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Poll: Is Project Really Going to be 'Fields of Dreams?'

School, youth sports group and township leaders are expected at BOE meeting to talk turf.

Mayor James Barberio is slated to make a presentation before the at the body's public session Thursday night. The subject: the at and high schools.

The Fields of Dreams project has been in the works since spring. The Recreation Advisory Committee, a panel made up of area officials and youth sports organization leaders, came up with an idea to do improvements at the school fields including putting in new turf fields, modernized lighting and new track ovals.

Several issues must be considered  before the ambitious idea can move ahead, among them:

  • Whether turf fields are an appropriate expenditure during tough economic times or in the face of the many still essentially homeless or close to it because of Irene's floods.
  • Whether the Board of Education would have to give up ownership of the high school fields so that open space dollars could be used to fund the program (use of open space funds means no new tax increase).
  • Whether the township really can afford what's estimated to be a $4.5 million project.
  • Whether this matter should be decided in a public voter referendum.

Sports leaders and the high schools' booster clubs are making a case to win support for the proposal.

The RAC's Fields of Dreams website argues a turf field is easier and less expensive to maintain than a field of grass. The savings, it says, could be as much as $70,000 per year over the projected 10-year lifespan of a turf field. And the fields would be of more service to the schools and the township, because turf fields can handle much more wear and tear than a grass surface.

As it stands, the high school fields get relatively little use—only football games, limited band practice and graduation. Supporters say turf fields would be usable by just about every sports team.

The RAC also points to testimony from medical professionals showing that artificial turf is safer than grass and shows a reduction in injuries suffered by student athletes on traditional turf fields.

Barberio said his presentation will tell residents all they need to know about the project.

What do you think? Patch wants to know your opinion: Fields of Dreams or Causes of Insmonia? Please check out the following polls and share your opinions more fully in the comments section.

Kevin Brancato December 15, 2011 at 10:01 PM
Did you even bother to read the article. The Town is approaching the BOE with this idea. I have yet to hear anything from the BOE other than they will listen to the proposal. I am a huge critic of certain members on this BOE but your comment is ill informed, unfair and just plain wrong.
Patch3 December 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Vote allowed for open space so now town looking to make the fields part of open space..secondly, having 2 teams allows for more of out Parsippany children to participate in athletic programs..thirdly..as a golfer-u should encourage the new turf as u can request permit to use it as a practice area so on those wet days, don't have to worry about those grass divot's affecting your distance and mishits
Par70 December 15, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Well I didn't think of it from a golfing perspective. Sure definitely worth the 4.5 million then. Not sure though that the turf will make the program that better -- look at Par Hills -- they seemed to do quite well without it and made it quite far in the program. On the flip -- would the turf helped the High? Have you ever seen their locker rooms? Let alone the gym floor in the High. Just noting that priorities should be put in order. Lastly -- this isn't an open space referendum -- this is a reallocation of money from the open space for turf that voters did not agree to.
Patch3 December 15, 2011 at 10:20 PM
I was making a joke of golf use. I certainly understand the concern here and the amount of dollars spent for sports. Also, that when it was voted on-folks did not know dollars would be allocated for turf. Regarding bathrooms, touch of paint and more respectful kids would help. As far as affecting neighborhoods for those living close by the fields. Those neighbors don't complain when they don't have to drive to school and kids could walk there. Plus, the Par High band is so darn good that be nice for all the neighbors to hear them at night rather than Johnny Mathis or Rap
Joan McGinley December 16, 2011 at 11:18 AM
I think you are missing one very important point here Jennifer. It's all about our children! The "specific purpose" is for the children of our community, for they are our future. It seems to me that you might not have children still in school, if you did you would see how important this is to them and the parents as well. Attend a sport event, our children show a lot of pride for our towns as they compete against each other and still remain friends - ;let's do it for our children...give them something else to be proud of...the field they play on.
Joan McGinley December 16, 2011 at 11:26 AM
It is understandable your concern for light beaming into your windows. It isn't too often that games go into the wee hours of the night. There are restrictions placed on our town fields with the lights I am sure there could and will be the same thing place on the school field as well. I think you are mistaken about the count/type of people most for this field as you stated. It's more the people with students in school involved in sports, for I am one. Those involved in little league and local soccer clubs have their own fields to be used.
Jennifer McNulty December 16, 2011 at 02:08 PM
Joan- contrary to your assumptions, I have 5 children ranging in age from 4-17yrs of age. My kids have been and still are involved in sports. My one son played on the boys soccer team at PHHS this year. My kids have played baseball, soccer, flag football, XC, and track. I know a little something about sporting events and children. My kids don't have "pride" in the facility they use. They have "pride" in a job well done or good effort. A better field does not make you a better player or competitor. It doesn't make you a better person. It doesn't make friends. No where does the Open Space refurendum state it is "for the children". Open space is for everyone. These fields will not be for everyone.
Orejuela Weg Patricia December 16, 2011 at 03:48 PM
I was at the meeting last night and the Cons were minimal, The BOE and the town should work together for the best interest of the kids in our town which are the future. People complaining about noise and the lighting,and traffice should have thought about that when you purchase your property, we are better off having our kids involved in sports then just hanging out to doing nothing or stuck to video games at home. You can not complain about traffic because whenever there is any sport being played at the high school the town puts lawn signs advicing that they are not to park there and the same goes for Brooklawn drive. What do you want your kids to do? Stay home and play video or computer games all day or just be a bums doing nothing at home. No, get them involve in sports so they can enjoy the outside and breath fresh air, let them enjoy whatever sport they love. If you have no kids, this is something that you will never understand and most likely as a kid you didn't play any sports. This is 2011 and not 1965, if you go around to other high schools in Morristown County or even Passaic County which is a low income town, you will notice that most of the high schools have turf fields, how did they do it? probably the same way by working together with the BOE and the Town. I'm also a homeowner and pay very high property taxes but I do vote for the money in that fund to be use for something useful that all of our kids can enjoy and use for many years to come. .
Don December 16, 2011 at 04:31 PM
I think it's a stretch to say that our kids will have nothing to do or stay inside all day if we don't install artificial turf on our sports fields. We do have teams that use the grass/dirt fields now and the conditions didn't deter the Hills football team from making it to a state championship game. I'm shocked that so many people are willing to spend $4.5 million on an item that can only be viewed as a luxury. Comparing ourselves to other schools or counties is foolish. It's that "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality that got many people and municipalities into financial trouble. People thought "they have it, why shouldn't we", regardless of the consequences. This money wasn't just dropped in our laps with no strings attached. It's our taxpayer dollars. As adults and parents we should spend that money wisely and, in my opinion, it's irresponsible to spend millions in a vain attempt to make our sports teams better. We're not the Yankees.
Orejuela Weg Patricia December 16, 2011 at 05:25 PM
We played on those fieds because we had too not because we wanted to. Besides all the parents of the Athlectic associations woke up very early to clean and make the field look decent compare to all of the otherone that didn't do anything because there's already look nice. 4.5 Millions is the consevative amount.
Orejuela Weg Patricia December 16, 2011 at 05:26 PM
lets hope your grandchildren don't go to PHHS or the High and have to play on those fields that are not good at all.
Orejuela Weg Patricia December 16, 2011 at 05:28 PM
and 2010 season we lost most of our games because of injuries
Orejuela Weg Patricia December 16, 2011 at 05:39 PM
I do not support it. If families want their kids to play sports, they should pay for it, not taxpayers. 348 (51%) Unsure. 7 (1%) Most homeowners in Parsippany have families and we also PAY TAXES, you are not the only ones. We must have lots of single people in Parsippany, This is a family town and most normal people have KIDS.
Chris December 16, 2011 at 05:53 PM
In response to Don's statement that people are insinuating that a sports team would be better if we had turf is just not a correct statement. It has nothing to do with making any particular team better, it has everything to do with improving our facilities. Yes Don, we can chose to not spend the money on turfing the HS fields but I have to remind you that 40% of the OSF is earmarked and collected to do projects like this. Of all the potential projects that can be done I ask for some suggestions. This money has to be spent on something or why then is it collected at all if nobody wants to do anything with it. This comes down to the plain fact that we can either continue to allow our town to deteriorate and our facilities to be substandard or we can be forward thinking and proactive in our use of these funds to upgrade our community. The lifeblood of any town or municipality is to constantly maintain and improve in order to attract young upwardly mobile people looking to raise families. If we do not live up to the motto, "Parsippany, the place to be" then in a decade or two we won't be the place to be. We all can think of plenty of towns that were once thriving that are now viewed as "bad neighborhoods" or "run down". Let's support this project in the spirit that it has been presented. I for one as a citizen want this upgrade to our schools that, as a reminder, comes with NO ADDITIONAL TAX
Par70 December 16, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Bring it to a town vote!!!! My assumption is that there is to much concern that it will fail to pass Please note when open space came up for a vote. My understanding was that this would be used to preserve open tracks of land from over development. This is not the case with a turf upgrade.
Par70 December 16, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Seriously you think there isn't any maintenance or clean up on turf fields. There is no reason why kids can't play on grass.
Bob Taylor December 16, 2011 at 08:39 PM
My read of the OSTF ordinance says you are right about it being for purchasing land to preserve open space. This was the intent when it was initially inacted in 1989, however, on 5-22-2007 it was amended (after a vote by the residents if I recall) to allow 8/10ths of 1 cent (i.e. 40% of the total) of the collected money within the year to be used for capital improvements to open space and parks; this would include building turf fields and improving recreation facilities like Smith, Vets, Jannarone, and other town contolled projects. Also from my understanding of the ordinance (although it does not simply says this), the $6-$7 million dollars that is currently in the fund can only be used to purchase land open space preservation; and this component of the OSTF is funded at 50% of the collect tax levy annully.
parpardon December 17, 2011 at 05:15 AM
Jennifer, maybe you should read the ordinance a little bit closer. Open Space can be used for exactly for this purpose. What the heck are you so against? I can't imagine how having youth facility could be so bad. It suits the need of the entire community. Just reading your posts you need to open up your mind. The intention is to do just exactly what you don't want. It is to acquire by way of agreement between the town and the Board of Ed to make it available for everyone to use. It is a sad day in Parsippany when having a YOUTH FOOTBALL GAME, YOUTH SOCCER GAME AND YOUTH FIELD HOCKEY GAME becomes a bad thing. What are you a NIMBY (Not in my backyard).
VietNam Vet March 15, 2012 at 05:22 AM
If everybody here trusts the mayor and this council, then they're all just as crazy as this mayor is. I don't trust either one.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
TJ Ritter March 26, 2012 at 01:29 AM
http://parsippany.patch.com/articles/fod-walking-tour-scheduled-for-sunday#comments_list www,parsippanyunite.com FYI, there were no "FOD" members/supporters at this walkthrough today (3/25/12). It was very informative. We saw things that needed repair, saw things that probably did not need repair and saw things that raised more questions about the scope of work. The press was there and we would have loved to have had the "FOD" members/supporters there so we could discuss the project.
Chris March 26, 2012 at 02:47 AM
TJ, you and I have sat down and spoken. I would love to speak with you again and walk around the fields with you. You know why I did not attend.
parpardon May 16, 2012 at 01:23 AM
I wanted to publicly apologize for any rude comments I may have made. I have come to terms with my issues and realized I have been way out of line with some of my comments. I look forward to working together to form a better future for Parsippany children. Once again please accept my apologiy and I promise to not revert back to my old ways.
Patch3 May 16, 2012 at 01:31 AM
What comments Par? Didn't see any that required that type of apology

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