Sound Off: Residents Take Their Positions on Turf Fields
Read what your neighbors had to say at Tuesday's hearing on turf fields. Then don't forget to share your own soundbite in the comments section.
Tuesday’s public hearing on whether Haddonfield should partially fund new turf fields drew a packed house to the normally sleepy borough commissioners meeting. With 30 residents speaking out for or against the project, and about 100 in attendance, there was plenty of passion to go around.
There were also more sound bites than could ever be included in one article. Now that you’ve read our recap of the meeting, hear more of your neighbors’ opinions on the turf project, why residents do and don’t support it, and some of their questions.
The comments here are presented in alphabetical order:
“The playing fields in Haddonfield are overused and in terrible shape. … Turf fields will be an investment that individuals at all levels and in different activities would greatly benefit from.”
Bob Bickel, Haddonfield head baseball coach, in a letter read by a resident
“I want to know why the other boards haven’t been consulted—the environmental commission, the planning board, the zoning board. … I’m not against the turf field, I’m against the policy and procedures of how it’s been produced.”
"I can comfortably say that our fields are somewhat embarrassing, extremely dangerous and among the worst in the state of New Jersey."
Frank DeLano, Haddonfield football coach
“We really do have the worst fields in the Colonial Conference. We probably have the worst fields in South Jersey.”
Joe Del Duca, head of fundraising for the Turf Field Committee
“It was heartbreaking. In my daughter's senior year (of field hockey), we made it to the state tournament and we lost that game 2-1. I am 100 percent sure had we had a turf field to play on more regularly, we would have beat that team. ... We're going to be constantly disadvantaged."
Maria Del Duca, former Haddonfield field hockey player and coach
“I’m questioning the summer usage with artificial turf in the summer heat. The last few summers have been pretty extraordinarily hot. You’re looking at 15-18 degrees higher on the turf, which seems to me would limit use of those fields.”
“We use these fields from mid-summer through Thanksgiving … After the second home football game, the field becomes very hard to march on as the grass has begun to wear and is replaced with a mud base that is slippery and accident prone.”
Chris Janney, Haddonfield Marching Band director
“If we do have project cost overruns, whose responsibility will it be?”
“When you play (at Centennial Field), you fall, you land on a rock and it hurts a lot. … Every year, we come out hoping for the best and get the worst.”
Alex Kadar, youth athlete
“I tore my ACL my playing football my freshman year at Haddonfield, my senior year at Haddonfield in football and my senior year at Haddonfield in baseball. Guess what I was playing on? Grass.”
“I pay my taxes just like everyone else does. I’ll take the hit for turf fields and I’ll take the hit again when it comes time to replace them.”
“Has the borough ever given 35 percent of the entire project cost toward the auditorium renovation? That’s another publicly used area that’s in dire need of repair.”
“Coming from a high school where we not only didn’t play on turf, but played on some of the poorest grass fields I’ve seen, I found myself having a slower start in college.”
Katie Welsh, 2011 HMHS graduate and field hockey player at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
“Last year, when my daughter graduated, it really hit me. I sat in the stands and looked down at the stadium and saw the entire graduating class and the board of ed sitting in dirt.”
Give use your own soundbite: Tell us in the comments whether you support the turf field project and why.