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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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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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