New track and field will bring RSU together

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Having returned to Maine in 2014, we’re relative newcomers to the Freeport and RSU 5 community. But we immediately fell in love with the town, its schools, its residents, and the can-do attitude of our many new friends and neighbors. With three boys going through Freeport Middle School and Freeport High School and the contact that’s given us with lots of kids and parents from the three towns, we’ve been able to see up-close the strength and spirit of this place – and it’s energizing.

In a couple of important ways, the Tri-Town Track & Field Project embodies all of the things that we’ve come to believe are great about our community.

First, it’s hard not to be impressed with the incredible fundraising work done by the project’s many volunteers. So far, more than $2 million has been raised from both individual and business pledges, in every increment from $1 million from Nike down to handfuls of change collected by local students. The dedication to this project shown by so many is impressive. When we look at the upcoming bond issue to complete the financial picture, we’re encouraged by how light the burden will be on us as taxpayers – just $14-$20 per household over a 10-year bond. The steering committee has worked hard not just to raise money, but to ensure that the impact on public funding is kept to an absolute minimum. We’re so close to making this dream a reality, and sincerely believe that we cannot let this opportunity pass us by.

The other aspect of this project is how much we look forward to the day when the new jewel of our public school physical plant will bring us together in new ways.

This past spring we, like so many others in the RSU 5 towns, followed closely the amazing successes of the Freeport High School baseball team as the boys played their way all the way to the state championship game. For an electric couple of weeks, we were swept away not just by the inspiring performance of our Durham, Freeport and Pownal boys, but by the inspiring performance of the countless supporters from our three towns who turned every contest into a home game for our guys. That, to us, is what community feels like.

Pride in a program and in a facility makes a profound difference in the strength of a community like ours. We saw it last baseball season, and we can see it at the music, theater, academic and athletic events that highlight the year at our wonderful public schools. In the promise of a new track and field facility, it’s easy to envision the joy and excitement awaiting us just around the corner. For us, we’re dreaming of June graduation ceremonies at a first-rate outdoor facility, Sunday morning walks around the track, Friday night football games under the lights, soccer and lacrosse playoff games that never have to be moved because of the weather, and busloads of RSU 5 track and field student-athletes who will at long last have a place to call home. And in those dreams we’re also seeing our friends and neighbors, coming together with great pride thanks to our new facility, honoring the hard work of our student-athletes, and celebrating the reality that “We built this together!”

I hope that you will join us in supporting the construction of the Tri-Town Track & Field Project, that you’ll offer your time and talent to the volunteers who still need your help, and that you’ll vote in favor of the important bond issues that will be on our ballots in January.

Peter and Elena Wagner

Colby, Shea and Gabriel

Freeport