Canton is an outstanding town. We have many, many things to be thankful for: beautiful country, wonderful, caring and passionate neighbors, great schools, sound infrastructure and dedicated leaders. Since moving to Canton in 2003 I have grown to love this community more each day. Our town government has been ever mindful not to spend beyond our means so that our bond rating remains high and our overall finances remain healthy.
That said, this conservative nature has also made us ‘do without’ as some desired facilities were constantly pushed to future years, even though they constantly held a foothold on our town’s capital improvement plan. One of which is a town track and multi-purpose field. Now is the time to add a track and multi-purpose field that will serve to erect another pillar to stand with those that already make Canton attractive and desirable for residents and businesses alike.
We are one of a small handful of districts that does not have such a facility. The first concern this presents is that we force our cross country and track student athletes to practice in less than ideal and even unsafe conditions. As unacceptable as these conditions are, I applaud these student athletes, their coaches and parents for their high achievements in recent years and can only imagine how much better they would perform under ideal practice conditions. Additionally, home field advantages would surely ad to their success and provide needed visibility to these wonderful programs.
Furthermore there have been many studies that demonstrate Canton’s lack of field space for our growing youth sports programs. Again, unsafe conditions are prevalent when fields are overused and aren’t maintained as they should. A multi-purpose field with lights would provide town programs with more field time due to extending playing time beyond daylight hours and enabling activities to begin earlier in the spring and continue later into the fall due to the artificial surface. Revenue from field rental to our town youth sports and outside organizations will also serve to defray maintenance expenditures.
The benefits don’t end with athletics. This facility would serve as a community gathering place to watch our musicians perform and act as an outdoor classroom or theatre with expanded bleacher capacity. As a town facility, seniors are welcome and invited to walk and exercise in a safe and well maintained environment. In fact there will even be short term parking next to the track that enables easy and immediate access. It will also provide our teachers valuable instructional opportunities for personal health and physical education programs.
It is clear that the track and multi-purpose field facility will benefit residents young and old in Canton. As long as we strive to provide our youth with athletic and other fitness activities, we must provide facilities that are safe and in a manner that won’t erode other town assets as we are currently doing. A track and multi-purpose field will also create a valuable place for the community to gather to show school and town spirit.
I commend our leaders for their efforts to keep Canton’s bottom line healthy. I further commend the youth and school sports programs for making due with our current facilities, however, it is time for Canton to take another step forward. Please vote Yes! on November 6th in support of the track and multi-field project. (Detailed information about this project may be found on the town and school’s websites as well as informational meetings hosted throughout the community.)