DARIEN, Conn. — Several Darien youth sports organizations are teaming up to serve as a unified voice for all youth and high school sports in town. As its first project, the group wants to install turf on existing grass fields to increase field availability.
The Darien Athletic Foundation was started after various youth sports organizations began independently discussing the idea of raising money for more turf fields. Participation in Darien youth sports grows every year, but there has no increase in field space. Rain forced grass field closures or closure warnings on nearly a quarter of the days in the spring season and a third of the days in the fall season. The organizations believe that if more grass fields had turf, it would increase field availability for Darien sports.
The groups thought about coordinating fundraising efforts but decided to create an enduring group that would support all Darien youth sports. The Darien Athletic Foundation was born, and it set out on their first project, "Making Every Day a Sunny Day."
Representatives met with school administrators and members of the Board of Education.The foundation has put together a prioritized list of projects, including putting turf on the baseball/field hockey/football field behind the visitor stands at Darien High School and the two grass oval fields. It would also consider adding amenities such as a concession stand and bathrooms for the stadium field, as well as a new stadium scoreboard.
After a discussion at its Tuesday night meeting, the Darien Board of Education decided it would be receptive to a donation of new fields. More work needs to be done before it can become a reality, said Peter Graham, one of the group's organizers. The foundation must find out which fields can have turf installed, take wetland limitations and regulations into account, figure out field maintenance and determine potential impact on traffic and neighboring communities.
With the Board of Education's blessing, the foundation is now planning to move forward by establishing a governance board, meeting with Planning and Zoning and other town officials and finalizing how it will raise the money to complete the project.