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Turf Committee looks to close gap on much needed netting issue at the Robert H Frost. No BOE help, per usual.

POSTED January 28, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney



The heavy lifting for the funding needed to secure the netting at the THS field has once again been left to Mario Longobucco (R, pictured with Paul O'Heron) and the Turf Committee.

TORRINGTON: It continues.

The good work of several is being met by a brick wall from many.

It still astounds many that a nearly three million dollar gift that left the Torrington community with a beautiful new sports complex that is the envy of many and should be a source of pride for everyone in the area is still not getting the support it should from those who could.

In the true spirit of what we saw happen when the Turf Committee faced numerous obstacles along the way from folks who should have been doing everything in their power to make it a smooth ride, it’s been left to the committee to figure out how to pay for an essential final piece of the puzzle.

This issue wasn’t caused by anyone associated with the project but it is something that never the less has to be embraced before it causes something that could be far more serious.   

The turf committee is closing in on its goal to raise money to install a 20-foot tall safety netting system on the highway side of the new turf field. The safety netting became necessary when the State of CT removed just about every tree that separated the field from Route 8 North.

That occurred on the very same day that the new Stadium received its Certificate of Occupancy that allowed the high school to start playing games there.

The Turf Committee has raised $18,000 (all private donations) of the $21,000 needed to purchase and install the netting.

They have made several requests for assistance and have been rejected by various City Departments, most recently by the Board of Education at their meeting on January 21st.

Several members of the BOE have maintained their position that the turf field is a city project and they shouldn’t have to contribute any time or money towards the project.

Turf co-chair Mario Longobucco doesn’t quite see it that way.

“A very dangerous condition exists now that the trees have been trimmed along the highway,” Longobucco said, “Balls are bouncing off the track and down onto the highway. Kids being kids, are jumping fences to get the balls. No matter what the differences have been between the BOE and the Turf Committee, politics should not enter into a discussion that could potentially affect the safety of the students, youth organizations that will be using the field, and even motorists using the highway. We have done all the heavy lifting by raising all but $3,000 from private contributions. All we are asking for is some help to push it across the finish line. Once the first accident occurs it will be too late. The city will be sued and the $3,000 would be a drop in the bucket. I don’t plan on ever having to say I’m sorry to the parent of a student who has been hurt or killed.”

It’s more of the same from the fine folks down on Midgeon Avenue who should have been champions of this project from the outset, not obstructionists who have tried everything in their power to try and make the project fail.

From the outset, this has been an embarrassment to the Torrington community as a whole.

Think how the folks in the Hartford think about the squabbling that ensued after the initial 2.72 million dollar community improvement grant was issued.

Hey, folks who are working just as hard as the Turf Committee did, are trying to secure funds to put a pool somewhere in the school district.

Have we proven that we can manage gifts well? I don’t think so.

We have gone over the savings the project saved the school district in the past when it came to Americans with Disabilities Act violations that disappeared when the stand and entrance at the complex came back in line.

$3000.00 is a drop in the bucket compared to what was saved.

At the present, the school budget is frozen. Don’t let that fool you, the Turf Committee had been told no many time before the freeze went into effect.

Folks from outside Torrington shake their heads when they hear about the nonsense that has gone on in Torrington concerning all of this.

Trust me, nothing will get done unless the good folks in the community and the Turf Committee gets it done.

At some point, this needs to change. Maybe at election time.

In the meantime though, Longobucco and company need your help to get this done.

If you or your company can make a donation in any amount, Please call Longobucco at 860-307-5945 or email him at mario@goodfellows.com

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here