The Winsted Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) is hailing town officials and members of an ad-hoc committee for their swift, thorough efforts to bring lights back to the athletic fields along Willow Street.
The Board of Selectmen on Feb. 6 voted unanimously to allocate $194,250 of the town’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to cover the cost of replacement lights at the field, which is home to WYSA and municipal Recreation Department programming.
“This is fantastic news for the children of our town, and our team at WYSA looks forward to bringing back the great fall tradition of soccer under the lights after a brief one-season hiatus,” board President Kevin Lillie said. “To see the town manager and Board of Selectmen support this community project was truly heartening, and the work of Recreation Lighting Subcommittee volunteers can’t be overlooked—it was their dedication to a collaborative process with rigid timelines that got this done.”
The Recreation Lighting Subcommittee was formed last August when the old lights— installed in the mid 1980s—were removed over safety concerns after two of them fell to the ground. WYSA’s fall schedule was affected, with games and practices for its more than 125 fall registrants squeezed into daylight hours. Semi-final playoff games for the regional youth soccer league were moved to New Hartford.
“There was definitely a feeling of disappointment among players, parents and coaches once everyone realized the lights had been taken down. Some worried we’d never get them back,” Lillie said. “I know there will be a lot of excitement around the news that we’re getting the field lighted again so quickly. I hope a lot of people make it to the field that evening to see the kind of good work that can be accomplished when everyone is working together.”
The project is expected to be completed by Aug. 15.