On Nov. 8, our community will be asked to consider changes to the Board of Finance. Having worked extensively with various local government bodies and directly with the first selectman as part of the renovation of Dunning Stadium, and in planning for the continued development of athletic facilities in town, I am strongly opposed to these changes.
In late May a number of community-minded leaders were brought together to address an urgent need to have the surface of Dunning Stadium at the high school replaced. Dunning was deemed by turf professionals to be imminently close to the end of its useful life. If not replaced over the summer the field would have faced restricted use in the fall, including the loss of availability to many youth sports. The first selectman was completely aware that not moving this initiative forward would have negatively affected our children. Raising private funds was only one of the hurdles to accomplish the project. Coordination with town officials was equally crucial to getting a project of this scale accomplished within the necessary timeframe.
According to Leading Design & Development Inc., a nationally recognized synthetic turf design & development firm employed by the New Canaan Athletic Foundation, completing a project of this scale in such a compressed timeframe was unprecedented. This would not have been possible without the first selectman having a complete understanding and awareness of the time sensitive nature of the situation. Mr. Mallozzi was then able to provide leadership to all of the necessary governing bodies that touched the project. Legal representation to review the contract, bonding the project, liaising with school officials and contributing to the prevailing wage issue were all examples of how the first selectman contributed to coordinating all of the details required to have the contract signed by the town.
If not for the comprehensive knowledge of the first selectman regarding all aspects that needed to be addressed for a project of this scale, I strongly believe the Dunning surface replacement would not have been completed over the summer. Mr. Mallozzi’s support, guidance and execution were as important as the private funds that were so generously contributed to see the project through. It was a perfect example of what public and private partnership should look like, ultimately for the benefit of the Community. The New Canaan Athletic Foundation continues to work towards major upgrades that will enhance athletic facilities for all of our athletes and ultimately enrich the profile of our great Community. I believe having the first selectman as the chairman of the Board of Finance is vital to ensuring we accomplish our goals. Vote ‘No’ on CRC recommendation #3.
Michael E. Benevento
Chairman, New Canaan Athletic Foundation