DERBY-The city’s Board of Alderman unanimously approved allowing Ansonia to begin its road to another state championship in Derby.
“I think reciting the Pledge of Allegiance took longer than our special meeting,” said Mayor Richard Dziekan.
The meeting which took place at noon Friday in City Hall had the Aldermen authorizing Ansonia and the CIAC to use the city’s new turf field.
That’s because the forecast for wintry weather beginning around 2 p.m.Sunday and possibly continuing into early Tuesday morning would turn Ansonia’s grassy Jarvis Field into a muddy mess. That’s not good for playoff football or for the players’ health.
So Ansonia turned to its once bitterest rival for help.
“We work together so much already this was not that big of a deal,” Dziekan said. “Our hope is that a lot of people from all across the state get to see how beautiful and great a facility we have. We’d like the CIAC to consider us for other tournaments.”
The football field re-opened this fall after being benched for almost two years while renovation with artificial turf and the construction of an outdoor track facility took place with a $2.9 million state grant.
But that was only the start. The adjacent baseball and softball fields were relocated, redesigned and renovated and a state-of -the art field house was built with $23 million from Joan Payden, the founder and chief executive officer of Payden & Rygel, a multi-billion dollar financial investment firm. Payden did this to honor her late father, Joseph R. Payden, the 1915 Derby High School valedictorian after whom the fieldhouse is named and her late brother, Bill, after whom the memorabilia room is named. That complex is now Payden Park.
So on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Derby undefeated Ansonia will begin what it hopes is its run to a 21st state championship against 8-2 Plainfield.
Ansonia capped off a 10-0 season with a 52-8 victory over Naugatuck Thanksgiving. As a result they received the number one seed in the Class S playoffs.
“It’s a win-win for them,” Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti said of Derby. “They’ll be paid for its use and they’ll collect money for concessions. Plus it will give them statewide exposure on the news.”
The Aldermen approved use of their complex for the playoffs with the requirement “the users assume the cost of fire, police, emergence medical service, custodial, public works and parks and recreation coverage (and) provide a certificate of insurance naming the City of Derby as addition insured as approved by the Corporation Counsel. .