Athletic Foundation: Demand Rising for Use of New Canaan’s Turf Fields

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a nonprofit organization that supports youth and high school athletics has seen a steady increase in use of New Canaan’s turf fields in the past three years, officials say. Gross revenues generated by events held on turf fields at New Canaan High School grew from $30,975 in 2019 to $67,095 in 2020 and then $81,675 in 2021, according to Mike Benevento, chair of the New Canaan Athletic Foundation’s Board of Directors. Crediting the organization’s executive director, Bobby Rushton, for the increased use of the fields as an “enterprise zone,” Benevento told members of the Board of Finance this week that “the fields are getting used as much as they possibly can.”

“And the other added benefit to this is we get a lot of positive feedback from people from surrounding towns who come in for these tournaments and practices and what not, that our field complexes are just the top of the game for the entire area,” Benevento told the finance board during its regular meeting, held Tuesday night via videoconference. 

The comments came during a general update to the Board from Benevento and Vice Chair Mike Murray. Benevento said that the Athletic Foundation between the 2021 spring and fall seasons also collected a total of $93,825 in “player use fees” from New Canaan’s youth and recreational sports organizations, and that additional funds were expected to come from men’s softball and flag football programs.

He added that the Athletic Foundation did well with respect to fundraising even though a major event that had been planned for the fall, the Field Fest, had to be canceled amid the pandemic. Two major capital upgrades that had originally been slated for the summer of 2022 have been pushed back one year, Benevento said—enhancements to the press box and entrance at Dunning Stadium, and a new varsity baseball complex at Mead Park.

Town: Carriers ‘Very Interested’ in Proposed Cell Tower for Northwestern New Canaan

The town’s highest elected official said this week that multiple carriers are showing interest in offering service through a new cell tower proposed for northwestern New Canaan. To be sited in a wooded hill at 1837 Ponus Ridge, just north of the intersection at Dan’s Highway and across the street from Laurel Reservoir, the proposed tower if approved by a state agency would serve New Canaan’s public safety needs and also have traditional cell carriers. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan told members of the Board of Finance Tuesday night that the Danbury-based wireless infrastructure company that will apply to the Connecticut Siting Council for permission to erect the tower, Homeland Towers, “has had some good news that the carriers are very interested, beyond AT&T which has already signed up in that location.”

“There seems to be a focus away from New York City now, and focusing on the suburbs, with the carriers, because they realize people are working from home and they need to ramp up their service in the suburbs,” Moynihan said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “So I’m getting very good vibes from the carriers that they’re willing to work with us on several locations.”

His comments came during an update to the Board of Finance on various matters before the town. New Canaan for years has grappled with a lack of cell service through large areas of town, including much of the northeastern and northwestern quadrants.