‘It Is Going To Hurt Us’: Parks Officials Seek Youth Sports’ ‘Fields Usage’ Funds To Fertilize Playing Fields

New Canaan’s playing fields will suffer this fall if funding doesn’t come through soon to fertilize them, parks officials say. The fields at New Canaan High School and parks such as Waveny and Mead need two applications of fertilizer by the end of June, according to John Howe, parks superintendent in the Department of Public Works. But this year, access to the funds typically available for the work has changed, under a new system whereby the nonprofit organizations that operate each youth sport pay a $20 per-player “fields usage fee” into the town’s General Fund, for re-allocation back to parks, officials said during a meeting last week of the Youth Sports Committee. “If we are not going to see that money for a month, that means I am two months away,” Howe said during the volunteer group’s April 18 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “That money is going to come in at the end of the budget year.

Youth Sports Committee Votes 5-0 for Mandatory $20 Per-Player, Per-Season Fields Usage Fee

Following a unanimous vote three years in the making, members of a committee charged with overseeing youth sports in New Canaan are poised to recommend formally that organizations using town-owned fields be assessed a $20 fields usage fee per player per season. The Youth Sports Committee following its 5-0 vote likely will recommend the mandatory fee to the Park & Recreation Commission, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday. If the fee finds support there, the advisory commission would go to the Board of Selectmen for approval. “The town wants to make it [the fee] mandatory which I think is very acceptable and it would be very helpful,” committee member Sally Campbell said during the Youth Sports Committee’s Oct. 5 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center.

Did You Hear … ?

Congratulations to the Pauley family on the birth of baby girl Peyton Ann Elaine Joyner. The daughter of Michael Joyner and Lauren Pauley—and granddaughter of recently retired New Canaan Tree Warden Bruce Pauley and his wife, Elaine—Peyton was born at 10:04 p.m. on July 14 at Norwalk Hospital. Lauren Pauley is a 2000 Trinity Catholic High School graduate. The Joyner family resides in Stamford. ***

New Canaan High School 2015 graduate and football standout Zach Allen will wear No.

Selectman To Youth Sports Committee: Meet Your Charge, and with Total Transparency

A selectman on Tuesday urged a committee that oversees youth sports in New Canaan to operate with total transparency and make good on its original charge to ensure that the private groups overseeing youth football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and other sports are contributing equally to the town on a per-player basis to fields maintenance. Specifically, the Youth Sports Committee in three years has not been able to impose a seasonal $20 per-player fee for the various youth sports groups that would come back to the town for redistribution in fields upkeep, Selectman Beth Jones told the committee at a special meeting. A key responsibility of the committee is to “try to make it fair between all youth sports groups, that they are all chipping in their fair share, and you were going to make that open to the daylight,” yet after years of sporadic meetings that at times appear not to have been properly posted with the Town Clerk, no hard information to that effect has materialized. While thanking the committee members for their volunteerism, what’s needed is “more sunshine on all of this,” Jones told Youth Sports Chairman Chris Robustelli and committee member Sally Campbell at the selectmen meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “The more information that is available to anybody that wants to look at it, the better off we all are, because then people don’t think we are hiding anything,” Jones said.

Town Officials Want More Consistency in Fees, Fields Use among Youth Sports Programs

Saying youth sports in New Canaan must be treated equally—in terms of field access and use, for example—town officials on Monday night talked about setting uniform standards for all programs and making mandatory a newly calculated, across-the-board per-player fee for fields upkeep and upgrades. New Canaan in divvying up coveted—and, with youth sports themselves expanding, increasingly scarce—access to playing fields at public parks, is “at the mercy” of groups that may stake a claim by funding capital improvements, Selectman Nick Williams said at the Youth Sports Committee meeting. “That’s got to stop,” Williams said at the meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “As a town we need to start telling the sports, ‘First of all, you’ll all be treated equally at the outset, and you’ll all be charged the same fee and by the way, girls and boys, same fee. And then we’ll move on from that.