Letters to the editor
Father's Day in Fairfield
Father's Day is going to pretty special in Stratfield Village, and everyone's invited. The town is putting on its first outdoor concert at Owen Fish Park. Fairfield's own The Distractions are playing in the park at 7 p.m. If you're looking for a fun and different way to celebrate your father, or just feel like listening to great music on a Sunday night, please join us. Bring your kids, bring a picnic and get ready to enjoy great music. For more information, check the Stratfield Village Association website (stratfieldvillageassociation.org).
Stratfield Village Association,
I am writing as a concerned citizen and Fairfield tax payer to urge the RTM to vote "No" on the $350,000 bonding request to build softball fields on the last open space in Fairfield (on Hoydens Lane).
There are so many reasons why this plan is shortsighted -- it is fiscally irresponsible, logistically problematic, environmentally irreversible, and, from a town planning perspective, hard to understand as it diminishes the very quality of the landscape that makes up Fairfield.
Please do not take this vote lightly. You are not voting on building something downtown, or developing property that is already in a developed neighborhood. You are voting on using precious town money for developing some of the last open space in Fairfield for a private organization that doesn't even serve the entire Fairfield community. In fact, it serves 350 at best. And you are voting on this while our education -- education! -- budget has been cut by $3 million! And at a time when Fairfield students attend classes in trailers!
Fairfield residents will lose the use of that property. Fairfield is consistently sited as a desirable place to live because of its resources. In a time when families are hurting locally, when we are following the oil spill in the gulf and watching as land is irreversibly altered and gone , when we are working desperately to save our nest eggs, our jobs and our beautiful neighborhoods, what message does it send that Fairfield leaders don't value what it is that makes Fairfield great? Why is the town willing to shoulder the costs associated with a ball field for a private organization that doesn't serve everyone? How is this justified when the school system is already so strained, when the ball field will add more cost in the future (managing this property will cost money), and when doing this takes the area away from residents?
Don't let the organic farm be attached to this at the expense of losing this property. Fairfield shouldn't have to sacrifice its last open space to a private organization at tax payers' expense just to get an organic farm. It shouldn't be one or the other.
Be a leader. Vote no.
Save the open space because to spend that money now is a slap in the face to those of us who rely on town programs for our children because, especially now, we simply cannot afford private summer programs. And it is offensive for those of us whose children attend classes in trailers and hallways because our school budgets have been gutted.
Save that space because it is what makes Fairfield beautiful. Greenfield Hill isn't one of the priciest areas in Fairfield because it's over-developed. It's desirable because its beauty has been maintained. Not randomly and irrevocably developed.
And save that space because if someone doesn't start taking stock in the value of the landscape, then Fairfield will look like any other poorly planned town that "once was beautiful." It doesn't take a genius to recognize that the movement toward sustainable living, toward not destroying the environment but working with it is popular. Look at the backlash from this oil spill in the gulf. People want to know that someone is looking at the bigger picture. Westport, Weston, Wilton and other towns' property values are high because someone is watching that valuable real estate, town zoning and school systems are protected.
Why can't we have that leadership in Fairfield?
Why can't we have classrooms in classrooms? Beautiful open space? Maybe an organic teaching farm? Security in our town officials that someone values the details of what makes this town beautiful?
I say we can have all that.
But only if you start here and vote no.
Field of dreams
As Bobby rounded the crack in the curb that served as third base, my best friend Robert raced for home to take the throw. I hurled the beat-up ball from the driveway past the yellow mailbox -- on target but short. My 8t-year-old arm could just make the throw in two hops on the asphalt, and Robert snagged it in time to tag Bobby for the last out of the game.
Together we used to take on the neighborhood's ball players, Robert and I, each covering multiple positions on our two-person team. We were good, and were proud of our teamwork. That day after the game he turned to me and asked when my mom planned to bring me down to register for Little League. He misread my downcast eyes as indifference, and tried to entice me by telling me he heard the league had real dugout benches, regulation basepaths, even a scoreboard. I looked up at him and had to tell him no, I couldn't play. Girls weren't allowed. I think he was as sad as I was. After he and some of the neighbor boys joined the league, our street games died off.
At 8 years old, I knew -- with sad certainty -- there were barriers, barriers with consequences. I knew that girls were sometimes given fewer opportunities than boys. That does something to a person.
A lot has changed since the early 1970s, thank goodness.
Yet even today, Fairfield doesn't have a Little League softball field for girls.
It's not for lack of need. I understand there are many active teams here, a whole community devoted to the sport. Who knows how many more girls could play if there were a dedicated field for them, with real dugout benches, regulation basepaths, and even a scoreboard?
It's not because Fairfield doesn't support Little League. Heck, there's not one but actually two boys' fields.
It's not because we don't have the space. As I understand it, a while back Fairfield bought some property to be used for recreation, and it's still available.
I don't know why a girls' field has never been built here. Anyway, we can only learn from the past, not change it. It hurts me deeply to hear that now, finally, when so many pieces are in place to build a field, there's still some opposition.
Let me state the obvious: An 8-year-old girl won't buy any of the arguments put up by the opposition, no matter how well-crafted they may seem. Until a field is built all she'll know is that her brother has a field to play on, and she doesn't. That, as I said, does something to a person. I truly love Fairfield, but really, what kind of town would deliver such a message to its children?
So I am grateful for our Board of Selectmen and our Board of Finance, who have reviewed the proposal with a fine-tooth comb and think building a girls' field -- and building it now -- is a good idea for Fairfield. I respectfully implore our RTM members to carefully consider the consequences -- tangible and intangible -- of their upcoming vote, and please decide in favor of building a field for the girls. It is time, truly.
Writer's note: The writer has no vested interest in the girls league; her daughter is in college and past Little League age.
Maintain open space
I am as a concerned resident who is urging you to vote no to the $350,000 proposal to build a girls' softball field on the last piece of open space property on Hoyden's Hill Lane. If not voted against, this will destroy almost 10 acres of irreplaceable open space. Open space benefits all town residents and a ball field will only be usable by a few. Open space adds to the quality of life in our town for all residents now and generations to come. Losing the open space would have adverse effects on wildlife that make this space their home. Let's maintain the beauty and integrity of this town and vote no to the girls' softball field proposal.