The Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation (WARF) has sent First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and the Board of Selectmen (BOS) a letter of intent, formally pledging to help support the cost of a new, artificial turf field.
The letter puts in concrete terms exactly what WARF is committed to providing in terms of financial contribution to the proposed new turf field at Allen’s Meadow and the infrastructure needed to support an eventual seasonal bubble.
As WARF’s leaders have verbally promised since March, the letter states WARF’s “intent” to fundraise $500,000 toward the project’s cost, with the understanding that the scope of the project would include: “a 255’ x 405’ organic-infill, state-of-the-art turf field surface with shock padding, 4 to 6 60-70’ poles with LED lights, multisport field lining, replacement fencing (as necessary), plus associated drainage, utilities, plantings and gravel parking lot modifications to accommodate the full Project scope, together with all design and approvals for the Project.”
WARF says it will contribute $180,000 for the cost of the field construction.
The scope of the project would also include the infrastructure needed (such as grade beams, utility pads and conduits, etc.) to support an eventual seasonal bubble. That infrastructure work would take place at the time of field construction.
According to the letter, “100% of the costs of the Infrastructure Work will be paid by WARF using the remainder of the WARF Contribution ($320,000), plus additional funds required, if any, should the cost of the Infrastructure Work exceed $320,000.”
The letter also states that if the cost of the infrastructure work is less than $320,000, WARF will contribute the remaining donations to help offset more of the field costs.
WARF’s entire contribution would be contingent on voter approval for the Town to bond the balance of the cost.
The vote will take place at tonight’s (Tuesday, May 2) Annual Town Meeting and Saturday’s (May 6) adjourned vote.
What Exactly Is On The Ballot?
The Board of Selectmen has proposed bonding the cost of the new field, up to $1,935,000. Voters may vote yes or no for the turf field — separately from other questions, such as the Board of Education budget.
Unlike the BOS and BOE budgets which require a minimum 15% voter turnout to be rejected, the bonding referendums are decided based on total yes or no votes.
The turf field is Question 3 on the ballot.
“Shall the resolution appropriating up to $1,935,000 for the planning, design, acquisition and installation of a turf field at Allen’s Meadow, and authorizing the issuance of up to $1,935,000 bonds of the Town to meet said appropriation be approved?”
The cost of the seasonal bubble infrastructure is not included in the Town’s borrowing. If the bubble is eventually added, WARF is expected to bear the cost.
If approved by voters at the 2023 Annual Town Meeting, the bonding would not occur until next spring. Although some residents have expressed concern that WARF’s “intent” to contribute falls short of a guarantee to do so, Vanderslice has publicly stated that the bonding would not take place until 2024 — and only if WARF has come through with its promised contribution.
Have more questions about the Annual Town Meeting?
- See Vanderslice’s April update for key details, procedures, and more information about the Annual Town Meeting.
- Catch up with GOOD Morning Wilton’s coverage of the entire FY2024 budget process including Letters to the Editor about the turf field, budgets, and more.
- If you can’t make it to the Annual Town Meeting in person, watch GMW‘s Livestream of the meeting, on GOODMorningWilton.com!