WestportLogoWestport Youth Athletic Association began in 1997 with a meeting between the leaders of Westport’s youth softball, baseball and soccer leagues. They met to solve shared problems with running their programs on school fields. All agreed the problems were large and immediate.  The group spent over a year in study and discussion of how best to solve these problems. The result of that discussion was a decision to pursue a privately funded, privately built and privately managed facility. Among the many considerations that lead to this conclusion were:

  • Availability of grants to private organizations not available to government entities
  • Private organizations’ freedom from prevailing wage and bidding process restraints
  • Lack of town money to build such a complex
  • Lack of town agency or money to maintain such a complex
  • Greater propriety of a private non-profit seeking donations than town officials or a town entity
  • Greater access to volunteer involvement in a private endeavor And, most importantly, realization that the only force in town strong enough to make this happen is the passion of the parents whose children play in town leagues. A private organization can better access that passion.

Another agreement reached was the leagues working together for one complex for all rather than competing among one another for land and money.  The only solution worth the time, effort and money is a single complex with enough room for both present and foreseeable future field needs for all three leagues Westport Youth Athletic Association was formed and incorporated as a vehicle to allow the leagues, parents, the community at large and all interested parties to work together toward the common goal. WYAA’s purpose is to raise the money, secure the land, arrange construction and see to the management of the fields for the benefit of the leagues and the kids. WYAA started with only the outdoor sports leagues, but was later joined by the basketball leagues as well.

After several years searching WYAA, found the ideal piece of land, an 80 acre farm on Rt. 177. The parcel not only had enough dry, flat upland for the project, it also abutted several landlocked parcels and town owned land that connected it to the back of the high school property. The owner, Leonard Santos, was so enthusiastic about a community built youth sports complex on his property that he agreed with WYAA to sell the land for far below its market value at the time in 2004.

The first phase of the project has a budget of $3.65M. The end result will be 6 baseball/softball fields, 3 soccer fields, walking trails, and a handicap accessible playground.  The complex will provide a central site for the entire Town of Westport to come together for sport and for play.

Amazingly, Westport does not have a public park where its residents can pick up and go at a moment’s notice. The complex will be accessible to all town residents.  Overall, WYAA has raised cash and pledges towards construction of $2.65M from over 800 different individuals, foundations and corporate entities.

The land is owned. The road is built. Forty acres of field have been cleared. In 2018, the Board voted to move forward with site construction.  RAD Sports, the foremost field contractor in the Northeast, de-stumped the property, graded the site, setup drainage and built four (4) youth baseball/softball fields.  The land has been prepped for all of our future sports fields, parking needs and road. This is the expensive, labor intensive and invisible piece to the entire project. The budget for this piece of the project alone was approximately $1.6M.

Westport’s Community Preservation Committee has worked us hand and hand throughout the planning of this project.  The local CPC gave $500,000 towards the initial purchase of the land in 2006.  The committee then approved a 2nd grant of $523,000 in 2012 as a match towards private fundraising for the project. The committee also approved a 3rd grant of $600,000 towards the construction of the site in 2016. All told the town has now given and approved $1,873,000 towards our efforts through different town entities. The town population’s overwhelming support of our project at town meeting shows the true need our project meets and fulfills within Westport.

One last item of strength for our project is a maintenance and upkeep endowment setup by the local Van Sloan Foundation. To date this fund has $165,000 +, with additional funding added on an annual basis.

Grass has been planted THIS FALL (2018) and again we will have playable fields in Spring 2019.

Westport Youth Athletic Association
P.O. Box 1567
Westport, MA 02790
Ken Sullivan, WYAA President: 508-212-2419; (e) Wyaa1997@gmail.com
Gardner Lane, WYAA Head of Fundraising: 773-206-5444; (e) gardner.lane@guaranteedrate.com