Gladiators have use of Centennial Park for now

Youth football team will practice at 17th Ave. site through August but future access uncertain after plans raise concerns

THE GRAFTON GLADIATORS will continue to practice in Centennial Park in August, but the youth football program’s future use of the park remains undecided. Some residents have voiced concerns about the village giving the program annual use of the site. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Gladiators football program has found a practice field at Centennial Park for August, but where the youth teams will practice the rest of the season and next year has yet to be determined. 

During a special meeting Wednesday, Aug. 1, the village’s Parks and Recreation Committee unanimously approved the team’s request to use Centennial Park on 17th Avenue this month.

The committee held the meeting so the request could be determined before practices began. Last season, the Gladiators received permission to use Centennial Park for August, which was approved at the staff level through the Parks and Recreation Department.

The football players took to the field on the east side of the park Aug. 4 for the first day of practice. The team will hold practices from 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays through the rest of the month. About 120 players are in the program.

The team also received permission to use a shed on the southeast corner of the parking lot to store equipment.

More than a dozen coaches, players and residents attended the meeting. In the past, residents have voiced concerns about the Gladiators’ practices, citing noise, traffic, parking and privatizing a public park.

Some residents questioned if the park would become a permanent practice site for the team. Others opposed the program’s use of portable restrooms for three days in August when the park’s pavilion with bathrooms will be rented.

Next year, the team has proposed construction of a football field with goalposts on the east side of the park. The Gladiators would rent the field, install an irrigation system and maintain the field.

After the Gladiators use the field from August through mid-November, it would be available to the public. At the Aug. 1 meeting, future use of the park was not discussed.

Gladiators Executive Director Mark Rowland said the team would also like to place a 20-by-70-foot shed in the park to store equipment and review game film. In previous meetings, residents said the shed could be an eyesore because it doesn’t match the surrounding area.

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 building as part of the Grafton School District’s $39.9 million facilities project. Gladiators’ home games will be played at Grafton High School. 

The Gladiators are still determining where practices will be held for the remaining months of the season. Rowland said he will speak with district officials next week and believes the team can still practice at Kennedy because there will be two separate teams during the regular season that practice on alternate days.

Parks and Recreation Director John Safstrom said the football program’s organizers are working with village staff to revise a plan for the team’s use of  Centennial Park next year. 



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

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.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login