The following letter was sent to town officials on the Boards of Selectmen, Finance and Education, and was reprinted here with the permission of the author, Wilton resident Dave Cote.

Dear Wilton Leaders:

As proposed cuts to the town’s 2014-15 budget appear inevitable, one line item that cannot be eliminated is the proper refinishing of the gym floors at Middlebrook School. 

I am aware that the gym floors are just one of many items that “should not be eliminated,” however, we’ve watched for years now as students and athletes slip and slide across our unsafe gym floors. And every summer, the proper refinishing of the floors once again gets pushed back for another year.

I’ve attached my original letter dated June 25, 2013 for reference, stating the many safety concerns and reasons the floors need to be redone. Since then, I’ve worked with BOE Supervisor John Murphy, local contractors, and the Wilton Basketball Association to present attractive quotes for the project. The WBA proposed funding a percentage of the project through fundraisers. Yet another way neighboring towns improve and maintain athletic facilities is through local and corporate sponsorship, in exchange for modest advertising space. Not a bad idea when facing the alternative, budget cuts. 

The gym floors at both Cider Mill and Middlebrook need to be properly refinished — repaired, stripped, sanding, cleaned, and coated — yet all we seem to do is kick maintenance problems down the road, which only costs our town more in the long run. John Murphy and his Buildings & Grounds team have always done the best they can with what little resources they have. It’s time we set aside the proper resources for them to do THIS job right.

I hope other concerned Wilton residents and parents contact you to urge your support of protecting this budget item

David Cote

In 2013, Cote sent this letter to town officials raising the issue about what he said were unsafe and embarrassing conditions of the gym floors.

Dear Wilton Leaders,

I am writing as a concerned parent, to bring to your attention the unsafe and embarrassing condition of our elementary and middle schools’ gymnasium floors, specifically Middlebrook’s two basketball courts, the main gym and the “new” gym.

With the success of our high school basketball program, we are finally being referred to as a “basketball town” as quoted in Wilton newspapers. The feeder program for WHS Basketball is our Wilton Basketball Association. Enrollment forecasts for this year’s 5th through 8th grade boys’ and girls’ town travel programs are higher than ever!

I am NOT on the Wilton Basketball Association Board, however, I do have two boys in the program, and have watched over the past two winters as players dangerously and unpredictably slip and slide across our courts. 

The floors have not been properly maintained nor refinished, and no amount of mopping nor sweeping before game-time improves them. Our floors’ poor conditions become even MORE evident when our teams travel to surrounding towns, and we see how squeaky clean (literally!) other towns’ courts are. Sneakers do not “squeak” on our Wilton court floors, they slip and slide.

I have offered my time and energy to WBA President, Vic Cunningham. I have two friends willing to help, Dion Cocoros and Ralph Strazza. All three men have kids in the WBA program. More parents are sure to help as well. Wilton Volleyball also plays on these courts.

Last week, I contacted John Murphy, District Supervisor of our schools’ buildings and grounds. John is willing to look into the project. However, he cautioned me that there are no funds for the project.

Several parents have commented that while there may not be funds available for the project, even worse would be if a visiting team’s player got hurt slipping or sliding on our court, and they decided to file a suit against our town.

Summer time is obviously the best time to get the project done. Ralph Strazza has two experienced contractors willing to quote on the job. WBA is willing to host fundraisers to help with the project cost.

I am writing to bring this matter to your attention, and to seek your support and guidance in getting the Middlebrook floors properly refinished before school starts. I look forward to your reply!

David Cote