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Lights on Canton committee looks to raise $30,000 this month

The Lights on Canton committee is looking to raise $30,000 this month to help install permanent lights around the turf field at Canton High School.

CANTON, April 16 – The Lights on Canton committee that is raising money to install four permanent lights around the track and field complex and multi-purpose artifical turf field at Canton High School is looking to raise $30,000 in 30 days so that work on the project can begin this summer.

The group is looking to raise at least $203,000 by May 1 so the actual light fixtures could be ordered and hopefully be ready to be used in the fall. Lights on Canton, a subcommittee of the Canton Athletic Booster Club, has raised just over $185,000.

According to Kimberly Marze and Christina Mitchell, co-chairs of the Lights on Canton, the actual cost of the lights is about $203,000. The town of Canton will work to pay for the installation of the lights – an estimated $37,000, Marze and Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that the final amount needed for installation needs has yet to be determined. The town still needs to get detailed estimates on the work to install the lights and potentially send it out to bid. Mitchell said the town will investigate several options to pay for the installation including energy credits, grants and in-kind donations of labor.

In November 2016, the town Planning and Zoning Commission approved permanent lights to be installed at the facility. Four 80-foot poles will provide the lights. The permit approved by the P&Z will allow up to 25 games a year with the lights being turned off by 10:30 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on Saturday. No Sunday events with lights will be permitted.

In November 2012, town voters approved a $3.6 million facility as part of parking improvements and upgrades at Canton High. It included a state-of-the-art eight-lane track and field facility and a multi-purpose artificial turf field. Conduit and infrastructure for lighting was built at that time. The facility opened in November 2013.

Momentum has picked up in the past few weeks with some significant donations. In March, Lights on Canton reached out to Canton High alumni and members of the Canton High Wall of Fame and received two anonymous donations of $25,000, including one from a member of the Canton High Class of 1984.

Marze said the anonymous donation from the Class of 1984 member sparked a cascade of other gifts from additional members of that class. Canton Little League made a $5,000 donation on Monday.

“We are humbled and overwhelmed with the generosity of our donors,” Marze said. “Without them, we would have been fundraising for at least one or two more years.”

When the Lights on Canton committee announced their $30,000 in 30 Days push beginning on April 1, the Canton Youth Soccer organization donated an additional $5,000. Canton Youth Soccer donated $5,000 when the fundraising campaign for lights began in January 2017.

Friends of Canton Football also made a donation of a $2,500 to commemorate a bench at the athletic complex.

Canton hosted its first-ever night football game at the high school against Lewis Mills in November 2013 using portable lights, powered by diesel generators.

Engraved bricks are still available for the “BIG C” patio at the athletic complex. There are three options ($100, $250, $750) available to show your family pride, thank a teacher, or commemorate your class or loved one.  Bricks can be donated at www.polarengraving.com/lightsoncanton.

Proceeds from a spring t-shirt sale by the current junior class at Canton High will be donated to the Lights on Canton campaign, according to the Lights on Canton Facebook page. Fifteen percent of proceeds on May 1 from 4 p.m. to close at Joe’s Pizza on Route 44 will be donated to the campaign.

Donations can be made now at the campaign’s Go Fund Me page.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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