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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Staples Football Field Vandalized

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The Staples football team practices this afternoon on the school’s football field. Someone spray painted a portion of the field, which is made of synthetic turf, last weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for
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Police are searching for vandals who spray painted the new synthetic turf football field at Westport’s Staples High School last weekend.

Police Sgt. Jerry Shannon said today no arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing into the matter.

Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy said it could cost hundreds of dollars if the field only needs to be cleaned, but if a portion of the field needs to be replaced it would cost $5,000.

The Field of Dreams Committee raised $1.5 million to install the synthetic turf on several fields throughout Westport, and workers completed installing the turf last September in time for the Staples football season to start.

Shannon said the vandalism was discovered first thing Sunday morning, and the vandals had spray painted in the white letters in the blue end zone to change “Wreckers” into “Peckers.”

Additional obscenities had been spray painted on other areas of the field, he said.

The Staples football field had been vandalized several years ago when teenagers—who were later arrested—used Round-Up to burn obscenities into the turf, which was grass then.

The teens’ families were hooked with the cost to repair the field.

McCarthy said if the police arrest someone for the latest vandalism, the people would again be charged with the cost to repair the field.

Town officials would also analyze the potential of filing an insurance claim for the cost of the repair if no one is arrested.

Workers will first try to clean the field over the next few days, McCarthy said, but it could leave a discoloration.

Replacing the turf would be simple, he said, with the area being cut and removed. A new patch would be sewn into the turf, he said.

The Staples home football season is complete, he said.

The Staples football field and surrounding track is open to the public, McCarthy said, and police and Westport school officials provide security and surveillance.

“It’s a public facility, so it’s not locked,” he said. “I hate to see (vandalism). The best we can do is repair it and move on.”

Posted 11/07/06 at 08:18 PM


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