Turf Field Funding Approved in $1.03M Capital Bond
The funding was approved in May, but where the money will come from is still not settled.
The borough Board of Commissioners approved a $1.03 million capital bond this week that includes $397,000 to help pay for the installation of an artificial turf field.
The resolution passed at the end of a meeting extended by an hour-long presentation of citations to 50 honorees for the borough's annual Women's History Month.
The commissioners approved a plan to spend $365,000 for the artificial turf field in May in front of about 200 people who turned out to support or oppose the measure. An additional $22,000 was included in the funding approved Tuesday for engineering and other professionals.
The borough's funds are part of just more than $1 million needed to install turf at the Haddonfield Memorial High School football stadium field and the borough-owned Anniversary Field adjacent to it. Half of the money for the project was raised by private donations.
Borough officials say spending money for the turf field instead of continuing to try to maintain a deteriorating grass field, especially with private money paying half of the cost, is a good deal. But a chorus of complaints about the cost and environmental safety of the fields continues to swirl around the issue.
Some borough activists used artificial-turf funding as a rallying cry to defeat a $12.5 million bond referendum in January for the public purchase of the 19.2-acre Bancroft property on Kings Highway East, next to the high school. There was $1 million in that plan to construct an additional artificial turf field at the high school.
That defeat opened an opportunity for the Anniversary Field turf funding to come from the borough's open-space tax fund. The nearly $600,000 in the tax fund was going to be used toward the Bancroft purchase. But once the referendum was defeated, it allowed the possibility that some, or all, of the turf funding could be paid for with open-space money.
The commissioners now say they will not use more than a quarter of the $600,000 in the tax fund for Anniversary Field. The resolution they passed in May stated the money could come from the open-space tax, which allows active-recreation purchases, as well.
Borough officials say the $397,000 approved in the capital bond may not all be spent if some open-space money is used. The bond money is borrowed and must be paid back with interest. The open-space money is already collected and does not need to be paid back.