AUGUSTA — The Capitol Area Recreation Association held a re-dedication Sept. 22 of the CARA Youth Memorial Field to observe improvements.

This field, originally built in the late 90s, has undergone considerable change beginning in 2013 and continuing until the present day. The original layout included two youth softball fields and a multi-purpose area. Usage declined over the years because of several factors including poor drainage and lack of parking in close proximity to the playing area, according to a news release from the association.

In recent years, there has been an increase in soccer and lacrosse and both sports have been played on the CARA fields even though wet weather made playing conditions impossible on some occasions. The CARA board felt a need to address the parking and drainage issues and fundraising was initiated. An engineering plan was prepared by SJR Engineering which included more parking, a one-way road system, and underground drainage and electrical. Environmental hurdles were cleared and funding was made available through the generosity of a long time supporter of CARA projects.

With permitting and funding secured, CARA personnel relocated existing fencing to accommodate the parking and road system. More than 6,600 lineal feet of under drain was installed, and a new scoreboard connected by underground electrical was installed. The drainage system completed in July 2014 has improved playability. With the drainage situation improved, CARA initiated a turf management program which will be done on an annual basis. One necessary improvement remained and that was irrigation. In order to maintain healthy turf, the root system requires water on a regular basis particularly during dry periods, according to the release. The organization contracted with Bowie Bros. Well Drilling for an in ground irrigation system. This system was installed in July 2015 and is currently in use. Water is supplied from an existing 10,000 gallon storage tank located at the soccer complex and is fed to the new irrigation system by an existing well pump and a new pump installed with the irrigation system to ensure adequate water pressure.

The event featured two soccer games between St. Michael and Windsor middle schools. The first game featured the boys teams. The second game was between St. Michael and Windsor girls.

Between games, a ceremony was held to honor and recognize area youth that passed away at a young age. The field is named in their honor and they include Christopher Bowie, Aug. 13, 1964-Aug. 9, 1980; Chrisanne M. Burns, May 20, 1974-Nov. 28, 1993; Jennifer L. Dennett, April 17, 1971-Feb. 21, 1992; Mallary Taylor Dulac, Sept. 18, 1985-June 13, 2002; Jordan Ellis, March 27, 1994-May 31, 2013; Andra (Markoff) Greenleaf, Jan. 30, 1980-July 9, 2001; Harold “Pete” Irish Jr., Jan. 26, 1955-Nov. 9, 1979; Brendan M. Markoff, July 26, 1974-Oct. 9 1994; Stephen St. Amand, Dec. 25, 1972-Oct. 22, 1992; Shawn M. Small, Aug. 17, 1969-Oct. 10, 1992; Sharon Taylor, Feb. 26, 1970-March 23, 1985.

CARA also installed a 45-foot flagpole with an 8-by-12 American flag which is visible throughout the complex. The ceremony itself included remarks by CARA President Paul Potvin regarding the improvements to the complex and an irrigation station was turned on to demonstrate the watering capability.

The ceremony included the recitation of the name of each youth followed by a moment of silence and tolling of a bell. The ceremony concluded with an emotional rendition of ” Wind Beneath My Wings” by Tina Charest who also sang the national anthem, according to the release.

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