MANCHESTER >> A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park and invite you to the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, May 16 at 4:30 p.m. to formally launch the construction of new playing fields for area teams.
Almost $350,000 for the project, according to to town officials — $125,000 of this funding was donated by local resident Derry Taylor; $75,000 from Burr and Burton Academy; and $75,000 by Manchester Town Meeting from the CIRC Fund. Significant donations were also received from about 20 other businesses, organizations and individuals. During the dedication ceremony in August. a sponsorship board is planned for unveiling that will feature all those that made the project possible. More fundraising remains to be done in order to fully realize the vision of the fields as a hub for recreation and athletics, but we are confident that we will reach our final goal before the start of construction. This additional funding will allow the Town to purchase player benches, extra goals and equipment for tournaments and a storage shed for team equipment.
Looking ahead, the Town plans to start stockpiling the estimated 8,000 cubic yards of materials for the topsoil layer in the next couple of weeks. The Town also plans to put out to bid the contract for site work, which includes the grading of the fields and installation of the topsoil materials. Between raising enough money to install sod, and starting construction in early June, the fields will be ready for use this fall, or perhaps in August.
The Manchester Selectboard, in concert with Burr and Burton Academy, recently voted to dedicate the two fields as Eckhardt Field and McClellan Field after two inspirational educators and coaches at Burr and Burton Academy. RK Miles and Vermont Country Store have generously donated the funds necessary to install two electronic scoreboards on Eckhardt Field and McClellan Field. The addition of these scoreboards will enhance the overall experience of players and spectators and allow for a higher level competition on the fields in addition to youth sports.
Eckhardt Field and McClellan Field will be called home by teams from Burr and Burton Academy, Manchester Elementary Middle School and local youth sports leagues and organizations. The fields will also play a major role in attracting large regional athletic tournaments to Manchester.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the area just north of Applejack Field.
To learn more about the project, visit www.manchester-vt.gov/fields.