May 27, 2016

Windham Town Council gives town manager the approval to negotiate sale of Gambo Fields - By Michelle Libby

The Windham Town Council voted 5-1 last night in favor of proceeding with the sale of 3 Soccer Drive to Windham Youth Soccer Association who has been caretaker of the property for almost 30 years. The sale terms will be decided between Tuesday night and July 15, 2016, pending approval from the council. 

“Decisions do matter,” Dan Hancock said, quoting council chairperson Donna Chapman. “This makes a big difference to all the kids, parents and volunteers.” He also said that it matters to the taxpayers who shouldn’t have to pay for the updates to this property that WYSA has taken care of for the last three decades. 

The council chambers were filled with parents and soccer players in support of the sale. 

“Gambo field wouldn’t be the same without your support,” said Hancock. 

A few soccer players spoke, including fifth grader Caleb Young. He talked about the three sports venues in Windham. One is Lowell Field, which he called “The Field of Dreams”. This one is run by Windham Little League under the care of Bill Ciccarone, the Windham skatepark, which is owned by the town and he can no longer use, and finally the “beautiful Gambo fields.” He asked them to give the fields to someone who could maintain them. 

Volunteer coach and parent Dustin Roma addressed concerns about the town wanting to put a boat launch in and he was confident that the town and WYSA can come to an agreement in order to construct and maintain those future facilities.

Chapman supported the sale from day one referenced the pictures of children playing soccer last weekend at Gambo. “You can really see the community at work,” she said. 

Councilor Dave Nadeau was the only one to vote against the sale, citing that he never wants to sell off town assets. One of the early concerns was access to the property from other organizations. 

“Windham Youth Lacrosse congratulates WYSA on their successful acquisition of the Gambo fields. They've made substantial investments over the years and I'm confident they will continue to do so to make it a fantastic facility for the youth of Windham,” said Rusty Babb, president of Windham Youth Lacrosse Organization. “Admittedly, we had our differences a few years back, but I'm very optimistic about the possibilities of our two groups being able to work together in the future to promote activities for all of the kids of Windham to be able to participate in.”

WYSA agreed to pay $80,000 for the property in an earlier proposal.

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