The Saratoga Springs City School District and the town of Wilton will celebrate a partnership today that has resulted in many new sports fields for young people.
The 10:30 a.m. ceremony will mark the successful transformation of a wooded area behind the Dorothy Nolan Elementary School into six athletic fields at the town’s Gavin Park on Jones Road.
The 15 acres of soccer and lacrosse fields are located on school district property but were developed over the past two years and paid for by the town.
With the new addition, Gavin Park now has 61 acres of sports fields, with 11 soccer/lacrosse/football fields and six baseball and softball fields.
“The town and the school district worked together,” said Stephen Porto, Wilton’s recreation director.
Town Supervisor Arthur Johnson said the city school district has been very cooperative about leasing the land to the town.
“They are leasing the land to us for nothing,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “The school district has been tremendous.”
Johnson said the town spent nearly $400,000 over the past two years removing trees and leveling the land so that the new athletic fields could be established. The fields have been carefully cultivated by the Gavin Park maintenance staff and are ready for use.
All the town’s sports fields are irrigated by in-ground sprinkler systems. Johnson said this is the second piece of school district land at Gavin Park the town has used for the creation of sports fields. Several years ago the district leased another chunk of land to the town on which are located two full-sized soccer fields and a full-sized baseball field. Porto said the boys and girls freshmen soccer teams from Saratoga Springs High School use the Wilton fields and Dorothy Nolan Elementary School students use the new fields for gym classes.
“This really has become a win-win partnership for us and the school district,” Porto said.
At today’s ceremony, Porto and Johnson will be joined by school district Superintendent Janice White and leaders of local sports clubs in making comments.
Peter MacDonald, president of the Saratoga-Wilton Soccer Club, and Edward Plake, president of the Shenentaha Soccer club, will offer thanks to the town. These two soccer organizations stage major tournaments at Gavin Park each year.
Johnson said the present and past Town Boards wanted to respond to the town’s continued growth by providing first-class recreation facilities at Gavin Park.
He said the town has spent more than $1 million over the past five years in improving sports fields and creating new ones at Gavin Park.
“People like quality fields,” Johnson said. He said this is why a variety of sports leagues rent the fields and host tournaments there.
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