Decision on Wilton High School track pushed to next year

The town recently completed some repairs to the all-weather track at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Wilton High track has been the focus of the movement “Back the Track,” which began after signs of the aging track started to show.

To patch up some of these problems the town has replaced a large section of asphalt near the concession stand and repaired the running surface in 16 other sections of the track for a cost of $17,300.

Back the Track has continued to raise funds to support replacing the track. Kevin Foley, a member of the movement, said the repair primarily focused on an area of the track that was potentially dangerous.

“There was one area behind the finish line that was torn up,” he said. “They fixed that so when high school athletes finish their race they’re not in danger of running on blacktop.”

Foley said despite the patch there are still places in the track in need of replacement. In some areas there are cuts in the track. These cuts are noticeable enough for someone to place their finger under and lift a section of the track up, he said.

The town has estimated a cost of $800,000 to $1,000,000 for the asphalt replacement of all three layers and a new running surface. In doing recent repairs, the top asphalt was removed and the base was intact.

Back the Track has been in constant communication with the town about replacing the track. Foley said as of now replacement, of the track will be considered next year at the Annual Town Meeting in May.

To aid in the effort to replace the age-old track the grassroots movement is looking to raise $200,000. Foley said this money could help the town get the best quality track at the lowest-cost maintenance with the most longevity.

“We’re working with the town to make that happen,” he said. “Things are looking good from the town government perspective at this moment.”

Foley said in the interim the patching of the track is a good thing. The repairs show the town is aware of the problems and they’re making the track usable in the time being, Foley said.

What the town has as a place marker in the budget next year is a step below the track the movement is pushing for, he said.

“Our objective in Back the Track is to make up that difference,” Foley said.

In the meantime, Back the Track plans to continue pushing forward. Foley said they’re working to put together three large events before the year is out.

Despite the decision being pushed to next year, Foley said he is confident residents would be in support of replacing the track. He said he recently visited the track and saw a number of people working out.

“It’s an athletic community here,” Foley said. “Even now there’s still 10, 12 or 14 people on the track.”