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A private donor, who has asked to remain anonymous, is offering to pay for a  new multi-sport turf complex in Bethel.  The grass fields behind the middle school, Benzing Field, would be used for softball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. 

The Board of Selectmen voted last week to approve the project concept and for the donor to do a geotechnical study to determine existing soil conditions. 

Mike Kozlowski of Claris Design Build, the firm involved with the Track and Field Training Facility near the High School, made the presentation about Project Astro.  New lighting would also be added, though the donor has asked the town to chip in for that cost. 

Plans call for encapsulated rubber turf for the area, except for the football field.  The material is reportedly safer than the traditional rubber system, stays cooler and allows the ball to move faster than on natural grass.  It also has a 50-percent longer lifespan than so-called coconut infill.  Masuk High School in Monroe used organic and has had issue in rain with is spreading and needing to bring in more material.  New Milford recently completed a $3 million two field project and is happy with encapsulated rubber. 

The proposal could see the baseball diamond moved back 10 to 20 feet into the nearby hill and putting up a retaining wall. 

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Todd Schnitt
Local Headlines