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Project is what makes 'Norwalk special'

By Joe Centers • Jun 4, 2019 at 12:00 PM

People in this town know how to build things. We often refer to Norwalk as the road construction capital of the state.

People in this town also know how to tear things down. That was never more evident than Saturday morning when volunteers from the Norwalk and St. Paul schools got together to tear down the visitors’ bleachers at Whitney Field. As part of the improvement at the field, new bleachers are next on the list and are scheduled to be in place by Aug. 15.

The new bleachers will include eight handicap spaces and better ramps, Norwalk City Schools Superintendent George Fisk said.

But before you can build new bleachers, you have to get rid of the old ones.

The notice in the Norwalk Reflector said work would begin at 8 a.m. and be done by noon.

By 10:45 a.m. there was nothing left. Visitors’ bleachers: gone. Press box: gone.

It was a well-oiled machine. The boards came off and then the metal structure was next. As fast as the pieces came off, people were there to haul them away. Boards went into one empty trailer headed for the trash. The metal went into another trailer headed to the scrap yard.

How much would have that cost if you paid somebody to do it? I heard estimations from $8,000 to $10,000.

Once the bleachers were gone, the visitors’ press box was still standing. With the help of a machine and a little extra shot from Matt Chapin and his chainsaw, it went down in a heap. And about 20 minutes later it was gone. Nothing left but the electric box. (See a video and photos at www.norwalkreflector.com).

As mentioned in a Reflector editorial Friday, it is great to see both schools working together, something that hasn’t always happened in the past. When the home bleachers were torn down two years it was mostly St. Paul volunteers. This time, with the encouragement of Norwalk football coach Todd Fox, the Trucker faithful were out in full force.

It is going to take a team effort to get Whitney Field where it should be. Once this project is done, next on the list is a new turf and track and improvements to the parking lot.

“It was amazing,” Fisk said. “That’s what makes Norwalk special. No community comes together like Norwalk does. To see the two school districts coming together was great. A true community project.

“You just can’t say enough how the contractors step up.  

“Whitney Field is historically and for the future, the home for both of our schools. We have embraced what Whitney can become. It is a community-funded project. It won’t be funded by the schools,” Fisk said.

The district paid for the bleachers on the home and visitors side. The Whitney Field Improvement Committee is doing fundraisers for the rest.

“In July, the Whitney Field Improvement Committee will present the board of education with a marketing plan on how to raise the remaining funds,” Fisk said.

What is the final cost?

“Still nailing it down,” Fisk said. “We still have some presentations from some turf companies to hear.”

Local contractors are working on a plan for the parking lot, the superintendent added. The other two phases are the track and the field.

Fisk said the track and field can be done separately.

“My personal opinion is I would like to see them done together, but it all comes down to the fundraising,” he said. “We are planning to go with natural grass for this upcoming season … Our goal would to be have turf for the 2020 season.”

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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