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First contest playing under Harlow lights
DIXFIELD -- There was certainly a lot of preparation in the endeavor and it has proven to be extremely rewarding with the installation of lights at Harlow Park.
The Dirigo football team hosted Fryeburg Academy in a scrimmage last Friday night. It was the first-time ever that the Cougars had played an actual opponent under the lights at Harlow Park. The regular-season home-opening game against Freeport is Friday night.
The project organizers purchased the lighting units and a general contractor set the units in the ground. A group of local volunteers, together with student-athletes, assembled in July to dig holes and connect the wiring. The reaction has been nothing short of positive and total appreciation.
“This is really great,” said Jon Holmes. “I enjoy Saturday afternoon games, but there is just something about having games played on Friday night. I’ve been to games up to Mountain Valley and the atmosphere is electric.”
Because the schedules had been arranged prior to Dirigo having lights (Saturday home games were switched to Fridays). So there are conflicts where both RSU 10 member schools each play home games on the same nights; September 2 and 30 and October 14. In the future, the home games will be played on Friday and Saturday nights, like the former Jay and Livermore Falls did.
“It will be interesting,” said Donna Gilbert. “Mostly to see what type of crowds attend the games and support it.”
The pole bases were buried 12 feet in the ground, then encompassed by cement. The light towers are metal.
“There was a lot of thought that went into this,” said Jon Holmes. “Every thing was done right and the biggest thing was that it didn’t cost the taxpayers anything at all. Scott Holmes, Scott Blaisdell, Mark Thompson each deserve a lot of credit for the time spent organizing it.”
The project received selectmen approval and residents voted to approve using $50,000 from the Ione Harlow Fund at a special town meeting. The recreation endeavor is exactly what the Harlow Fund was designed to be used for.
Donations came from Irving, Dana Whittemore and the wind farm people covered the cost of lights and the wiring etc. Still, the committee realized additional funds would be necessary in order to address more things. This included making the lights safer, help with crowd control and abiding landowners, and cost overruns.
There will be events on the lighted field (including two boys and two girls soccer games). They have projected the lights will not on later than 9:30 at night.