Growth in youth lacrosse in Wallingford prompts plan for new practice field at Pragemann Park

Growth in youth lacrosse in Wallingford prompts plan for new practice field at Pragemann Park

Record-Journal


WALLINGFORD — The town plans to repurpose an existing grassy area at Pragemann Park for use as an additional youth sports practice field.

The new field will provide additional practice space for youth lacrosse, football and soccer teams, who “compete for and are short on field locations,” Town Engineer Rob Baltramaitis wrote in a memo to Town Planner Kacie Costello in July.

The new practice field will be located at the southeast end of Pragemann Park, Baltramaitis said this week. The need for the new field, Baltramaitis said, is “driven by a growth in the youth lacrosse programs in town.”

Charlie Foucault, vice president of the Wallingford Tritons youth lacrosse program, said the league doesn’t have a space dedicated for its practices. The program practices on several fields that it shares with other sports, meaning they can be “bumped off,” Foucault said. The new field at Pragemann will give the program a “dedicated spot for us to fall back on,” Foucault said.

“It’s probably not going to satisfy our needs the way we’re growing, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Foucault said.

The field will be used for lacrosse practices and games played by younger children in the spring, and in the fall youth football teams can use the field for practices, Foucault said.

The new field won’t be large enough to fit a full football field, but is large enough to be used for practice space, Baltramaitis said. A new football goal post will be installed at one end of the field, he added.

The Tritons youth lacrosse program includes girls and boys from kindergarten to eighth grade. The name “Tritons” is a combination of Sheehan Titans and Lyman Hall Trojans.

Democratic Town Councilor Vincent Testa, who helped pioneer the first youth lacrosse clinic in town about 10 years ago, said the sport’s popularity has grown “continuously” in town every year.

“It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a need for additional fields,” said Testa, who coaches lacrosse at Lyman Hall. “Every year, (lacrosse) has gotten more and more popular” in town.

Lyman Hall and Sheehan established junior varsity and varsity lacrosse programs about four years ago.

“There’s a lot of kids playing now and it’s a great thing. I’ve been wanting to see lacrosse grow in Wallingford forever,” Testa said. “I’m glad the town is going forward with adding a new field.”

Parks and Recreation Director John Gawlak, who did not return a call for comment, requested the new field, Baltramaitis said. Baltramaitis submitted an application for the field to the Planning and Zoning Department this year and received administrative approval in July.

To create the new grass field, Baltramaitis said work has to be done to improve the drainage and install new sod. Work has not begun yet, and the timetable will depend on the availability of Public Works employees, Baltramaitis said.

mzabierek@record-journal.com 203-317-2279 Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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