The Representative Town Meeting dealt with 2 non-controversial items last night. Both passed unanimously.
One — naming the Staples High School football field in honor of Paul Lane — is sure to bring a smile to the faces of countless Westporters, present and past.
Here is Peter Gold’s report on the July RTM meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, and not in an official capacity.
“Coach Paul Lane Field” is a posthumous honor. Paul Lane died last month, at 93. But he knew that town bodies were considering the action. A petition favoring the name was signed by over 1,000 Westporters.
Lane spent nearly 30 years as a Staples coach and physical education instructor. Though best known for his football teams — including a powerhouse 1967 FCIAC champion squad, and 1975 state champs — he was also a noted track coach.
In fact, he coached a young Laddie Lawrence. The dedication of the Laddie Lawrence Track last month spurred a drive to name Staples’ football stadium for Paul Lane. Lawrence spoke in favor of the move at last night’s RTM meeting.
Paul Lane Field is the 3rd at Staples honoring a beloved coach. The others are named for Albie Loeffler (soccer) and Virginia Parker (field hockey). All 3 taught physical education together at Staples, from the 1950s through the ’70s.
The fieldhouse is named for Lou Nistico, former owner of the Arrow restaurant, and an avid Staples athletics supporter.
Earlier in the evening, the RTM approved $232,000 to replace 3 of the 12 non-fire truck vehicles used by the Fire Department.
Two of the vehicles are used by command staff and the fire marshal. The third is a dive rescue unit used by the Police and Fire Departments. It was purchased in 1996. The other 2 vehicles were purchased in 2007 and 2009. All 3 are beyond their useful life, no longer cost effective to maintain and operate.
Approximately $90,000 of the cost is for fitting the vehicles up for use by the Fire Department, including installing warning lights, radios, cabinetry for necessary storage, and tool racks. The existing vehicles will be sold, but will likely have little salvage value.
Due to the current shortage of semiconductor chips, the vehicles must be ordered by October, in order to be received by June 2022.
The Fire Department expects to replace 2 or 3 non-fire truck vehicles every year, to help keep operating and fuel costs down. Fire trucks are not expected to be replaced until the 2022-23 fiscal year, starting with 2 engine trucks and the ladder truck replacement in 2024-25.