Jonathan Cimmins

Jonathan Cimmins

Maybe it is the recent Olympics that struck my fancy. The sight of Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, gliding to another gold medal. The joy of watching a relay team hugging after vanquishing the competition. But all good day dreams come crashing back to Earth as they fail to overcome the reality bar in the pole vault event.

Of course I am referring to the recent news of the problem with the track at the high school. If the reports are true, the track is more a steeplechase venue than a standard track. Divots, ridges, grass and depressions, all make for an uneven and dangerous surface. And with each abnormality the dollar signs start triple jumping skyward.

The current price tag for a replacement track and associated items is about $850,000. Almost a million dollars and all of the problems with the track will be fixed for another 20 years.

A staggering amount of money for a piece of real estate that is used but a handful of times per year.

It was noted by Superintendent Perzanoski at a recent School Board Meeting that the track’s condition actually limited the number of track and field events that were held this last spring. Only once could the Dragon’s defend their home turf, or foam rubber or asphalt or whatever is currently on the surface of the track. It is also likely that that single meet would be the last held at Brunswick until some new arrangement was in hand.

There are some in the community who see the creation of a new track as an asset that would set Brunswick apart. Dave Watson, a member of the Town Council, has spoken to me at length about the track condition. Mr. Watson sees the track as a way to provide a great venue for the track athletes but also as a way for the town to make money. He has envisioned events not only at the high school level, but national as well. It is truly ambitious.

While I do not share Mr. Watson’s optimistic take on where the track could be headed if we just ponied up the eight hundred large, I do agree that there is place for the track. If we are as committed to student participation in athletics as we have shown in the past, then the track’s replacement would be something that we could support privately.

I think that this is the perfect issue to seek real, wide based support in private funding. A track lined with sponsorships or support agreements would show the deep rooted support that the town has for their student athletes and a community asset such as a track venue. With the right structure, the significant cost of the project could be pared down.

What would be a mistake is to add the cost of the track resurrection to the cost of the already large school construction / repair question that will come before the voters sometime next year. It may be necessary to replace and repair a school. That maybe a need. The repair of a track is not a need.

It is not necessary to continually hit up the taxpayer for a cost like this especially in a time when we will be paying for so much more. It may be the right time however to build strong community support for a project like this.

That’s my two cents…

Jonathan Crimmins lives in Brunswickand can be reached at j_ [email protected]

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