Turf Field Money Will Be Bonded—for Now
Haddonfield commissioners agreed to use capital-improvement funds for high school turf-field project.
The Haddonfield Board of Commissioners on Monday agreed to include the cost of installing artificial turf on an athletic field adjacent to the high school campus in its annual capital improvement bond issue.
But they also agreed to take a second look at the funding after having a "conversation" with Bancroft Neurohealth about the future of its 19.2-acre property. Voters rejected a $12.5 million bond referendum last month to fund the purchase.
The commissioners and borough Administrator Sharon McCullough tossed around the idea of paying for part or all of the turf-field project out of a local open-space tax fund that currently has a balance of $550,000. Commissioner Jeff Kasko floated the idea of paying up to 25 percent of the turf costs with open-space money, which allows for active-recreation projects, as well as land preservation.
Using bond money for the project will likely costs tax payers more than using open-space money, which is already collected and will not need to be paid back with interest.
The three commissioners approved a plan in May to spend $356,000 to install turf on Anniversary Field, which is borough-owned land currently used as a practice field for high school teams and the band. It's part of a $1.01 million project to install turf at Anniversary Field and the high school football stadium. The borough school board is kicking in $150,00 and the balance is coming from a private fundraising effort.
The public funds were contingent on the Let's Turf It committee raising at least $500,000. It has raised more than $600,000 to date.
The commissioner's resolution approving the money stated it could come from capital improvement funds or from the local open-space tax fund. The open-space money was targeted for the acquisition and development of the Bancroft property.
Commissioner Ed Borden on Monday also floated the idea of establishing a committee to advise the board on what the open-space money should be used for. Commissioner Tish Colombi, the mayor, questioned what a committee would do and said she thought the commissioners had already decided they would make the decision about the funds.
The commissioners will meet again next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for an action meeting at the Municipal Hall, in which resolutions and ordinances typically can be voted on. No resolution or ordinance on this issue is expected at that meeting.