A happy group of Madison residents gathered at town hall earlier this week to mark the latest milestone in the Strong Center at the Surf Club project.
A group of donors affiliated with the group, Strong Center at the Surf Club, provided the check with an additional donation fo $150,000, on top of the $300,000 already donated by the group.
The total of $450,000 is key to the installation of lights at the Surf Club field, said First Selectman Fillmore McPherson. The town will be spending $1.1 million to install a turf field, and to do repairs to the bleahcers. McPherson said the $450,000 was key because the lights have to be installed with the turf, not after.
The project is expected to cost a total of about $2.8 million, McPherson said, meaning that more than $1.2 million still needs to be raised.
Duo Dickinson, who is on the board of directors of Strong Center at the Surf Club, and one of the key organizers in the group, is encouraging Madison residents to call state Rep. Noreen Kokoruda and state Sen. Ed Meyer to encourage them to support the town's recent Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant, which could provide additional money for the project.
"Email and call them," he said.
The STEAP grant application is for $500,000. The town's application for the Strong Center at the Surf Club project last year was declined.
"Since then, we've really shown that the town is behind us, and that the town's residents are behind us," Dickinson said. "It's time for the state to do this."
Selectman Al Goldberg said it's his understanding that both legislators are committed to seeking the grant for the project, but that specfic request from their constituents can help them bolster their case.
"Both have given us their personal checks," he said, adding that calls and emails from Madison residents will help show that the town is behind the project.
The contact information for state Rep. Kokoruda is as follows:
House Republican Office
L.O.B. Room 4200
Hartford, CT 06106
800-842-1423 (within Connecticut)
Email form: http://cthousegop.com/contact-noreen/
The contact information for state Sen. Ed Meyer is as follows:
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
If all goes well, McPherson said, the new field should be ready by May 2013.
Dickinson encouraged anyone considering making a donation to consider doing so before Jan. 1, 2013, so that as much work as possible can be done in the project's first phase. "That will make it less expensive in the long run," he said.