Gladiators practice field is in flux

Old location at Kennedy Elementary taken away by construction as start of football season looms
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Gladiators youth football program is still without a practice field before the start of its season scheduled for next month.

The village’s Parks and Recreation Committee will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Aug. 1, to decide if the team can practice at Centennial Park this August. The team’s first day of practice is set for Aug. 4.

The committee met last week at the park, where officials and neighboring residents could view the proposed practice grounds, but no action was taken.

Last season, the team of more than 100 players practiced at Centennial Park before the start of its regular season, but a number of neighbors were concerned about parking, traffic and noise. 

The Gladiators need a new practice field since its previous site at Kennedy Elementary School is being used for construction of an addition to the school. Home games will be played at Grafton High School. 

The team would practice from 5 to 7:30 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Gladiators Executive Director Mark Rowland said the field would only be used in August this year and he is seeking a different location for practice during the rest of this season.

But the team wants to make Centennial Park a permanent home for its practice for future seasons.

Next year, the team has proposed a plan to locate a football field with goalposts on the east side of 17th Avenue at the park. The Gladiators would rent the field, install an irrigation system and maintain the field. The Gladiators would use the field from August through mid-November, and it would be available to the public when it is not being used by the team.

Rowland said the team would also like to place a 20-by-70-foot shed at the park for storing equipment and reviewing game film. Some residents said the shed could be an eyesore because it doesn’t match the surrounding area.

“It seems to look more like a trailer pod than a shed,” resident Andy Arnold said.

Last year, the team had temporary storage by the parking lot, and Rowland said the team would be flexible with the location of the proposed shed.

Parks and Recreation Director John Safstrom said the youth football program is reviewing the proposal and will amend its plan based on feedback. 

The local rugby program has been using the same field space in the spring for 12 years, according to officials. 

Village Trustee Tom Krueger suggested the village consult its attorney to see if there are any restrictions placed on Centennial Park’s uses.

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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