More funds for fields good for taxpayers
September 28, 2017
Dear Editor, New Canaan Advertiser,
Last night I voted to add $800,000 to the Fields appropriation. I did not take this decision lightly. I spent 100 hours discussing with over 20 members of various town committees, taxpayers and employees of the town and school system before coming to the conclusion that finishing the fields with turf, seating, storage and lights was a good business decision for taxpayers. Here are my top ten reasons for supporting full funding of the Enterprise Zone in turf with lights and seating:
1. They’re paying it back. The Fields Committee revealed a business plan which conservatively puts $150,000 per year back into the community, one third of which is projected to go into a sinking fund to lower future town re-turfing obligations.
2. It attracts tourism to downtown stores and restaurants. Estimates of 1000-2000 visiting families to sports camps and tournaments per summer, especially during economically challenging August, helps our economy.
3. It will improve property values. This high-profile asset speaks directly to the needs of young families buying homes in this area and is accretive to the value of all 7,000 homes.
4. This facility is used by whole town. Over 80% of the use of the track is by non-students. The 4 turf fields are used by 5 sports year-round.
5. A vote to stand behind the project (instead of punishing the project) restores private fundraising momentum, encouraging private donations to the NCAF, NCCF and New Canaan Baseball for further improvement of this and other town facilities.
6. Turf extends the Fall and Spring playing seasons by at least two months per year, eliminating rainouts and taking pressure off Saxe and Waveny grass fields.
7. Lights extend the playing season & allows practice to occur after sunset when a lot of dads can get off work and volunteer. With Dunning we have seen a direct correlation between football’s ability to extend their practice season at all grade levels and the overall success of NC Football program.
8. Over 2000 New Canaan families participate in sports on these fields and are directly affected by the addition of lights, representing more than 1/3 of our town, a far greater impact by percentage of households than the $18 million Saxe expansion.
9. Investing in a world class athletic facility helps New Canaan attract and then retain the best coaches and sports professionals to work with our children, leading to greater sports participation at every grade level and of course more State Championships in every sport. It’s now a better facility than Darien’s, with better parking.
10. Please put this expenditure in perspective. This bonding commitment will NOT raise our taxes. $800,000 represents roughly 5% of our annual capital spending, about $114 per household. The annual debt service on finishing this project properly and creating an Enterprise Zone is $3.42 per household.
John Engel
Member of the Town Council, New Canaan (R)
203-247-4700 cell/text