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Turf Fields on Agenda at Commissioners Meeting

Commissioners were scheduled to introduce a capital improvements ordinance with money to install a turf field at the high school.

A capital improvement ordinance including $397,000 for the installation of a turf field on a borough-owned parcel adjacent to the Haddonfield Memorial High School Campus was scheduled to be introduced Tuesday at a regular borough commissioners meeting.

The funds are part of a $1.03 million capital improvement budget that will also repair roads and improve the front of the Municipal Hall at 242 Kings Highway East. The meeting was at the Municipal Hall.

The turf field issue has been a lightning rod for criticism and debate. The commissioners and the borough school board approved a plan last year to fund half of the just over $1 million cost to install two artificial turf fields at the high school. The other half was raised by the Let's Turf It committee which solicited private donations. The group announced it had raised over $600,000 last fall. Turf will also be installed at the high school football stadium.

The ordinance Tuesday only covered the borough's portion of the cost. The funds include $365,000, plus an additional $22,000 for estimated fees for engineers and other professionals.

Borough engineers from Remington & Vernick were also scheduled to give a presentation Tuesday on their work with similar turf fields and related maintenance concerns.

Despite the inclusion of the turf money in the capital-improvements budget, the commissioners still have not decided if the turf project will be paid for with  borrowed money or by using some of about $600,000 it has already collected from an open-space trust fund tax. The trust fund had been earmarked for the purchase of open-space on the 19.2-acre Bancroft parcel on Kings Highway East next to the high school, but a referendum on a public purchase of the land was defeated in January.

During a work session meeting last week, the commissioners discussed using 25% of the $600,000 for the turf project and using the remainder for another open-space or active-recreation purchase in the borough.

The public hearing on the capital-improvement ordinance will be held next month before a final vote on the measure.

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debbie b February 27, 2013 at 08:12 PM
you have your sources, I have mine. no need to get nasty. I realized I mis-called it astro turf. Thank you for correcting it to artifical turf, guess I am just showing my age - which isn't quite senior yet.
Scott February 27, 2013 at 08:13 PM
1. Then why hasn't the government yanked them if they are such a health risk? I think for everything you read on the internet, there are studies that disprove it. 2. They are not generally reviled in fact they are generally liked and valued by the users. I see more injuries on uneven muddy fields than on turf and have first hand experience to back that up. I'm on these fields all the time and have never found them to be an issue for dehydration or overheating. 3. The town has open space funds but may find it better to finance part of it. 4. The Eagles played at the Vet on Turf and now play at the Linc on Turf. What is your point? Do you not realize that this generation of mix- turf is completely superior and different to the "astro"Turf of the 70's. Compare apples to apples please.
debbie b February 27, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I think I would rather have all the sidewalks repaired so that people can walk through the entire borough without navigating uneven walkways. And have the town pay for the sidewalks rather than individual homeowners. I think that would be a great use of town dollars.
Mrs. Silance Nogud February 27, 2013 at 08:18 PM
1. Not true. If anything they are environmentally net neutral. 2. Not true. Vet stadium's turf was first generation, and sucked. Now many teams use next generation turf, and many teams have removed their natural turf and replaced it with next generation turf. 3. So you're saying that all capital exopenditures need to be paid with current cash flows? Sewers, streets, buildings? 4. So if any entity in the town wants to have a capital improvement, they need to raise the money themselves? OK, the police can raise their own money for new cars and body armor, If you want your street repaved you need to raise the funds from your neigbors, if you want to have a mathematics class the students who take math must pay for that class. Seniors should hold a car wash if they want their property tax relief, or senior center.
Mrs. Silance Nogud February 27, 2013 at 08:20 PM
My sidewalks are fine. Why should I have to pay for yours?
Joe Taxpayer February 27, 2013 at 08:20 PM
You want sources? Are you aware that the NJDEP, hardly an enemy of the environment, runs the state Green Acres program and they regularly pay for artificial turf fields? Here is just one example. http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/secaucus/index.ssf?/base/news-0/13034544099650.xml&coll=3
debbie b February 27, 2013 at 08:20 PM
just talking artifical turf. that's all. just the turf.
debbie b February 27, 2013 at 08:24 PM
wow - that's all i can say is wow.
debbie b February 27, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I'm bored with this thread. the field costs money. Does the town have the money? is it the best use of the money ?
Mrs. Silance Nogud February 27, 2013 at 08:43 PM
So are you saying that you now admit the absurdity and hypocrisy of your argument?
Scott February 27, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Me also. Yes and Yes.
Scott February 27, 2013 at 08:51 PM
We all know that the homeowner is responsible for the upkeep of his/her sidewalks. Not sure the point here.
Susan Hoch MD February 27, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Joe, One of the three samples that R and V brought to the Commissioners' meeting was indeed Astrotruf. not the Atroturf of the 70's. But clearly Astroturf.
Joe Taxpayer February 28, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Yes Sue I know the company Astroturf is still around. However, the leading product out there is FieldTurf. Check out some of their recent news stories http://www.fieldturf.com/en/artificial-turf/artificial-turf-news I think the context in which debbie d was referencing astroturf was relative to the old Vet and generically as in kleenex or xerox refers to a tissue or a copy. In any event, R&V will spec out the proper field materials and any bidder will need to meet the minimum standard they set. My concern with R&V is what experience do they have with the products on the market?
J March 01, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Joe T: Thanks for your condescending point of view. Do you think that it’s appropriate to criticize others views just to get your point across? I prefer to use my own words, because they are more powerful than criticism. In regards to the open space referendum question, I hoped that the leaders of our town would use those funds for projects that ALL the Towns people, not just the youth soccer teams, could enjoy. I would have liked to see walking trails and parks, or actual CONSERVATION of open space with this money. A turf field and parking lots are not truly open spaces for all to enjoy. Better yet, since would could use the money for “maintenance of existing Borough owned historic properties”, such as the library, maybe we could use those funds to bring the library into compliance and make it a nice place for young & old to enjoy? But kicking a ball around takes precedence to books and education in this town. I can’t wait to see all the professional soccer and football players we are going to produce in Haddonfield because of this turf!
Scott March 01, 2013 at 03:24 PM
J. We had the opportunity to use these funds for Bancroft but our borough voted against it. We could have had the open space park/trails etc that you described that you desired. Bancroft would have been more than a few more athletic fields. Did you not see the wide open space that was left for that purpose on the map? Did you not see the extensive hiking trail that you could have used (along with the cross country team)? I would love a few more parking spots at the high school and imagine that the neighbors would love not to have their streets overcrowded in the evenings when we go to a band concert or basketball game at the high school because there is nowhere to park. Athletic programs in this town are not about producing pro athletes. I think you know that. Take all that away and what are you left with? Move to Camden and you will find out. There is a direct correlation between fitness and education. http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/02/28/17121027-smart-jocks-fit-kids-do-better-on-math-reading-tests?lite Is there any other space and town that we can preserve? I don't know of any. And by the way the vision of Bancroft wasn't just for athletic fields. Most of the future vision was open for discussion and available to meet our needs into the future.I think it would have been a great place for Young and Old to enjoy as you say. By the way, you have walking trails at Crows woods to enjoy. That space was preserved by the vision of our town years ago.
Susan Hoch MD March 01, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Comment to J and Scott. Agree with most of what J said. Scott - you and the others seem to think that opposing turf fields means opposing athletics. I have a broader vision of athletics than you apparently do. Field sports are only a small facet of fitness activities and they are rarely played by most adults throughout their lifetime. In contrast, sports like tennis, swimming, skiing, ice skating, weight lifting and fitness, karate, judo, track and basketball are lifetime physical activities. I haven't seen any of the turf posters talk about fixing the track or getting the tennis courts or the basketball court at Radnor replaced after they were allowed to deteriorate and then torn out. Athletics and fitness are very important for our kids and for our adults as well. I have yet to see a suggestion that fully incorporates this. By the way, one of my suggestions for Bancroft was a community indoor pool and fitness center. I would have voted for the Bancroft bond if that was going to be considered and I bet others would have as well. That could have been used by the whole community, not just by some of the 13 to 17 population.
Joe Taxpayer March 01, 2013 at 03:36 PM
J, you are welcome. If you only wanted "CONSERVATION" you should have voted NO like you probably did on Bancroft. If you want more trails or parks, raise $600,000 and then ask for the fund to pay the rest like the others have. Thanks for the condescending comment about kids playing pro sports as if a turf field that is not impacted by weather and allows greater use and flexibility for kids/adults to play on, exercise and have fun is such a bad thing. And to think it only costs a few hundred K of the $60,000,000 a year in taxes paid yet provides numerous benefits.
Susan Hoch MD March 01, 2013 at 03:44 PM
My last comment for the day on Turf. I suggested at the Commissioners' meeting that they emulatethe town of Irvington, New Jersey and get Stadium Field funded by Energy in the Bank. Energy in the Bank, based in East Stroudsberg, placed solar panels on the school roof and paid the 2 million dollar costs for their multi-sport field track and field facility, six lane track and field facility and bleachers. The taxpayers paid nothing. Energy in the Bank then gets the electricity and the high school even gets a rebate on their electric costs. What's not to like about this? If it is good enough for Irvington, it's good enough for me here in Haddonfield. Why are we not doing this? I asked the Commissioners to speak with Energy in the Bank and to call Irvington officials to ask about how to do this. You would think that they would have considered this to save money AND acquire a new turf field (as well as maybe a track).
Scott March 01, 2013 at 03:44 PM
I only think you guys oppose athletics when you say you oppose athletics. Read the posts. As far as you go Susan, I think you have a very limited view of athletics and feel that only certain sports benefit you for a lifetime. I know many adults who to this day play soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball, softball, rugby, flag football as a means to stay fit and active. All of the sports you mention are also ideal for adult fitness. And given that the programs in this town (and others) start at age 4 in many cases you need to up your population to age 4 to adult. Maybe you should have started a group to raise funds to fix up the Radnor facility like a group did over at Lizzy Haddon when the basketball area was falling apart. The initial plan for Bancroft did not include a pool but if we tagged on everything that could have been there you all most certainly would have balked at the price. There was a vision for Bancroft that included another field and parking but also laid open the opportunity for us to develop it as needed. Open space, technology center or maybe even a pool. But we shot down that vision and possibility. As far as the track at the high school... It is not that old and is deteriorating in part because of bad installation. No money was set aside to fix it because we are trying to get the vendor to own up to their responsibility and faulty installation. Until that is resolved it would be unwise for us to spend money on it.
Scott March 01, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Funny thing is, when I went online searching for this article. I noticed from GoogleEarth and BingMaps that no such field exists (see attached) and that this Energy in the Bank doesn't even mention the project on their website: http://www.energyinthebank.com/projects.asp Not sure if it all fell through, but it hasn't happened yet. They do have a new turf field that the County put in the local park (Irvington Park), but that's about it. And, oh yeah, that field is right smack in the middle of a grove of trees. Not sure why there are no solar fields to pay for it. BTW where would you recommend we install a solar field?
Joe Taxpayer March 01, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Certainly worth exploring any ways to reduce costs and I applaud your efforts to suggest them. Do you know if they did that deal before the Srec market fell apart? Regarding turf costs, out of a $1M or so cost, 60% has already been fundraised. The open space fund can easily pay the debt service on the balance. I think it is time to move on from projects that have NO additional cost and focus on the root causes of spending and high taxes.
Scott March 01, 2013 at 03:58 PM
And we can't have a full size track or field because we are limited by our neighbor and their property line. A neighbor that could have been us but will instead remain Bancroft.
Susan Hoch MD March 01, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Follow up to Scott. I just got off the phone with Danielle Seldomridge the Director of Development for Energy in the Bank. She confirmed that the field in Irvington was not completed as scheduled for the fall of 2012. I agree that is a concern but could be looked into. On the other hand she states that they work with Landtek and are still interestted in doing business in New Jersey because the solar power market there is not saturated. I will be forwarding her information to Commissioner Borden and will bring it up at the B of E meeting.
Scott March 01, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Sounds great. I'm all for deferring costs and certainly alternative energy. I'd still like to know where we would you recommend we install these panels. What is it? Half acre, 1 acre? Perhaps over the parking area at Bancroft? Oh yeah.......
Susan Hoch MD March 01, 2013 at 04:15 PM
I believe Energy in the Bank uses solar panels on roofs. This might be a way to pay to get the roof on the high school fixed where it needs fixing. I am not saying this is absolutely the way to go but I am disturbed that neither the Commissioners nor the Board of Education appears to have considered this. I found this just by googling artificial turf. They could have done the same.
Scott March 01, 2013 at 04:28 PM
You should call the borough to see what committee you can join that would give you a chance to spearhead this. Did you suggest this to them early last year when this all came up? I just googled "artificial turf" and this doesn't come up. I guess you will have to act rather than complaining and being disturbed.
Susan Hoch MD March 01, 2013 at 04:37 PM
No, I was occupied with other issues and was not involved in town issues. I became involved in the fall when a friend called me to speak about the Bancroft bond issue. It is possible that it came up when I was googling turf field or some other permutation. I have emailed the contact information on the Director of Development to Ed Borden and when I find Jeff Kasko's email, I will send it to him as well.
Joe Taxpayer March 01, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Sue, thank you for following up on this and sharing it with the officials.
Scott March 01, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Yes thank you. Please keep us posted as you follow up on this.

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