Wilton's Veterans Memorial Stadium expected to reopen next week

WILTON — The high school’s Veterans Memorial Stadium is expected to be reopened next week after two of the athletic complex’s vendors helped with cleanup following a September storm.

The remnants from Hurricane Ida in early September uprooted infill, caused flooding and was the impetus for considerable cleanup of the athletic turf and new near-$1 million track in the ensuing weeks.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce told the Board of Selectmen on Monday that cleanup was needed from two of the vendors that helped build parts of the stadium. Just last month, the selectmen set a $300,000 cap for cleanup of the damages at the stadium.

Cape and Island, the company that worked on the newly renovated track, returned to both clear off the track surface and clear out the drains that run parallel to the track. With the excess of materials that were pushed on to the track from the surge, Cape and Island was forced to lightly shovel off all debris from the track before it could reach the drains.

Pierce said the shoveling was done carefully, as to not damage the newly laid track surface. As of Monday, the catch basins had been emptied and the track cleared, according to Pierce.

Shaw Sports Turf is the vendor that worked on the stadium’s turf field. After infill was displaced onto the field, the company returned to do professional testing on what material was on the field and to make certain the field hadn’t shifted due to the storm.

After shoveling off the debris, the Wilton Fire Department conducted a full soak of the field to ensure silt and other debris were extracted from the turf.

As of Monday, two piles lay near the north side of the turf, one being the debris removed from the field. Directly adjacent to it was the debris removed from the drainage system. Both are set to be cleaned shortly.

“Everyone was heartbroken,” Pierce said of the vendors who had seen their worked heavily damaged by the storm.

The next step is to replace the infill that was moved.

Pierce said both coconut husk and sand will be placed down to reinvigorate the area. The sand will be laid first, but this time a “heavier sand” will be used, according to Pierce.

Then, the field will be fine tuned for playability with the help of Shaw Sports Turf.

Kristine Lilly Field, located on the opposite side of the high school campus, will also have repairs but is currently playable for soccer games, the Parks & Rec director said. He admitted, however, it’s “not as playable as we want it.”

Pierce said the weather has to cooperate with them for repairs. Once the field is cleared, cleaned, replenished and dried, a solution will be laid onto the field to disenfect it of any possible “fecal matter,” Pierce said, that could have been displaced.

That solution should be received by Monday, Pierce said, and is expected to be placed on the field by Tuesday. If that timeline remains, the field could be opened by Oct. 13 at the earliest.

Pierce thanked the companies for their quick response and diligence in cleanup.

“While we have may have some capabilties,” Pierce said, “we don’t have the expertise, equipment or manpower” to undergo this cleanup alone.

Selectwoman Deb McFadden also thanked Pierce and his team for leading the efforts.

“This is such an important community asset,” McFadden said.

Boston-based athletic vendor Stantec, who has also worked on Veterans Memorial Stadium, has sent a proposal to the town to undergo a study for reccomendations and mitigation strategies for future storms.

Pierce said the proposal would span from Catalpa Road to Cider Mill Elementary School.