Station Park Field to get turf Price tag: $775,000

| 10 Aug 2016 | 12:40

By Gretchen van Nuys
– In a move that took some by surprise, the Township Council passed a bond ordinance during Tuesday night’s meeting to install turf on an existing township playing field.
Township Manager William Close described the planned field — Field 3 at Station Park — as a multi-purpose facility with lights that will provide space for all sports.
Ordinance 16-15 will appropriate $775,000 and will authorize the issuance of $475,000 bonds or notes, with the remaining $300,000 coming from Open Space funds. The need for turf fields has been an issue in the township for several years, with the Board of Education trying unsuccessfully to get new turf fields by referendum in 2012 and 2013.
At Tuesday’s Township Council meeting, representatives from Sparta Soccer Club and the Sparta Board of Education, which were both also exploring the possibility of turf fields, told the council how shocked they were to learn about the proposed ordinance from a local newspaper story rather than hearing anything from the Council directly.
Jason Kellenberger, Travel VP for the Sparta Soccer Club, told the Council, “This came as a surprise to us, to see it just come up in the newspaper.”
Kellenberger said his club, which has over 600 youth members in its programs, had begun an investigation into a turf field, and based on resistance turf fields had faced in the past, his club was surprised that the township had an approved field already. He said that Sparta Soccer was thrilled that there will be a turf field, but was concerned that it won’t be adequate. One of Sparta Soccer’s concerns was whether the field would have lines. Councilman Gilbert Gibbs said that it would have lines, which would be painted each year based on the needs of that season.
Kelly McEvoy, who sits on the Board of Education and who is also Kellenberger’s wife, said to the Council, “Many of us on the Board of Ed were surprised to see this going forward,” adding that the board had been in the process of working on a similar project. “This is a huge endeavor that will cost the township a lot of money. We should be part of it,” she said.
Mayor Christine Quinn responded that the township’s field is not the same magnitude as what the Board of Education had explored in the past.
“This is on township property. We are not expanding the field; we are just expanding the use of the field,” she said, adding, “This field is intended for recreation programs -- it’s not conducive for hosting high school football games.”
Quinn said she was sure Township Manager Close and Superintendent of Schools Dennis Tobin would be in touch with each other about the project.
Councilman Joshua Hertzberg said the Township Council had been working on this project for the past six months. “We felt we had to get going and get this done,” he said.