Wilton stadium reopens to public for first time since hurricane

Photo of J.D. Freda

WILTON — Veterans Memorial Stadium reopened to the public on Friday morning for the first time since being damaged by September’s residual storm effects from Hurricane Ida.

The final step of the cleaning process for the field occurred on Thursday and was completed within a few hours due to the warm weather, according to the town.

Soaking the field in a cleansing solution was the final step in a cleanup that, last week, Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce told the Board of Selectmen 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. The need for the solution was to disenfect it of any possible “fecal matter,” Pierce said, that could have been displaced.

Cape and Island, the company that worked on the newly renovated track that opened in August, returned to both clear off the track surface and clear out the drains that run parallel to the track.

Shaw Sports Turf, the vendor that worked on the stadium’s turf field, helped dislodge infill that was displaced onto the field from the storm surge in September. The company previously ran tests on the field and made certain the turf did not shift.

As of Thursday, two piles that had laid near the north side of the turf — one being the debris removed from the field and the other removed from the drainage system — had both been cleaned..

Pierce said coconut husk and sand were used to reinvigorate the area to replace the infill lost. This time, a “heavier sand” was used in place of the original.

“The infill may appear a bit high, but with the next rainfall the level will come down,” the town said in a Thursday news release.

Shaw Sports Turf conducted a playability test during the process, according to Pierce.

Kristine Lilly Field, located on the opposite side of the high school campus, is still undergoing repairs but will be open on Saturday, according to the town. It is currently playable for soccer games, the Parks & Rec director said last week, but the town is working to return the field to its level of playability before the storm.

Selectwoman Deb McFadden called the stadium an “important community asset” last week and thanked Pierce.

Boston-based athletic vendor Stantec, who has also worked on Veterans Memorial Stadium, sent a proposal to the town to undergo a study for reccomendations and mitigation strategies for future storms. The town is reveiwing the proposal which, Pierce explained, would span from Catalpa Road to Cider Mill Elementary School.