Many people visiting the CARA complex for the first time have commented on the very nice facility they observed and further commented that the City of Augusta has done a great job of building and maintaining the complex. We are quick to point out that the facility was neither built nor maintained by the city, but in all due respect, the City of Augusta has made some significant contributions to the CARA complex over the years.
Many of the playing fields are used by Cony High School and Cony Middle School. The Cony baseball team has utilized McGuire and Morton fields for their entire baseball schedule since 1980. In recent years, the Cony Middle School has played all of their home games at either McGuire or Morton fields. During the eighties, before construction of the softball complex located at the old Cony High School, the girl’s softball team utilized Rivelli and Minuteman fields for their practices and home games. Starting in the late eighties, the Cony girls soccer team utilized Morton Field for practices and games. When the Capitol Area Soccer complex was completed in 2001, both Cony boys and girls soccer teams started play there, and have been on the fields since. The city recreation department runs a fall soccer program for both girls and boys.
The City of Augusta pays rent to CARA for use of the facilities, and the rent paid is utilized by the respective organizations to assist in the cost of field maintenance.
Since CARA became incorporated in 1974, a considerable amount of development has occurred. Not only have playing fields been built but the infrastructure necessary to run a successful program such as press boxes, dugouts, concession stands, and maintenance buildings have been added to the various field areas. Beginning with the first construction project undertaken by Augusta East Little League, the city through the technical center helped in a big way by constructing the building that serves a threefold purpose of storage, concession, and press box. Over the years, the city has constructed similar structures at McGuire and Morton fields along with dugouts at Linscott, Rivelli, McGuire, Morton, and the CARA Youth Memorial Field.
Other major projects at the CARA complex where the city has contributed to CARA include paving of Piggery Road, donation of bleacher materials to Augusta Babe Ruth along with funding to assist in the erection of the bleachers acquired from the City of Portland that have a seating capacity of 1800, installation of basketball uprights at the John Bridge basketball courts, drainage work at Morton Field, painting of foul lines at McGuire and Morton fields and painting the required boundary and interior lines at the three soccer fields.
Former Mayor of Augusta, Bill Dowling, instituted a policy whereby the City would provide CARA with an annual donation of “in-kind” services for capital improvements to the complex. The donation continued for a few years and was temporarily suspended when the economy weakened. CARA concurred with the suspension but is hopeful of its continuation as the economy improves. When in effect, the “in kind” money was used for many projects such as paving the easterly end of Piggery Road, paving at the John Bridge basketball courts, parking lot expansion, and considerable tree planting. The city also provided gravel for the recent parking lot expansion at the CARA Youth Memorial field.
Augusta has always been represented on the CARA board, and we feel it important to have a good working relationship. The present representative, Earl Kingsbury, is a very positive individual and works very closely with CARA to further our mutual objectives of providing first class recreation opportunities for the youth of this area.
Former council members that have served on the CARA board are Bill Dowling, who also served two terms as Mayor of Augusta, and Gary Burns. Our current president, Mark O’Brien, served several terms as City Council and is currently its mayor. Other representatives of the City of Augusta were Peter Meagher, Cony athletic director, John Burgess, Cony athletic director, Ron Kenoyer, Cony athletic director, and Peter Marzak, Recreation director.