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Council Deadlocked on Memorial Field

Members of the Washington Township Council voted on both sod and artificial turf at their meeting Monday, but neither motion passed.

A solution for the problems at has not yet been picked, despite votes for re-sodding or installing artificial turf during the Washington Township Council's meeting Monday night.

Residents have been , which has netting sticking through its surface from the last time it was sodded. Re-sodding the field would, along with other necessary work, cost about $150,000 and last between four and six years before needing to be replaced, according to township engineer Paul Azzolina. It would likely be cheaper to replace in the future once the netting had been removed. Switching to artificial turf is estimated to cost $3.2 million, and members of the township recreation board said it would not need to be replaced for at least 15 years.

After a lengthy discussion at the meeting about Memorial and Sherry Fields, Councilman Fred Goetz motioned to bond for $150,000 to pay for the removal of old sod, installation of the new sod and repairs to the drainage system at Memorial Field. The the field came in at about $111,000, and council members decided to pursue a slightly higher bid from the same contractor for better-quality sod that could be used "almost immediately" after it is installed, according to Azzolina. The council had included only $40,000 for the project in the annual budget.

"We should make it safe right now," Goetz said.

Goetz, along with Council Vice President Joseph D'Urso and Council President Richard Hrbek voted in favor of re-sodding. Councilmen Steve Cascio and Glenn Beckmeyer voted against. Four affirmative votes were needed to pass the motion.

Beckmeyer then motioned to bond for $3.2 million to pay for artificial turf and new lights at Memorial Field. He and Cascio voted in favor of the plan. Hrbek, D'Urso and Goetz voted against.

"I'm a big fan of the artificial surface," Cascio said. "I think it's going to pay for itself down the road."

D'Urso cited the high cost of the project as a concern. Officials also spoke about a costly road repaving plan and other capital expenses at the meeting.

"To me, $3 million is way to much money to spend right now," D'Urso said.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Leggate at JMLeggate@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

B@B June 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Does anyone know if the field on Hillsdale Avenue in Hillsdale (near the 7-11) is turf or grass? If it's grass, then I have to ask why Hillsdale is able to effectively use sod and the Township is not.
James Leggate June 25, 2012 at 01:06 PM
B@b- If you mean the field across the street from the middle school, that's grass.
B@B June 25, 2012 at 04:11 PM
OK, so why can they keep their field nice and WT can't? Or are they deliberately neglecting it because the rec contingency desperately wants fake grass?
oldmanwtp June 25, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Hillsdale doesn't practice on that field. it is for games only . Deliberately neglecting? Really B@B.
Mr Kim June 26, 2012 at 02:27 AM
no, but i agree BOB...they are playing this up for sure.....somehow grass has been good for most everybody else's field for the last 50 plus years.....but now, since other towns have turf...the sports people want it too....forget about education, arts, culture, music....SPORTS must have what they want at any cost...makes us sick!

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