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Residents Urge Officials to Make Decision for Memorial Field

Washington Township council members said they need to investigate other options and consider the costs of other needed maintenance projects before making a commitment.

Washington Township officials said they need more time to consider their options before making a commitment to install artificial turf at , upsetting residents who have been pushing for the change.

Residents began asking for artificial turf when they found renting fields at the would cost more than $20,000 for the spring, though Memorial Field has had problems for more than 10 years. Netting from old sod sticks up through the ground, creating a potential hazard for anyone playing sports on the field, according to township residents Eamonn Twomey and Scott Spezial, who to artificial turf during a council meeting in March.

Since then, two landscape architects have for Memorial and other township fields and members of the recreation board have to officials, but no decision has been made.

"We just want a vote," Twomey said. "We want to know whether we're moving forward or not."

Councilman Glenn Beckmeyer made a motion at Monday's council meeting to bond for $2.5 million to pay for improvements to the field, but no council members seconded the motion. Instead, the council voted to put out notice for bids to re-sod the field, though a previous attempt yielded no bids. The council included $40,000 in for the project.

Council Vice President Joseph D'Urso said this year would be a good time to do the project because the township's debt load is decreasing by about $400,000 next year.

"The numbers show that we could do it, but there's a lot of other issues," D'Urso said.

There are numerous projects that also need to be done, according to council members. The DPW needs a new garage and salt shed, the fire department may need renovations and many township streets need to be repaved. The various projects could cost between $1 million and $5 million, according to Council President Richard Hrbek.

"It's like getting your income tax check back," Hrbek said. "Do you put in the built-in pool that you really want and your family would love you for, or do you fix your boiler that's 25 years old?"

Twomey said there was no reason undertaking the other projects should mean the township could not improve Memorial Field.

Hrbek said he agrees something needs to be done to improve Memorial Field, but there may be a more cost-effective solution than putting in artificial turf.

"The decision where you're the hero might not be the best decision for the town," Hrbek said.

Lauren Rinaldi May 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM
With 3 young children, a job and other activities I will make time for the meeting because I am concerned.... If you are taking the time to post on here and do all the research on how bad turf is why would you bother if u can't give an hour of your time to attend a meeting???? It seems pretty important to you steve until now when you have to show your face at a meeting. That's the problem...
Steve Kohlreiter May 15, 2012 at 07:43 PM
If it were an hour I would try and find the time. I've been to a couple of council meetings and they can go on for hours without knowing when your turn to speak. I have a 92 year old Alzhemers patient(mother in law) living here. When I'm not working I need to help my wife. Haven't been in vacation for 6 years. If I had time I
Jeffrey Tammen May 15, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Years ago when I played baseball, football and later years softball the field all ways has grass and some weeds lol but the soil was tough and you had a deep rooted grass yrs later in 92 or so they decided to add many tandem truck truck loads of fill and top soil . They flattened the left side of the hill and when it rains it all goes down hill to the which has bad drainage.the aprox life on turf is 10 yrs and that could change due to usage,also some soft cost would be maint each yr such as sweeping to raise the turf also if geese poo on it needs washing and normal repars. Avg cost aft ten yrs is aprox 375,000 for a 178,000sqft field and that's now prices not ten yrs from now.I agree field is in bad shape but there are other capital improvements that are worse .we must look at all options some stadiums have reall grass and are built into big squares they go together when one goes bad you change it .the cowboys entire field is like that .and it's just a few yrs old and if the town would televise the meetings the busy parents who are working 1 or 2 jobs could dvr it and follow the progress and decide when to go to meeting
Steve Kohlreiter May 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Just a suggestion. Get someone with balls in Town hall and negotiate with School supt Zoeller. Talk to the Knights of Columbus in town, they have a gorgous field in the back hardly used. Make em an offer to use while Memorial Field is fixed or whatever. Even if the artificial turf passes, there must be some down time to convert so they will need alternatives anyway.
Jeffrey Tammen May 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Town has land up and end of Kennedy dr could make new field. We have land back behind spice dr could make park and field how about buying acres of property up on van emburgh which ties into Kennedy dr land Plenty of room for field and parking


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