Following almost a year-and-a-half of conceptualizing, planning and fundraising, the group “Light Up Fenner” officially switched on the lights at Field One of the Sean Googin Memorial Sports Complex on June 2.
Four 70-foot light towers have been installed by professional athletic lighting company Musco Lighting and will illuminate future Cazenovia Central School District evening athletic events.
During the June 2 opening ceremony, the lights were turned on for the first time amid inter-squad scrimmages between both the boys and girls varsity and junior varsity lacrosse teams, iPad raffle drawings and “meet-the-neighbors” introductions.
Project coordinator Susan Baldwin expressed gratitude toward all involved and the community for its ongoing support, adding it had been a long, arduous road – but entirely worthwhile, now that the lights are installed.
“I am a coach in the district, [and] when visiting other schools — in particular the Lowville sectional soccer game — I took notice of their facilities, and I wanted Cazenovia to have something for the students,” Baldwin said. “This project had great positive energy that was due, in part, to aligning with Cazenovia Lions Club Foundation Inc. We would like to thank everyone who helped to make this project a success and the Cazenovia Central School District for its willingness to accept this donated gift. This project was only completed because of all the community members who donated time, talent and treasure.”
After first conceiving the idea in November 2010, Baldwin began asking community members and local scholastic athletic supporters if they would be interested in helping to spearhead the initiative.
The group Light Up Fenner was then formed, and a fundraising goal of $125,000 was set, following the CCSD Board of Education’s decision to accept the lighting system as a gift from the group, once procured. The organization fielded a number of comments from apprehensive area residents, and worked closely with the citizens to mitigate concerns.
Light Up Fenner quickly began working toward its fundraising goal as it received donations from community members and the Cazenovia Youth Soccer Association, held can drives and bake sales and hosted wine tasting and golf outing events. Enough funds to purchase and install the lights was raised, however the group is still $5,000 short of its goal. The remaining money will be used to include landscaping and tree-cover around the field.
“It took about one year to raise the capital, which was hindered as we were not able to be as forefront as we would have liked,” Baldwin said. “We are still in need of $5,000 and donations can be made to the Cazenovia NY Lions Club Foundation Inc. and sent to 126 Lincklaen St.”
The light towers were delivered to the sports complex on Fenner Road on March 28, installed over the course of the next two months, and first turned on June 2.
Among the many involved, Baldwin credited Kara Connellan, Tim Mahoney, Brian Willard, Eric Burell, Dave White and Kevin Mann as instrumental in the process. She also thanked Phil Cunningham for donating the conduit, Clay Coleman for volunteering to do the trenching, Steve Ackerman for donating hours of work to complete the electrical circuitry as well as Andy Nardella and Mahoney for donating their time to construct and install the light poles.
During the year-and-a-half-long process, the school district formulated a strict set of specifications for usage of the lights. The provisions include a curfew for all athletic events, ensuring the lights will be switched off at a reasonable hour, so as not to disturb the surrounding residents or wildlife.
While CCSD sports teams won’t take the field until September, Baldwin said she “feels awful” for the boys and girls teams which were not able to play regulation games on Field One this past season due to “hindered construction,” but is “hoping the varsity teams each host an alumni game in August and are able to use the lights.”
For more information on Light Up Fenner, visit sites.google.com/site/lightupfenner or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or email@example.com.