Turf fundraising ready to begin

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NAUGATUCK — The borough’s campaign to raise some $500,000 in private monies to offset the cost of installing synthetic turn at the high school’s main athletic field is officially underway.

The Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation agreed Monday to allow the ad hoc Turf 2015 Committee use of the NEDC’s non-profit status throughout its canvassing for and collection of donations from local residents and businesses.

NEDC CEO Dave Prendergast said the Turf 2015 Committee would have otherwise had to endure the arduous and potentially expensive process of incorporation.

“It’s relatively expensive to create non-profit corporations,” he said, “and these are single-function types of things, so [the Turf 2015 Committee] would eat up a significant amount of their fundraising trying to get incorporated.

“They’d be prevented, also, from being able to fundraise,” without tax-exempt, non-profit status, he continued. “They couldn’t honestly go to people and say, ‘This is a non-taxable, charitable contribution that will be tax-deductible.’”

The NEDC’s responsibility is only to make sure the Turf 2015 Committee’s fundraising stays on track and the numbers square up.

It’s no different, Prendergast said, than the role the NEDC filled on behalf of the Davis Auditorium Restoration Committee between 2004 and 2006.

Ed Carter, the mayor’s aide, has spearheaded the creation of a brick walkway leading from Naugatuck High School’s façade up to and, eventually, around the upper field, where football, baseball and softball games are held. Carter aims to sell bricks of two to three sizes (priced accordingly) to local individuals and families, have them inscribed with their names, and use the proceeds to offset the estimated  $2.1 million cost of replacing the upper field with synthetic turf.

The borough hopes to secure state and/or federal grants to make up the difference.

Carter is hoping to reach out to community organizations like the local VFW Post, the Rotary Club, and sports booster clubs by allowing them to sell bricks and keep a fraction of the donations, based on how many they sell.

He’s also weighing a quarterly-payment option, wherein donors could pay for their bricks in four monthly installments over the course of a year.

Carter was still deciding between masonry suppliers, brick colors and inscription techniques Monday. He aims to have everything in order by March 20, when a walk-a-thon will be held at Veteran’s Field to benefit the turf program. He hopes to kick off the brick sales that day and install the walkway in the summer of 2011.