Youth league football fans to tackle more parking competition

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

    Sparta - The competition has always been fierce for even the most-seasoned youth league football fans, but Sparta officials say a new synagogue and its congregation will now have the home-field advantage on a limited number of parking spaces behind Ungerman Field. The Chabad Jewish Center of Sussex County has received a site plan waiver from the township to house services in the former Dingmans Dairy facility near the jug handle at Woodport Road and Sparta Avenue. Township planner David Troast said the new house of worship, which has a congregation of about 20 members, has rights to 16 spaces on the property behind Ungerman Field, where parking is already at a premium during weekend football games in the fall. “There isn’t an issue,” said Troast. “If the football people park there, they will be parking illegally.” The youth football association, which dates back to 1953, has been pressing for improved accommodations in town with the advent of soaring participation, which has grown to include 635 local 7-13-year-old boys and girls that make up nine football teams and 19 cheerleading squads. Mayor Alish Hambel has said the township council will look into the matter. Troast said the football program could expect some parking relief when the Homeyer site on Sparta Avenue is renovated into a commercial office building. Bill Wilson, a longtime Sparta businessman and developer, has proposed facilitating 30 shared-parking spaces with the town on his property, which abuts the ambulance building. “There is a parking problem with night football,” said Troast. “This will provide a safer parking lot in a safe location to alleviate parking problems at Ungerman Field. Troast said the synagogue’s rabbi has plans to relocate to a larger facility if his congregation grows. The Dingmans Dairy building has a maximum capacity for 30 people. The congregation is currently using the ambulance building for worship. Up until now, the closest facilities for township Jews to worship were in Newton and Franklin.