Darien seeks to build cross country team a running course they can call home
DARIEN — The Darien High School cross country program may finally get a course to call home.
Mark Maybell, chairman of the Darien Athletic Foundation (DAF), said the idea came after several discussions with the community. When the foundation was founded in 2012 the organization developed a master plan with input from both town officials and the public.
“In 2013, a group of parents who attended a presentation proposed the idea of a running path as the cross country program at the high school, which is the school’s largest athletic program, does not have a place to run and are not able to host home events,” Maybell said.
After school lets out at 2:17 p.m. the team are usually seen running on Middlesex, Hanson and Hollow Tree Ridge Road currently, he said.
When support for the idea came in subsequent public information sessions, Maybell said the DAF decided it was important to incorporate the idea into their master plan.
“We had over 400 meetings,” he said. “It had a lot of support.”
The proposed running path would extend around the Darien High School property and through the Diller Property, which is controlled by the Parks and Recreation Department.
The 18,210 foot path is estimated to cost $200,000 to $300,000. Should the proposal be approved the DAF would pay for all design and construction costs and donate the results to the town, Maybell said.
The proposed track was presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission at their last meeting.
Mary Flynn, chairman of the commission, said a path around Diller was already in the Parks and Recreation department’s own master plan.
“From our perspective, we’re happy with a track or a running path around our property that would be open to the public,” Flynn said.
Maybell said the path on the Diller section would be controlled by Parks and Recreation. The path that goes on the perimeter of the school would be controlled by the school administration. This portion would be open to the public based on the parameters set by the administration.
Susan Daly, a member of the commission, said the track would be the best use of the Diller property. It would also resolve safety concerns for the kids in the cross country program.
“These kids are running on the street half the time,” Daly said. “It’s keeping the kids where we want them as well.”
The commission unanimously voted in approval of the running path around Diller property. The proposal will go before the Board of Education next.