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Groundbreaking for Springfield Turf Field Tomorrow Morning

Officials mark start of construction of Athletic fields with 8 a.m. ceremony.

After years of debate, construction on the turf field symbolically begins this week when officials from the township's government and school system break ground on the project. 

On Friday, September 7, at 8:00 a.m., officials will gather at 's front field near the tennis courts to break ground on the project.

Dayton students, past and present, are invited along with the general public. Officials will give brief remarks before shovels hit the ground to mark the start of the project. that is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013.

"For many, this has been a dream that is long overdue," Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady said in a press statement. "This year, the Springfield Board of Education and the Township Committee took real, tangible steps to making that dream a reality. Achieving this goal would not have been possible without the determination and relentless willpower of dedicated community members and the groundbreaking is a textbook example of shared services and partnership between two government entities, Springfield Public Schools and the Township of Springfield.  I am thrilled to be a part of this.”

Louis Herkalo September 07, 2012 at 11:44 AM
FOR YRS. FOOTBALL WAS PLAYED @ MEISEL FIELD ON GRASS. IF SOMEONE WAS TO GO BACK FROM THE 50'S UP UNTIL FOOTBALL CEASED THERE, THEY WOULD FIND VERY FEW MAJOR INJURIES CAUSED BY PLAYING ON A GRASS FIELD. THE TURF IS ABOUT 3" THICK THAT COVERS ASPHALT. I WOULD EXPECT TO SEE MORE INJURIES PLAYING ON TURF! I'M VERY HAPPY THAT THE DAYTON BULLDOGS WILL NOW BE PLAYING ON A TURF FIELD. I STILL SAY ALL ALONG THAT A LOT OF MONEY WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED IF THE SCHOOL & THE TOWN GOT TOGETHER WITH THE COUNTY & WORKED SOMETHING OUT. A LOT OF MONEY WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED BY TURFING AN EXISTING FIELD! NOW RESIDENTS OF THE TOWN WILL ABSORB THE COST & PROPERTY TAXES WILL RISE AGAIN! THERE HAVE BEEN SIGNS & IT HAS BEEN SPOKEN THAT "WE DESERVE A TURF FIELD"! WHAT HAS THE DAYTON FOOTBALL PROGRAM DONE FOR THEM TO "DESERVE" A TURF FIELD? YES, A FEW YRS. AGO THEY HAD A WINNING TEAM WHO WENT TO THE STATES & I APPLAUD THEM FOR THAT. BUT COME ON. I PLAYED FOR DAYTON & THEY ARE NOT NOR EVER WILL BE A POWERHOUSE TEAM. THERE ARE MANY THAT ARE THE SAME SIZE OF #"S OF PLAYERS AS SPRINGFIELD. BUT I GUESS THEY DO "DESERVE" THE TURF FIELD AS DO THE RESIDENTS "DESERVE" TO HAVE THEIR TAXES RAISED SOME MORE FOR A PROGRAM THAT LASTS FOR 9 WEEKS! THEN TO READ THE COMMENT THAT MAYOR SHEHADY MADE ALMOST MADE ME VOMIT. WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT FOOTBALL & TURF FIELDS. GOOD LUCK TO THE DAYTON BULLDOGS ON THIS UPCOMING SEASON! LOUIS S, HERKALO NAPLES FL 34110
BART FRAENKEL September 07, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I'm pleased that the turf field is now a reality. And maybe 'deserve' was a poor choice of words to use on the signs, but the field will be used by more then the football team, as soccer and rec programs will also benefit from it. The only negative from my perspective is that none of the elected officials attempted to offset some of the cost by approaching businesses to see if they'd be willing to participate financially on some level; not the mom and pop type but the large chain stores, who have the financial ability. Our town and our children deserved that effort.
BART FRAENKEL September 07, 2012 at 03:39 PM
While serving on the TC I learned that its almost impossible to make everyone happy with certain decisions that have to be made. But I personally believe a multi-use turf field will benefit a majority of our community. And I don't believe that the children will suffer more injuries then on grass, since there have been vast improvements in technology since artificial turf was first introduced. I do agree that there's a potential monetary cost the taxpayers may incur and that is my primary concern.
Big U September 07, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Hey Lou - What type of field do they have in Naples Florida? ( I'd bet it's synthetic turf) I'm sure you pay of that too. Anonymous - your comments are irrelevant when you speak poorly about children that you know nothing about. (Feel free to move to Naples!) Township and BOE - Congratulations on upgrading the town.
BART FRAENKEL September 07, 2012 at 06:36 PM
As I said, there is completely different technology today then there was in previous years. The original artificial turf (Astro Turf) was like playing on a carpet over a parking lot, but that's no longer the case. While serving on the TC, I spent time looking into this issue and came back satisfied that people using a turf field in Springfield wouldn't be in jeopardy, anymoreso then on natural grass. Aside from the financial aspect, it didn't surprise me to see and hear the mayor blowing his own horn about this project. Those people who know the details from the onset, which was years in the making, know what I'm talking about. I'd have more respect for them if they just got it done without all the hoopla. But with elections coming up, they must have seen this as a great photo opportunity for the incumbents.
Doug W September 07, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Bart the ceremony planned by the BOE and was held because it is a major community undertaking and it will be a field for all in our town. It had nothing to do with the incumbents. Why does everything have to be political with you? And, if you were so instrumental while serving on the TC, why didn't the field get built then? And why didn't you find corporate sponsors to pay for the field?
BART FRAENKEL September 07, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Doug W, when was the last time a "major community undertaking", as you called it, was held at 8:00 A.M.? If this was anything other then a dog and pony show it would have been held at a more convenient time for the 'community'. And to answer your question as to why this project wasn't done before, the BOE hoped the Sideliners booster club and others were going to be able to secure sufficient funding for the project and they weren't willing to swap their property with the township that ultimately made this deal a reality. I did approach corporate sponsors and would be willing to approach them again, now that the entire financial burden is not being placed on them. Anything the township receives could be used to offset the cost to the community.
Big U September 08, 2012 at 03:50 AM
The only people that made this political was the Dems. They showed up wearing Big name badges. The ceremony at 8am was for the student athletes that were able to attend. Also 2 young kids did the ground breaking which was a nice touch. Take things for what they are and stop making everything political. That's why so many hate politics.
MJ September 10, 2012 at 08:29 PM
since all this bullshit is done now can we do something for the town... When you drive downtown it is really a sad look. WTF
Louis Herkalo September 13, 2012 at 03:11 PM
BART, YOU ARE 100% CORRECT. OTHER PROGRAMS WILL BE ABLE TO USE THE TO THE TURF FIELD & THE TECHNOLOGY HAS PROBABLY IMPROVED OVER THE YEARS. I'LL SAY IT OVER & OVER. I CANNOT SEE A FIELD BEING BUILT FROM SCRATCH. IT'S LIKE MAKING A PIZZA WITH ALL THE INGREDIENTS FROM SCRATCH, OR TAKING A STORE BOUGHT ONE AND ADDING A FEW TOPPINGS AND SOME EXTRA CHEESE & SAUCE. WHICH ONE WILL COST LESS IN THE END? THERE IS A FOOTBALL FIELD AT MEISEL FIELD THAT IS ALREADY BUILT. ALL IT NEEDS TO BE IS TURFFED OVER. THE TRACK IS ALREADY! WIDEN THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO THE FIELDHOUSE TO ALLOW FOR VISITOR BLEACHERS(1-2 SETS), OVERHAUL OR REBUILD FIELDHOUSE, BUILD A SMALL PRESSBOX WITH HOME TEAM BLEACHERS. BUT THE GREAT MAYOR OF SPRINGFIELD WOULD NOT GET WITH THE COUNTY AND COME TO A MEETING OF THE MINDS(I THINK HE LACKS ONE) & WOULD HAVE SAVED WELL OVER A MILLION PLUS BECAUSE NOW THIS FIELD HAS TO BE BUILT FROM SCRATCH!! YOU MADE THE COMMENT BART A FEW TIMES THAT SHEHADY IS TO IMMATURE TO BE A MAYOR MAKING LARGE DECISIONS SUCH AS THIS. HIS IMMATURITY HAS COME TO A HEAD. IT WILL BACKFIRE IN THE END AND BITE HIM & THE REPUBLICAN PARTY! SHEHADY MADE THE COMMENT THAT IT WAS "A DREAM OF HIS THAT HAS TRUE". IF HE WENT TO THE MEISEL AVE FIELD ROUTE, I WOULD HAVE PATTED HIM ON THE BACK!! LOOK OUT TAXPAYERS! AS FOR THE COMMENT ON NAPLES, NAPLES IS A VERY LARGE CITY WITH 6-8 HIGH SCHOOLS & THAT'S NOT COUNTING PRIVATE & CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL'S.
Louis Herkalo September 13, 2012 at 03:13 PM
WAY TO GO MJ. THEY HAVE BEEN RE-DOING DOWNTOWN FOR OVER 40 YRS! MAYBE 1/3RD HAS BEEN UPGRADED! VERY SAD!
Chrys February 21, 2013 at 08:22 PM
You GOOO gooooo goooo Mr. Shehady and the bright people who have not only voted, supported and insuted everyone who was questioning this project... now what? When will you put out a statement regarding this issue that has now taken a terrible turn, as most of us people who wanted you to give us more educated answers -- and you DID NOT, suspected it would go... This is what you said then, what have you gotten to say now? And the BOE? What is their 'expert' opinion on all of this? I can't hear you!!!! "For many, this has been a dream that is long overdue," Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady said in a press statement. "This year, the Springfield Board of Education and the Township Committee took real, tangible steps to making that dream a reality. Achieving this goal would not have been possible without the determination and relentless willpower of dedicated community members and the groundbreaking is a textbook example of shared services and partnership between two government entities, Springfield Public Schools and the Township of Springfield. I am thrilled to be a part of this.” GLAD YOU ARE THRILLED TO BE PART OF THIS... NOW PLEASE GIVE THE PEOPLE OF SPRINGFIELD SOME ANSWERS.
BART FRAENKEL February 21, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Chrys, there is only one thing that needs to be addressed and that is who knew about the issue with the land that was to be swapped in the deal. All elected officials, both the TC and BOE, have a fiduciary responsibility to the residents and the failure to make the information available to all (the elected officials) is the only issue. The field will be built and I'm fine with that. But the trust bestowed on elected officials to do what is right for the residents is at issue here and that must be addressed. There will always be people who agree and disagree with the decisions made by any official, and nothing will change that. But the methods used in making the decisions are important and speak volumes toward the integrity or lack thereof of the people involved.
Chrys February 21, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Mr. Fraenkel, I do hope someone, whether be the TC or the BOE do come forward with an honest and comprehensive, detailed explanation regarding the 'contaminated' land and when they became aware of it. Official papers should have been filed and those will be the ones that speak, as well as, those who had any dealings with the whole process. My fear is that transparency will not prevail. I do hope that we can come to understand the whole issue rather sooner than later. And, why go ahead with a Turf field, especially since they have not proved that it is the best for Springfield. I understand that other towns choose to have turf fields, but just because someone chooses to do something over not doing, it does not mean it is in the best interest of everyone. There IS STILL TIME for a grass field to be installed, probably with minor accommodations. Food for thought.
BART FRAENKEL February 21, 2013 at 11:11 PM
A grass field will not hold up to the same amount of use as a turf field, which is the primary reason for its construction. A turf field can provide many benefits for the town despite the fact that you are correct in saying it's something many people want, not need. The bond ordinance that was approved by the TC will provide the funding and all the TC members voted for it. However, since a super majority was needed for approval (4 of the 5 TC members), if any of the TC members were misled through the omission of important information, that is what concerns me the most.
Bob Groder March 04, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I want answers too! Im sick of being lied to in this town! I smell an alleged cover up here.
Bob Groder March 04, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Bart why is it they were able to play at Meisel field under a grass field for many years and now cant do the same thing at Dayton? If it worked back then why not scale back the project now?
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