Wilton sets $300K cap for high school stadium cleanup

WILTON — The Board of Selectmen has authorized continued cleanup totaling in costs up to $300,000 for storm damages at the high school’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, including the near $1 million new track project unveiled in August.

Following severe stormwater flooding and infill displacement, the stadium at Wilton High School was severely damaged. A large section of the turf field by the home bleachers still has yet to be fully cleared, according to the town.

Three of the vendors that worked on various aspects of the stadium were called upon by the town to assess the full scope of damages in the weeks since. In that time, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice authorized “emergency repairs” for the track and turf so “we could get right to work.”

Vanderslice said Tuesday that the town has been able to determine an estimate of how much the cleanup and initial repairs will cost. According to the first selectwoman, the current estimates are that cleanup will cost more than $200,000. Her “hope” is that that mark will not reach above $250,000, but she asked the board to pass a cap of $300,000 to be sure.

“Whether this was a 100-year storm, or a 200-year storm,” Vanderslice said the town does not “want to go through this again.” She said adopting new mitigation strategies after cleanup is the best route.

The first selectwoman said the town has savings from previous fiscal years specifically for infrastructure totaling “close to $1 million.”

“We have the financial resources,” she said.

Selectman Ross Tartell asked if any of the damages were insurable, to which the first selectwoman said “no,” as the cost for the town to have flood insurance, especially with its frontage along the Norwalk River and its many wetland areas would be “prohibitive.”

The town will not receive relief from the state either; however, Vanderslice told the board she is waiting to hear if the storm damages will be deemed eligible for FEMA to provide aid.

One of the stadium’s vendors, Stantec, will be working with Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce on proposing new mitigation strategies to combat flooding and infill displacement moving forward. Stantec is also in partnership with the town for numerous other projects, including a proposed Norwalk River Valley Trail update and is currently conducting a feasability study for a domed sports complex.

Shaw Sports Turf has extracted materials lodged within and underneath the turf, according to Vanderslice. The Wilton Fire Department has also “saturated” the field as a way to dilute the materials that were caught and to clean off the remaining materials. Shaw will have to return to the stadium for further cleanup of the turf near the home bleachers.

Cape and Island will also work with the town to address the track that the company completed just weeks ago. They will be cleaning the surfacing of the track, as well as clearing out the drain basins that run parallel to the running lanes.

Shipments of infill to replace what was lost “came through customs” last week, Vanderslice said, however that infill will not be able to be laid until the full scope of the stadium cleanup has been completed.