At Veterans Memorial Park in West Haven, the helmets for youth football hang in a storage locker behind the fields, portable toilets are the only bathrooms and a small concession stand feeds hungry mouths.
That is all about to change, though, thanks to a $500,000 state grant.
"This will be the final phase of a three-phase,10-year project and it will enable us to put in ADA-compliant restrooms, locker rooms, equipment rooms and a large concession stand," said Michael Last, President of Ray Tellier Midget Football League.
It's a big improvement for the children who play at the field. Right now, the field is used for Pop Warner football and cheerleading, youth soccer and Notre Dame of West Haven sports.
The improvements will expand the number of games played at the field and the number of people who get to use the complex.
"It will give us an opportunity to host regional and state games," said Last. "We did a game last year, and we ended up filling both the hotels across the street. We brought in about 2,000 people for the weekend."
State and regional competitions would bring in even more people, resulting in a great boost for the local economy.
"There’s people who come from around the region to play here," said West Haven Mayor John Picard. "It’s a beautiful field. So they’ll go out to dinner; they’ll stay at some of the hotels, do other events here."
The city will soon put the project out to bid.
According to Gov. Dannel Malloy, who presented the grant to West Haven on Thursday, the city could be in the running to host the annual New England region Pop Warner championship games as early as 2014.