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Committee Members Split on Turf Field Plans

Four votes needed for town to go to bond.

While the three Republicans on the Township Committee are eager to pursue plans to fund and build a turf athletic field at , Democrats urged caution.

Republican Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady introduced the turf field into a discussion about the Recreation Department at the Township Committee’s goal setting meeting earlier this month. Shehady urged immediate action on the proposed field.

“Time is of the essence,” Shehady said. “It is realistic to have it operational for the fall sports season.

Dayton’s football team currently uses Union township’s athletic fields for its home football games. Shehady and his fellow Republicans said that Dayton football could play their 2012 home games at a home Turf field if they act fast.

“According to our engineer [Sam Mardini], it can be done if we move quickly,” Republican Deputy Mayor Jerry Fernandez said, adding that work would have to start in April or May.

Mardini said that the timeframe was realistic assuming the state’s Department of Environmental Protection grants necessary permits in a timely manner. He estimated building the turf field would take six to eight months.

Shehady said that four Township Committee members needed to vote in favor of the $3 million bond for the project. Judging from comments from the two Democrats on the five-person committee, the fourth vote is in doubt.

“I don’t feel comfortable bonding three plus million without a referendum showing the public is on board with it,” Democratic Committee member David Amlen said.

Democrat Rich Huber, the committee’s representative to the Recreation Committee,  said the town should look to neighboring Cranford as a model. Cranford recently installed a turf field with a combination of public and private funds.

“They charge teams to play on it,” Huber noted. He added that he was unsure about the turf field, and that he would know where he stood by the next meeting.

Plans for building a turf field at Jonathan Dayton High School have been proposed for several years. The project gained momentum at the end of 2010 beginning of 2011 when the Springfield School Board agreed to a with the township government wherein the BOE turned over land to the Township Committee to be sold to partially pay for the field.

Amlen characterized the actions as hasty and said that more investigation was needed.

“Prior to when I joined the committee, there was a rush to judgment on this issue,” he said.

The Democrat majority , citing numerous legal complications for the land swap arrangement. 

“We wanted to find out if it could be done before we put it in front of the public and make false promises,” Amlen said. 

Leila February 22, 2012 at 02:18 PM
2011 write ups http://www.oregonlive.com/argus/index.ssf/2011/08/artificial_turf_problems_at_li.html "In a work session, board members heard an update on two troublesome artificial turf soccer fields at Liberty High School. The east field has been closed to use for the last year due to safety concerns. The field has developed 100-150 small “potholes.” A second field, the west field, is beginning to develop similar potholes".
Leila February 22, 2012 at 02:27 PM
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_18539681 "This is totally wrong," Urban said. "You rip out grass and put in plastic?"
Leila February 22, 2012 at 02:39 PM
2011 http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/blog/article-should-consider-dangers-of-metals-in-soccer-fields "An article in the San Francisco Chronicle describes the results of a recent study, which suggests that artificial playing fields – made from recycled tires – are safe for children. This level of safety was determined solely because the fields harbor fewer bacteria than normal grass fields, a concern posed by concerned citizens. Yet scientists report that the air around artificial turf fields contains "volatile organic compounds" and lead and other heavy metals.The article goes on to say that the "presence of these toxins was so low that no public health concern was identified." In fact, for many heavy metals – including lead – there is no safe level of exposure. Even incredibly low levels of lead have been shown to affect development of the brain and nervous system. Children and developing fetuses are sensitive to heavy metals and permanent damage can occur after exposure. While only 20 percent of the lead that enters the body in food is absorbed, the majority of lead that is inhaled will enter the bloodstream. Therefore, even small amounts of lead in the air around playing fields should not be ignored. Heavy metal exposures are a serious concern for children, and the exposures should be reduced as much as possible".
Leila February 22, 2012 at 02:58 PM
What do you mean you're worried about Hepatitis? OMG! Read the requirements for children in the state of NJ. You said you were a healthcare professional? I am scared! Children are required to have them if they want to attend school. http://www2a.cdc.gov/nip/schoolsurv/schImmRqmtReport.asp
Rita McNany February 22, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Lelia, Just because you are vaccinated against Hepatitis, you can stilll contract it, just like with Chicken Pox. Please let's not over exaggerate these issues.
rfriedman February 22, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Lelia, I think we get your point, you're against the turf field because of environmental and health concerns. There are a lot of things that can be debated pro and con, but what I'm still waiting for is an explanation of the financial cost to us as taxpayers from start to finish. I read the mayor's post and I didn't see anything about ongoing maintenance and who's going to pay for that. I didn't see who is in charge of the field so that all the recreation groups will have equal access to the field and not just school sports. I don't have the same concerns you and like the idea of a turf field but I do want to know all the details before our elected officials vote on this. We're not voting, only them and not all of us can or do go to the TC meetings. With so many different opinions about this it would be nice if all the information was put on line for the public and not just some of it.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Wow, Mr. Dzikowski, this is not about being an 'idiot', but about having all the knowlege and not ignoring those red flags! For those who continue to say that there are no health risks factors associated with an artificial turf, I wish they would get more information and not look away from the evidence. We have all read alot about drinking and driving and how many people are still doing it? Campaigns up the woozoo, both on TV, in print and school, right? A person who continues to drive after multiple DUIs, thinking he will defy all odds and never hurt anyone or himself, can explain it away. But, the day he accidently hurts someone he’d wish he had at least given some thought about all the warnings of dangers of drinking and driving. That is all the people who oppose the turf field are asking, a chance to really understand and be sure that what the proponents are saying is correct.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 03:47 PM
rfriedan, I too have many questions about the financial end of it, and it is part of my postings. The reality is that Springfield has not done an adequate job in the upkeeping of any of its fields, and this is not some made up argument, it is a fact. They even say what a mess all the fields are, so my question is why? And yes, if you read parts of my postings, you will see that the upkeep of an artificial turf is high! It does need to be watered, so we will waste water. It needs special attention from trained professionals. How much will that cost us and who will do it? Thank you for bringing that point up for discussion.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 03:54 PM
http://www.stdservices.on.net/std/hepatitis_b/facts.htmResults of vaccination "You will be protected against hepatitis B infection. If you come into contact with the hepatitis B virus, you will not become unwell, nor will you become a carrier of the virus". You will not be protected against hepatitis C virus, hepatitis A virus, HIV, or any other sexually transmitted infection
Leila February 22, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Rita: I was NOT the one who brought up Hepatites! Springfield Mom, a/k/a The Infection Control Department for a major hospital did. She said: "P.S. I would be more concerned with the many children and adults who have not been inoculated for hepatitis "A" and "B" and the many people who travel back and forth to foreign countries. Some countries have very high rates of "TB". TB can go undetected and many people are carriers of TB and helatitis along with AIDS". Oh, great! now we have to worry about the person next to us too! LOL
Lawrence Dvorchik February 22, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Wouldn;t logic dictate that no major reconstruction or repairs be done (especially at a $3M clip) without fixing the infrstructure and drainage issues of the current site? I'm sorry, but I have to believe that TC and Pro-Turf members are smart enough to figure that out.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Mr. Dvorchik, I have read many comments as to the engineer told us at the meeting, if you were at the meeting, the cost will only be $39, it won't cost anything to taxpayers, it is safe because we say so... I think those who really are rallying for it, should respond with specific and answer the person who is asking the question, not say the person is silly, stop posting, posting outdated information, bringing up diseases to scare people, etc. It's an attack on someone who is truly trying to understand every aspect of the project, in a way that it leaves very little room for anything to go wrong. Not answering and telling us to look up the information is like saying they don't know how to verbalize it, and that worries me even more, because then it confirms that maybe they don't really understand it enough to make a decision in the first place.
Bob F. February 22, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Just ran across these posts and can't believe the amount of false information on here. Clearly most people posting the negative comments about the field didn't go to the last meeting. There is nothing wrong with an opinion on either side but Posting false information to scare people is just horrible. The people that are coming out of the woodwork saying it is a health issue amaze me the most because kids in Springfield have been playing on these types of fields for years and I never heard any complaints about that. The financial people i understand the concern but go to the next meeting and get answers rather than making assumptions based on what is written on here. I think you'll find the information very helpful and alleviate most of your concerns. I am comfortable that the field will be built properly and will help with the drainage issues that you currently have in that spot. The plan will include ne drainage under the field where as today there is nothing.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Bob F., what FALSE INFORMATION are you referring to? Anyone who is posting, especially those who are posting with QUOTATION marks and cite reliable sources that backs up the information given, is posting legitimate information, unless of course, people are thinking that there is some type of conspiracy against the artificial turf industry, which is incredibly ABSURD! You people are the ones who don't post anything BUT attacks on those who legitimately want to know the whole story and question the project! Why don't you guys start posting responses instead of attacks.
Bob F. February 22, 2012 at 06:58 PM
LOL - Leila, like I said in my post about posting things inaccurately, You would fall into that category since you want it pointed out, but I think most people already figured that out. Again you can be against the field, that is fine, not everyone will want it I fully understand that. Your post above to Mr. Dvorchik again is false information. You state it will cost $39 ( I assume sarcasm) and no cost to taxpayers. What was said IF the entire $3.4M was spent it would cost $39 per year in taxes. But it was also discussed about a few things that can be done to help pay for the field and would also reduce the cost per taxpayer since the entire bond would need need to be spent. Leila - You will never be convinced to be for the field wich is fine. You believe you are correct and will always have a doom and gloom view of the project regardless of how much information you look at. I don't have all day to sit on here and debate with people so agree to disagree and good luck in shutting down the 100,000 plus turf fields that are out there.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM
It's all good Bob F.! LOL I am beginning to find it quite amuzing, especially when someone calls another a puppet! It insensitive! It is disturbing - http://springfield.patch.com/articles/turf-field-bond-ordinance-passes-first-vote and I know Mr. Shehady wrote this on his website, but you will argue that he ONLY meant the 'average' or the 'lowest' appraisal: "A bond is like a loan. The Township pays an initial down payment followed by annual debt service payments to pay for the principal and interest. Because of Springfield’s remarkable credit, we can benefit from extremely low interest rates. This bond will not result in a $3.4 million change to the 2012 municipal budget affecting municipal taxes. To get an understanding of the bond implications, a debt repayment schedule has been prepared assuming a principal of $3.4 million over a payback period of 15 years at an interest rate of 2.5%. The impact to an average assessment of $155,000 is $39.00 a year."
Bob F. February 22, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Leila, in response to your comment at 1:40. I haven't seen any attacks from the Pro turf people. The only attacks I saw were from the people against it, as they attacked the children and parents that were at the meeting on here. This is what I did, I was unsure about the project and the costs as many people are. I went to the meeting prepared to ask questions. I listened to an engineer make a very good presentation which answered almost all of my questions. I then listened to many people speak which answered the rest of my questions so I didn't even have to ask a question. I went in with an open mind and was able to come to my opinion. I have also done a lot of research on my own and am comfortable with the plan in place by the TC, working together on this with the BOE, DEP, Engineering. I am not into politics at all but I was even more pleased to see an individual on the TC have a similar view as I did at the beginning of the meeting, but kept an open mind throughout the meeting and lean towards making the field a reality at the end. The TC needs to work together on all projects and forget what party each other are from. I encourage everyone to so the same and whatever your opinion is should be respected.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Bob F., I am sorry to inform you that you are not accurate about attacks. No one who is questioning this project has called anyone who is pro a name, but if you see the link included on my previous post, that the the Patch wrote regarding a BOE meeting, you will see how they quote of a board member calling someone a 'puppet', so your statement "I haven't seen any attacks from the Pro turf people" is not accurate. You may not have seen/read, but it has happened.
Bob F. February 22, 2012 at 07:45 PM
LOL - agreed a couple people at the meeting were out of line. I was referring to posts which I now regret reading and getting involved in this.
Leila February 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Ok Bob F.! See I am trying very hard to stay with the facts and that is why I try my vest best to show where I get my information from, even if people don't agree with it, they can see that it is NOT MADE UP!!
Bob F. February 22, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I do see that Leila - What I found is that it is like most other things in the world today. It is can be good for you but it could kill you. One scientist will say something is good and another will say that it is bad. My conclusions with the field were based on the DEP and the Consumer Protection group and I believe that it is very safe. Most studies were outdated and old and referred to the astro turf of the past. Mike above lists many of the studies from Penn State which is now a leader in synthetic turf studies.
Michael A Dzikowski February 23, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Leila everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and its obvious what yours is - its just the way you go about it posting the same old articles ( 28 times in 2 days !..really?) It's almost like you weren't at the meeting or read anybodys else responses...like your articles are correct and theirs are a lie...I think they did an excellent job at the meeting answering your questions - but you continue to disregard responses...everyone appreciates people bringing up concerns when children are involved ... I bet close to 90% (and no Leila I don't have proof) of the people who are in favor of the turf field have children..my confusion with many is what is their real concern - is it really the health concerns or is it the $40 per year that it may cost ? Yes there are a great deal of things that we could do in this town with more money - then lets do it - lets do another $3mm bond and add $40 more a year to our taxes - at $80 per year ( less than it cost to fill my gas tank)would you be in favor of that?I think I know the answer - forget the FACT that the BOE funds couldn't be used for half of the suggestions made (You surely most of known that "little" detail) -This by no means, is saying that those other ideas are not important, they truly are, but like many have said,we are in a tough economy and the better deal is to spend this money with rates at historic lows,funds from the BOE, and the revenue that this field would generate (sponsorships,home games,tourneys,donations)
Michael A Dzikowski February 23, 2012 at 05:45 AM
oh yeah I forgot for you Leila - can't fit it all - but you can find it yourself ---I DID NOT PRINT IT ALL--- Human health issues on synthetic turf in the USA (Take a look at the date!!!) MUST READ ENTIRE ARTICLE T J Serensits, A S McNitt and D M Petrunak Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology published online 13 June 2011 As the popularity of infilled synthetic turf continues to increase, concerns over potentially negative impacts on the health of field users have arisen. One of the main health issues on synthetic turf fields is high surface temperature, which can contribute to physic- logical stress of athletes and can cause serious heat-related illnesses. At The Pennsylvania State University, various methods to reduce surface temperatures have been evaluated including irrigation Another issue that has received attention is the possibility of athletes contracting bacterial skin infections, specifically those caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Infilled synthetic turf has been targeted as a potential source for harboring S. aureus bacteria. A survey of 20 infilled synthetic turf fields was conducted to determine microbial population and presence of S. aureus bacteria. S. aureus colonies were not found to be present on any field; however, S. aureus colonies were found on other tested surfaces, including blocking pads, used towels, and weight equipment.
Michael A Dzikowski February 23, 2012 at 05:48 AM
MORE For Leila-Skin infections associated with contact with synthetic turf have received national media attention in the USA. S. aureus is a common bacterium found on human skin and in the nasal cavity that can cause various types of skin and soft tissue infections In most cases, the presence of this bacterium causes few serious problems and often goes unnoticed; however, antibiotic-resistant strains can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, health complications. Outbreaks of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) have resulted in the temporary closing of school buildings and athletic facilities while the facilities are cleaned Infilled synthetic turf surfaces have been implicated as potentially harboring S. aureus bacterium although no scientific evidence has been published to support such a claim . However, the concern may be war- ranted as S. aureus has been shown to survive on various synthetic materials for up to 40 days Although no scientific evidence shows high levels of S. aureus on synthetic turf ...Both studies concluded that turf burns caused by synthetic turf could facilitate skin infection through person-to-person contact; however, neither study suggested that the players contracted the infection directly from the synthetic turf. Kazakova et al. and Begier et al.each implicated poor sanitary conditions in locker rooms and training facilities together with physical contact between players as the most likely causes for the outbreaks.
Michael A Dzikowski February 23, 2012 at 05:49 AM
MORE-It should be remembered that microbes tend to be present on most surfaces that humans come into contact with and the simple presence of microbes should not be cause for concern. In fact, many products on the market claim to boost the microbial populations of natural turf-grass soils with higher microbial populations considered to be beneficial and a functioning microbial system essential...Based on the findings of the S. aureus survey, concern that infilled synthetic turf harbors and provides a breeding ground for S. aureus bacteria is unwarranted within the context of this study. S. aureus bacteria were found on a number of surfaces that athletes commonly come into contact with, such as towels and blocking pads; however, the tested synthetic turf did not contain any S. aureus. It is important to note that synthetic turf is more abrasive than natural turf grass and, as a result, breaks in the skin are more common, creating a pathway for Infection when in contact with an infected surface. BEST INFO YOU CAN OBTAIN AT LEAST AS FAR AS DATE -JUNE 2011 Good night and hope that helps Lelia - Hey Lelia do you know anyone that has a child at Oratory ? They Just got a Turf Field a few years ago - wonder how their parents felt about that ?
Leila February 23, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Mr. Dzikowski, No where in any of my postings have I called anyone a liar. I have only replied with information that has been factual and not an opinion as you so say. My aim is not to offend anyone, only to find out information and have a true discussion. Project 2012 - Why? "Past politicians spew rhetoric but lack bold and courageous leadership..." what does that mean? Why would this be an introduction to a proposal of a turf field? Is accusing people of incompetence a nice thing to do? "Springfield residents deserve better and I will not settle for less"... come again? at whose expenses?..."we will fall behind our counterparts"? Who are these people we are falling behind from? ...."a desire by several hundred residents has been shown for the project"... I have seen the petition and it looks at best a couple of hundred but it would be nice to see the paper/actual. "Public schools are in fierce competition with private schools"... - oh, no! are you kidding me? Public schools have a bigger budget than private schools! "As of 2008, there were over 150 turf fields installed in NJ"... Where are these fields? Public schools or parks? What?? Who are the 2 towns adjacent to us that don't have turf? ..."half of the school districts in the County have a turf"... which ones?
Leila February 23, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Now, please give me the drum rolls for this one: the report goes on saying that Springfield does not even have its own most basic athletic complex... our fields are unable to meet the demand and lack the most basic necessities for sports events, our fields all require more attention by engineers than they have been receiving, to inspire excellence in sports kids should be given a sports complex, hundreds of people are leaving Springfield and they go to neighboring communities; the field will bring business to the downtown - What? Are these kids playing all year round? What happens in the off season? Where does the information about people leaving Springfield because of its field conditions come from? The BOE spends $100K annually on field maintenance, then how come the fields are a mess? Where are the engineers that will be working on the new turf field? Are we hiring new ones, because from the wording of the report the ones we have currently aren't doing the job? And if they are staying on board, how can we trust they will do the job?
Leila February 23, 2012 at 06:13 AM
"Springfield Environmental Commission has not formally evaluated the project to be able to draw any conclusions"... is it nice to discredit them? What is being accomplished here? Yet, the report says that Ridgewood has conducted 'themselves with the utmost professionalism"... has Springfield formally met with Ridgewood? And why? OMG, this is so disheartening! but what, Springfield Environmental Commission hasn't handle themselves in a professional manner? Everyone keeps on saying they are sure the turf is safe! But, has anyone actually come and done a study, and a professional survey of our area? If so, where is such report filed? I have seen a whole lot of blah blah blah on this report and that is all that it is Mr. Dzikowski. BTW, I think this is my last and final posting. I think I have accomplished my goal. I presented a lot of questions and opportunities for anyone to reply, but instead, I got many unsupported accusations. I truly hope that everyone gets a chance to present their opinions -- not just in favor and not just against -- but equally, at the next meeting.
Leila February 23, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Oratory is a private school and I don't live in Summit and my concern is what is going on here not one, two or three towns over. We should not have to compare ourselves to anyone. I think for the most part, we have a beautiful town, with natural beauty and we should try to preserve it. Can you imagine if Baltsurol caught the artificial turf bug?
Michael A Dzikowski February 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM
why shouldn't you care if its a health concern about the children and when others bring up up towns its not for comparing purposes ....No can't imagine (it has turf in several small areas already) - whats worst are the proven chemicals there that are actually linked to cancer....and cause a threat. (Go read up on that for a while) As for the other three postings that came thru my phone but are not up here on this site - I have no idea what you are talking about. You rambled on about reports...I honestly could nt make any sense of it....Anyway good luck at the meeting and I 'm glad you achieved what you wanted ...

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