Turf Field Bond Ordinance Passes Unanimously

Concerns, particularly regarding safety, remain; officials assure public they will address them.

The bond ordinance for the synthetic turf field needed four votes to pass. It got five.

All five members of the Township Committee voted in favor of pursuing a $3.4 million bond to fund the athletic fields proposed for in front of a town hall meeting room overflowing with Springfield residents.

Democrats Rich Huber and Dave Amlen, who had respectively expressed skepticism about and opposition to the proposed turf field at the , explained their change of hearts before the vote. 

“If this passes, it will be a field for the whole Township,” Committee member Rich Huber said.  “The recreation department and the Dayton Athletic Department will run the field. It’s not just a football field. It’s not just a soccer field. It’s everything.”

Amlen, who provided the sole dissenting vote in the first hearing on the bond ordinance, said that voluminous research about artificial turf and the proposed facility’s impact on flooding in the area convinced him to support the project.

“Two weeks ago, I was the Grinch who stole Christmas,” Amlen joked. He said that after reading 30-40 studies on the health implications of turf fields, he felt more comfortable supporting the field, with the caveat that an independent commission supervise the field’s implementation. In addition, he said that learning that the proposed field could help mitigate flooding in the area also factored seriously into his decision.

Lastly, he related how, in conversation, a friend had asserted the new field would bring “unity of community,” a phrase he would return after his vote in favor of the bond ordinance.

Township engineer Todd Hay said he had studied Summit and other nearby municipalities with turf facilities. Mayor Ziad Shehady emphasized that the night’s vote was not about technical aspects of the field, but rather for pursuing a method of funding it.

Despite Shehady’s admonition, residents brought up concerns about potential toxic materials used to build turf fields. Other residents said that the school system’s academics needed more money and attention than athletics and accused township officials of ignoring residents whose homes were damaged and destroyed during tropical storm Irene.

That last charge was effectively rebutted by Shane Ronan, a Marion Street resident whose home was devastated by flooding.

“There’s nothing the town can do right now to improve the quality of life for my family than what’s on that board,” Ronan said, gesturing towards the draft sketch of plans for playing fields for the high school.

Following the vote, supporters of the turf field expressed excitement and optimism about the project.

“I could not be happier for the community,” Phil Iuliano, one of the founders of the pro-turf group the Springfield Athletic Turf Field Association, said. “It gives me such pride to be involved with such tremendous individuals and see their dedication.


Rich Citrin March 01, 2012 at 04:28 AM
The greatest day for the town since 1794!
Jenny March 01, 2012 at 07:28 PM
So, where is this turf going to be? I live down Caldwell Place. Is this anywhere near there? And why does it have to be fake turf?
Big U March 01, 2012 at 07:54 PM
It will be right in front of the High School. It will be Synthetic turf so it can support the amount of play that our fields get.
John Publik March 02, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Your children may "need" a synthetic "turf" field but what they also "need" is to show respect to their elders by being quiet when an ADULT is speaking in a public forum. Also just because your child is an "athelete" does not mean that he should be speaking at a microphone in our courtroom wearing a baseball cap. Your children should have also gotten out of their seats to give them up to some of the older citizens in town most of whom no nothing of this "turf' field. Which I am sure if this regime followed the democratic process and this went to referendum LIKE IT SHOULD HAVE it would be voted down by Springfield Seniors. Shame on you for raising such rude and inconsiderate beings Springfield.
TOM FULLER March 02, 2012 at 05:43 AM
a March 02, 2012 at 04:39 PM
well said john., i know from people in town who knew had it gone to a referendum it would not have passed. im sick of spoiled parents & spoiled kids in this state. just because U WANT SOMETHING doesnt mean u NEED IT. This is why the country has economic problems because everyone wants things they cant afford to pay for. this is why so many homes are in foreclosure and many people being forced from homes they shouldnt have been in in the 1st place. This will cost the taxpayers a lot of money long term and will be passed onto future generations including some of the kids who will get to play on what will be an outstanding field. i have no doubt it will be a great field but the cost long term isnt taken fully into consideration. to boot as everyone knows that trenton makes cut backs year after year and that will come back to haunt us too as then how will the town raise taxes by only 2% when other things that NEED TO BE DONE such as more firemen more police coverage having to be cut back in order to pay for the turf field. this is NJ politics typical business as usual. its a joke how things get done in nj. springfield isnt any worse than what they do in trenton so i guess its ok. bottom line the attitude of this state & town is send & tax, spend & tax and not worry who will pay for it!!!
a March 02, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Tom very good point people are VERY disrespectful at games by not taking off their hats. The county refused to help springfield from what i was told no matter what we did so shame on the county. we should have found a way to boycott and vote out fhe county politicians who could care less about springfield and what we give to the state. we pay taxes galore and lots of them go to fund essex county. when do we get our fair share for our buck? with the system the way it is NEVER.
A Coach March 02, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Tom and John you have to be the most miserable people in Spingfield... But Rest assure there is hope fot you one day these kids will make you proud they were raised in Springfield.
Anonymous89 March 02, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Thank you for speaking out about Springfield's dirty little secret - disrepsect and discrimination toward opposing points of view and those who should be our most cherished residents - our senior citizens! Quoting my husband's grandmother, "How you are I once was. How I am you will one day be." Some day we too will be senior citizens. How will you feel then when you are publicly disrespected and your opinions are disregarded?
Kari March 02, 2012 at 10:47 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how nasty and petty people can be. You got your turf field, so you should be happy, and taxes WILL continue to increase, most likely by more than you have been told. No wonder our kids have such a sense of entitlement and feel they "deserve" a turf field and the right to put the burden of paying for it on the backs of taxpaying adults, who, for MANY reasons, do not agree with the decision or the way in which the decision was made. And the parents of these "deserving" kids are no better for pimping their kids out with signs about their "deservedness".
A Coach March 03, 2012 at 01:54 AM
This is the last thing I am going to write on this but from the above negative posts it is obvious that none of the above people have student athletes for children. With that being said you have no idea how hard these kids work practicing and competing in the name of Springfield. They are up early in the morning working out. They stay up until all their homework is done in order to maintain high grades. They sacrifice weekends in order to learn how to function as part of a team. They learn leadership and are taught time management and how to structure their life in order to be the best they can be. Taxes will go up, that’s a fact. It doesn’t matter what anyone does that will never stop. The life lessons these kids are learning WILL make them better citizens and put them on the path to success. So when I read the opinions and the comparisons to the entailment generation it shows me YOU really have no clue what’s wrong this world. Words like PIMPING … is in such bad taste …. So, yes in the opinion of ALL the Parents, the BOE, and the Township Committee these kids DESERVE a complex they can have pride in. It’s not too often that you can show you children that a good work ethic and plain old fashion hard work pays off. So if society has to pay a little more in order to show these kids that people do recognize their efforts then so be it. I can think of a 1000 things worse than an Athletic Complex that tax money has been spent on.
Kari March 03, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Coach, some of us do have children in the school system. I do. Just because we don't agree on the decision or how the decision was made does not mean that we are clueless. You do not speak for ALL the parents. You don't speak for me, or many others (who, by the way, are NOT Senior Citizens, DO have kids in school some of them ARE involved in sports.) It's a shame that you think that "it's not too often that you can show your children that a good work ethic and plain old fashioned hard work pay off". Many families find ways to do that every day in ways that we learned from OUR PARENTS, our churches and our synagogues. I'm glad that was your final comment because you do not speak for ALL parents.
a March 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM
NOONE (and i dont are what the issue is) desrves a luxury item when people are out of work who are in their 40's & 50's. if these are seniors then i feel we are in big trouble. This is not a good time to live in nj but as usual its tax & spend tax & spend the SAME mentality the state of nj and the fools in dc have. we copy others who do the same thing so thats supposed to make it right. you did get your turf field but i guarantee you aprox 75-80% of the citizens in town have no use for it. the only reaosn it wasnt put to a public vote as the TC knows it would have failed. this came right from a former township official who asked to remain annonymous as well. this is just politics as usual doing what gets votes and is popular. this turf field will end up costing more to the tax payers than the estimates we are being told. since when do things come in under budget?
a March 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Excellent comment Kari. I commend you. Its ok the people who dont like the field will sell their homes and leave and let the tax mess be left to future generations. thats another thing these "kids" who need this field ( there is no such thing as need for a luxury item by the way) will find out the hard way. the taxes paid for this turf field will be paid by them when they grow up and they will be faced with tax issues as in NJ in particular we have a lower credit rating because the fools in trenton keep spending and refuse to cut back. Im not totally fond of Christie and his bully tactics but hes trying to do whats right which is cut back debt and overspending by the xmas tree politicians in trenton.
Big U March 03, 2012 at 05:21 PM
This discussion amazes me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect that. I don't have any respect for people that now want to put down people and children for no reason. If you don't like the way it turned out, that's unfortunate but some times in life things don't go your way. The vote is over so time to move on folks.
The Voice of Reason March 04, 2012 at 06:35 PM
A sad day for springfield taxpayers.
turf March 04, 2012 at 08:00 PM
First of all I have had many poor encouters with disrespectful senior citizens but in no way will I ever let those select encounters be reprsentative for the group as a whole. You are absolutely right that they deserve respect but they also should give it out. You are also jumping down the throats of kids, but they are KIDS! They make mistakes so leave them alone. As for the turf field, I was a member of the state championship soccer team in 2010. Say what you want about this being a waste of money but sports offer a sense of pride and community for this town that if I'm brutally honest is lacking. We are nothing compared to Millburn Summit and Westfield because we take no pride in our town. Still, I have never been more proud then the day we won that championship and I looked up to the stands and saw hundreds of people from our community supporting us in our pursuit of history. Of course this is a want and not a need, no one is disputing that, but why should we have to play all of our home football games at Union high school? Its called "home" for a reason. If this towns football program hadnt been resurrected and injected new life and vigor into this community, i'm not so sure we wouldn't have abandoned sports altogether. Sports Are important, if you don't believe that then why does our state University take financial losses in virtually every sport. If even one kid gets a college degree from sports it is worth it. Support your kids and the community.
The Voice of Reason March 04, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I am in favor of supporting our kids-the right and responsible way! A disservice has been done to the Springfield taxpayer. Mayor Shehady and the town council have caved-in to a small representation of Springfield’s taxpayers. Why? Who knows. Were they like a kid in a toy store that just had to have that new toy? Or were they afraid to speak and vote against a loud and vocal mob? I believe it was the latter. My conclusion is partly based on Amlen’s comment that he was the Grinch that stole Christmas. And he changed his vote. That disgusts and concerns me. If Amlen is like the rest of the council, the taxpayer is in trouble. I went to the council meeting on 2/28 intending to speak about the unnecessary tax about to be imposed on us. I am in favor of a place for our kids to play, I want a field. But not an increase in taxes, no matter how small for something that is not a necessity. Save the increase in taxes for a safe, secure and clean Springfield. I have to say that I was intimidated by the mob in front of and inside town hall. I’m sure others were. I didn’t speak. I stood there in disgust of the people that I voted for and left. I’m a registered republican and angry.
The Voice of Reason March 04, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I’m sure Shehady would like to meet with me and Krauss will cordially invite me to go somewhere. It is too late for their politics. They have all shown their true colors. I am an older Springfield resident who will be on a fixed income very soon. The Mayor and council have not represented me and older people like me properly. It happened with the sewer issue and it happened here again. Instead of “SRINGFIELD KIDS DESERVE A TURF FIELD” signs should read “SPRINGFIELD RESIDENTS DESERVE RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.” Do you think Gov. Christie is going to increase our state aid because our kids deserve a turf field and we can’t pay for our obligations? Gov. Chirstie is going to cut property taxes 10% over the next few years. How are we going to pay for our necessary services? Are we going to lay off government workers? That in and of itself is a failure of our Mayor and council. If you are dissatisfied with the vote to increase our taxes to pay for the field, write to our Mayor and town council. Then write to our Assemblymen and our Senators. Let them know how dissatisfied you are with our government.
MJ March 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM
51% of my tax bill goes to the school system. How much more do you really need? It seems that all the taxes payers need to be ready to pay more taxes. I would like the school to have a nice field, but on the backs of people that have to work 2 jobs to just pay taxes in this town. The TC really did an outstanding job on this one, as a matter of fact give yourselfs a raise for the good job. Hey got a better idea, why not put a toll booth on Morris and Springfield roads to pay for it.


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