A major improvement to the baseball fields at Waveny Park received the green light from town officials last week, at no cost to taxpayers.

Of the three renovated fields, one will be made of artificial turf and include modern lighting, dugouts, bleachers, and batting cages along each foul line.

"We're thrilled about how much use we're going to get out of this field for all different ages," Patrick Edmonds, who represented New Canaan Baseball at the meetings of the boards of selectmen and finance May 7. "Because it's lit, we're going to be able to use the turf field more."

Funding for the improvements, which are expected to cost $1.8 million, will be privately raised by parents of children involved in New Canaan Baseball, which will also establish a fund for the replacement of the turf in about 10 years. There won't be any cost to the town for maintenance either, as the artificial turf will not require cutting or watering, and could actually help the town save on maintenance costs.

Edmonds said the group is hoping to have all the money raised by the end of the summer, begin work at the end of August or beginning of September, and be finished by early spring in time for the 2014 baseball season.

The park will become the new home for New Canaan High School's varsity team during its season and for New Canaan Baseball the rest of the time.

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Edmonds was asked at both meetings whether the improvements were for baseball only or would benefit girls' softball as well. He was adamant that the girls' softball teams were on board for the project.

"I've spoken to (NCHS softball coach) Danielle Simoneau about this, and she is thrilled that she'll have dugouts with covers and batting cages," Edmonds told the selectmen. "Presently at this time, the water tower field is just a disaster. This is such a dramatic improvement for the girls."

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; @Woods_NCNews