turf is the financially smart choice.

What do you think would be the financially smart choice to fix the field? Tell us in the comments section below.

AMY WILTSIE September 12, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Upgrade penders! You did it for one high school, it's only fair that SHS gets the same.
Kate Barnett Gloss September 12, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Either upgrade Penders so that both schools have the same quality of field - or share Bunnell's.
Christine Pelfrey September 12, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Upgrade but use natural grass. Penders has been plagued by poor drainage until last year's replacement of the broken underground drainage pipes. That broken pipe flooded the basements of at least four homes. Damage which the town paid for as it was clearly their fault. Artificial turf will not absord the rains/snow runoff properly. The town finally replaced the fence that was damaged in Hurricane Gloria, yes 26 years later, moving the fenceline by more than a foot and leaving sawed off metal support poles and tree stumps on three properties. The sprinklers have also been recently fixed. The Town has invested too much money in the past two years to start over. Not to mention Penders shares a property line with at least three private homes. I for one don't want articial chemical turf right under my kids' bedroom window. As for usage the fence on Glendale is regularly jumped and the field used by unauthorized people leaving the neighbors to police the field.
Christine Pelfrey September 12, 2011 at 09:46 PM
In addition, the football team practices on both the practice field and on Penders. Every day for the past few weeks.
Moe S. September 12, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Its time our players and coaches look forward to playing at the legendary Pender's Field, it appears finally all the behind the scenes work from all Town Officials, parents, volunteers, etc. is going to pay off. Gavin Forrester and Councilman Matt Catalano get full marks for taking the initiative in walking these hallowed grounds, agreeing that it is not the field we all grew up on anymore, and a change is needed. Thanks boys.....
G townsend September 13, 2011 at 09:10 PM
The problem is what do you do with the visitor side football bleachers as you can see they are clearly positioned on baseball field during football season,Any attempt to move them in and out will surely result in permanent damage. The only solution is total removal of the visitor side
Jim Ravis July 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM
2 MILLION dollars.... AWARD OF PENDERS FIELD CONTRACT ó Bid No 2012-048: Penders Field Synthetic Turf. Dalling Construction Co. of Stratford, CT in the estimated amount of $1,924,538.00
Resident July 31, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Congratulations we are spending $2,000,000 on a rarely used and inaccessible field and neglecting our educational system! How is this helping the future of Stratford's kids? What a waste of money!

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