Op-Ed: No Regrets as New Athletic Complex Serves New Canaan Community


On Monday, we celebrated the new Water Tower II and III fields with a photo of all who helped to get the project completed, together with youth athletes from various sports that have already started to benefit from the additional turf space. 

Aerial photo of the track and turf fields at New Canaan High School, from April 2018. Photo published with permission from its owner

But my celebration had come on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. On that day I walked to my car parked in the lot next to Dunning Field following my son’s JV football game on Water Tower 1. I stopped and took a picture of the activity on the new Water Tower 2&3 fields. Following four straight days of rain, youth programs from soccer, to football to field hockey were all practicing on the new fields. No calls to the fields hotline, no delays or rescheduling of practices. Business as usual, and kids were happy. So was I. I thought to myself, “This is what it was about.” This is why we started the New Canaan Athletic Foundation.

From a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the sports complex at New Canaan High School, Sept. 24, 2018. Mike Horyczun photo

But I have not always been happy over the course of the past two years. While the intentions were always pure and the goal remained achievable, the process was not without its speed bumps. As with any large scale construction project, there were unforeseen costs and complications throughout. I have no regrets about the decisions that were made. We were not going to allow those potential barriers derail the end goal. We could have communicated better. I appreciate that now. But time was of the essence, and we needed to make swift decisions and press forward.

My regret came from some of the reaction to the project cost overruns and communication, both from town officials and members of our community. We set out to do a good thing. We gifted the town over $2.5 million, and accomplished a project that had been “talked” about for more than five years prior to our involvement. I felt like our credibility, and thus our ability to accomplish great things in the future, had been damaged.

I’m OK with that now, because of what I witnessed on Tuesday Sept. 11. All of those kids, representing a wide spectrum of sports, playing on our town’s premier athletic facility. It is what we had always dreamed about. The New Canaan Athletic Foundation is stronger than ever, and with the support of our parents, our community benefactors and our town officials, we will continue to do great things for all of our young athletes and our community at large.

Mike Benevento
Chairman, New Canaan Athletic Foundation

4 thoughts on “Op-Ed: No Regrets as New Athletic Complex Serves New Canaan Community

  1. Mike, Thank you and your committee for your hard work and dedication. You have improved the town for virtually every New Canaan family. Volunteers who are generous with their time as well as donors who are financially generous make our town special and unique. Thank you again.

  2. Thank you Mike. The athletic facilities at NCHS – from Dunning to Water Tower I, II and III, and the new Track – are first class and a real asset to our entire town. It is great to see so many athletes – young and old – taking full advantage of these facilities. Having access to facilities such as these only enhances our community’s commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle. As a community, we should all be grateful to our Town Leaders, the New Canaan Athletic Foundation, and the hundreds of private donors who made these latest improvements possible. So here’s a loud shout-out of THANKS to all involved.

  3. Thanks Mike
    I don’t think most people realize the time and effort that it took for this to become a reality. Thanks to all the people that donated not only money but their time to see this through. A special thanks to you for leading this charge.

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