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.