Now Building Eagle Brook of Wrentham

Youth Sports Field in Norfolk, MA

The following article was recently published on the Town Online – Country Gazette web site, describing one of the ways DiPlacido Development Corp.has given back to the local community:

Locals donate youth sports fields
By Heather McCarron/ Staff Writer
Friday, November 18, 2005

WRENTHAM – Field space has always come at a premium for King Philip Youth Football and Cheerleading and King Philip Youth Lacrosse, often meaning trips out of town to practice and infrequent games on home turf.

Always having to share existing in-town fields with a crowded roster of other local athletic programs, neither group has ever had a field it could call its own.

Until now.

Just off North Street, on land that is part of the Wrentham Developmental Center, yellow goal posts loom over a rectangle of closely-cropped grass that was carved from challenging, hilly terrain this summer.

The recently christened DiPlacido-Anderson Field is a gift of local developer Tom DiPlacido, Jr. of DiPlacido Development Corp., Rich Anderson of Wrentham’s R.E. Anderson Trucking Corp., and numerous other businesses that contributed labor and materials to the effort.

“They really stepped up. It was not pulling teeth at all. It was ‘what can I do?'” said Tom Barnett, a football coach and president of KPYF. “It was a tremendous effort.”

“They’ve done so much,” agreed David Benharris, a football coach and member of the KPYF board. “It’s really just an outpouring.”

For about six years, both KPYF and KP Youth Lacrosse practiced on a flatter part of the site, though without the benefit of a groomed field. The coaches described players negotiating uneven ground that sometimes resulted in some turned out ankles, though no serious injuries.

With participation in the football and lacrosse programs climbing into the hundreds, and high demand on the field space available in town – at the Sweatt Fields on the end of Randall Road, and at the high school – the administrators of both programs have dreamed of having their own field space for practices and home games.

KPYF and Cheerleading has 350 registered participants from Wrentham and Plainville, and KP Youth Lacrosse has 260-280 participants from Wrentham, Plainville and Norfolk.

“Our kids were in a tough place having places to practice,” said Benharris, noting that construction at the high school that began in the spring cut back already limited alternatives.

He and fellow coaches said kids have had to travel as far afield as Plymouth to find field space and have rarely had the chance to host games on home turf.

Then Tom DiPlacido Jr. stepped in, with Rich Anderson at his side looking to do something to help the groups out.

“I’ve been coaching football (for KPYF) about nine years,” said DiPlacido.

He said both programs are very active, having things going on four and five nights a week during their seasons.

“They (the kids) put a tremendous amount of effort into it,” he said. “We just found ourselves having a very difficult time finding places for them to play on their own home turf.”

DiPlacido’s company donated materials, equipment and labor needed to build and finish the field. Anderson also donated equipment and labor to excavate, build and finish the field.

“I just do a lot of work for Tommy. He asked if I’d donate some machine work,” said Anderson. “I don’t mind doing something that’s going to benefit kids.”

DiPlacido and Anderson are modest about their contributions to the field.

“This field really represents a tremendous amount of team work,” said DiPlacido, noting other businesses that donated materials and labor, as well as volunteers from both sports organizations who helped put up the fence and goal posts and paint the grid iron.

Organizers of the youth programs, meanwhile, are not shy about lavishing praise and gratitude on the two men.

“Certainly without these two there would be no field,” said Michael Rigoli, who is involved in both the football and lacrosse programs. “This was a big bumpy hill here and they did all this work. These guys have done a remarkable job.”

DiPlacido estimates the total cost of materials and labor for the project hovers around $450,000, but Barnett said the value to the youth programs “is priceless.” The youth organizations had to pay “probably less than 8 percent” of the cost, added Benharris.

The field, the coaches said, is also a great benefit to the Wrentham Developmental Center.

“They’re so generous to allow us to use this land,” said Benharris.

As part of the christening of the new field, KPYF this fall hosted a “Kick, Punt and Pass” program for athletes of the Massachusetts Special Olympics. About 50 special athletes participated.

“We wanted to do something to give back to the community they (the Developmental Center) support. We sponsored the whole thing. Special Olympics didn’t pay a thing,” said Benharris.

The athletes were taught football skills during the morning part of the program and then took on competitive challenges in the afternoon. It’s a program the youth organizations want to make into an annual event at the field.

“Our kids were involved with the Special Olympics kids. It was just incredible for all of the kids,” said Benharris.

“It was just such a great feeling to see that interaction,” said Rigoli.

The pairing of KPYF and KP Youth Lacrosse with the field couldn’t be more serendipitous, either, the organizers said.

“We had a great opportunity to partner because football and lacrosse have opposite seasons. We have great synergy. Many of the kids in lacrosse also play football,” said Barnett.

Hunter Benharris, 12, spoke up for the young athletes for whom the field was built.

“It’s really nice,” said the football player.

He’s played on the field once this season, during a home game versus Mansfield on Oct. 1. He described the game, which the home team won 8-0, as “dazzling.”

“Everyone was really excited to play,” Hunter said.

Barnett described the thrill he saw in the players’ faces for that game as well.

“They looked on the field and it was all freshly painted … you could see the excitement on the faces of those kids. They took a lot of pride in their own home field.”

“We’re proud of this,” added Benharris, “and we’re real appreciative of all the who people have done this for the kids.”

The playing season on the field is over for this year

Other businesses contributing to the field’s development included Smolinsky Brothers, Inc. of Wrentham (all plumbing permits and plumbing system design), Anderson Builders of Rhode Island (built pump house and storage facility), Metrowest Irrigation Co. of Framingham (all labor to design and install irrigation system), Gorman Landscaping Co. of Wrentham (all labor to install sod), Duquette Electric of Wrentham (all labor to design and install electrical system), S.M. Lorusso and Sons Inc. of Walpole (donated materials for field and parking lot), United Consultants, Inc. of Wrentham (all engineering and site plan work to build facility), Jack Cavanaugh of Plainville (all labor to install plumbing system), and Reks Lawn Service of Wrentham (all labor and equipment to keep field professionally maintained).