by Geoff Fox
The Hancock Flag Football league will be moving to a new location when the season starts in a couple of weeks.
Instead of playing their games in Kirkwood Park where they’ve been playing, they will be moving to Widmeyer Park and the field across the stream from the main part of the park.
League President Brandon Utermoehlen came before town officials during the August town meeting for permission to use the field this year.
This year, the league has well over 120 kids playing on 12 teams. This is up from the 30 to 40 kids on six teams when Utermoehlen became president four years ago.
In the past, the football league had been playing in the lower right corner of Kirkwood Park, but Utermoehlen said with the creek construction last year, it cut into part of their area.
“To get through last year, we used the ball fields up top,” he said.
Using the field at Widmeyer would also allow the league to run more games at the same time instead of one game at a time.
Utermoehlen said he had met with Councilman Tim Boyer the night before the meeting at Widmeyer, and, using a range finder, determined three fields could be squeezed in and not be stacked on top of each other.
This would give the flag football league two large fields for the senior and varsity division and sized to allow two JV games on one field.
Utermoehlen said there were issues with the field where it would rain for two hours in the morning and the sun doesn’t come out that day, games would have to be postponed, something the league doesn’t want to do.
Widmeyer Park would also allow the flag football league to have its own concession stand, as an old concession stand is still standing.
“It kind of spoiled us because we actually got a working concession stand,” Utermoehlen said about using the upper fields at Kirkwood.
This allowed for more food to be sold to raise more money for the league.
To use the concession stand at Kirkwood while playing on the lower field, concession stand workers would have to transport items almost 600 yards every other day.
The current building’s electric works, Utermoehlen said, and needs some TLC. A week after the meeting, the concession building had been painted blue.
Utermoehlen said the league has also been lucky enough to keep the registration fees for $45 for football, $60 for new cheerleaders, and $50 for returning cheerleaders because they keep the uniforms.
“We don’t rely any at all on the registration to run the league’s overhead,” he said. Those fees cover the jerseys and trophies or medals at the end of the year.
The concession stand, Utermoehlen said, covers the equipment and other costs.
The biggest issues with the field in Widmeyer, Utermoehlen said, were some areas with a little dipping in the ground. He said the creek being exposed could present an possible hazard should a child wonder off.
Mayor Ralph Salvagno said the whole thing was great and served the purpose of how the park is to be used.
He said future improvements to the field area could be considered, based on how things proceed this year.
“As we’re in limbo, you don’t want to do anymore taking apart until we know that’s the final solution,” Boyer said.
Salvagno also noted an issue with parking, but Utermoehlen said the largest crowds are usually the opening day and Super Bowl.
Utermoehlen said he’s confident there’s enough parking with what’s available as well as along the road toward Creek Road.
Utermoehlen told town officials the league had been offered the donation of building a storage shed on wheels, with the only cost being $1,000 for materials.