Wareham Tigers hope to use town land for football and cheer programs
The Wareham Tigers Athletics Association hopes to join Wareham Youth Soccer and Wareham Girls Softball in operating their own fields for games and practices at Westfield on Charlotte Furnace Road in West Wareham.
The Tigers will ask the Board of Selectmen to include an article on the warrant for the Dec. 19 special Town Meeting. The warrant article would include a proposed license agreement that would allow the Wareham Tigers to operate three sports fields, an athletic facility with a small gymnasium, a pavilion, accessory parking, concessions, bathrooms and storage.
The Tigers would pay an annual license fee to the town and would be responsible for maintaining the property as well as all future improvements, the association said in a press release.
Jared Chadwick, the president of the Wareham Tigers Athletic Association, said much of the land would be for the three sports fields: a main football field, a warm-up/practice field and one practice and flag football field that would be slightly smaller than a regular football field.
Some of the 17 acres of land they would receive in the agreement would also be used to expand parking, which would benefit the soccer and softball field users as well, Chadwick said.
After securing the land, the association’s next steps would be clearing the forest currently on the land, getting grass planted and beginning to fundraise, Chadwick said.
“We’re a nonprofit organization, and a lot of it is we’re going to be asking for donations from people out of town, pretty much all over the place,” Chadwick said. “We’re researching a lot of different ways to go about this.”
But first, he said, the top priority is acquiring the land.
“We’re the last program that doesn’t have our own fields,” Chadwick said, noting that the Wareham Tigers have been around since 1962. “That’s why we’re shooting for this. It’s a perfect, centrally-located area, it’s along with other programs and we’re trying to bring everyone in on this.”
Currently, the Wareham Tigers football program uses the Wareham High School fields and the cheer program uses the Boys & Girls Club. The use of school fields has caused some frustration for the league’s leaders, as fees for field usage have cost the non-profit league up to $10,000 annually. The league is also charged whether they use the field or not, as they schedule extra dates in case of inclement weather.
The EEE outbreak in 2019 caused further issues. In prior years, the Tigers used the fields after high school teams finished practice at 5 p.m. Public health restrictions during the summer and fall of 2019 meant that no one was allowed to use the fields after 6 p.m., when the threat of mosquito bites was highest. That gave the Tigers only an hour to practice.
The new fields would ensure the program had the access to practice space athletes need, and could allow the Tigers to expand their program offerings to include youth lacrosse, which is not currently available in Wareham.