Council Deadlocked on Memorial Field
Members of the Washington Township Council voted on both sod and artificial turf at their meeting Monday, but neither motion passed.
A solution for the problems at Memorial Field has not yet been picked, despite votes for re-sodding or installing artificial turf during the Washington Township Council's meeting Monday night.
Residents have been complaining about the condition of the field, which has netting sticking through its surface from the last time it was sodded. Re-sodding the field would, along with other necessary work, cost about $150,000 and last between four and six years before needing to be replaced, according to township engineer Paul Azzolina. It would likely be cheaper to replace in the future once the netting had been removed. Switching to artificial turf is estimated to cost $3.2 million, and members of the township recreation board said it would not need to be replaced for at least 15 years.
After a lengthy discussion at the meeting about Memorial and Sherry Fields, Councilman Fred Goetz motioned to bond for $150,000 to pay for the removal of old sod, installation of the new sod and repairs to the drainage system at Memorial Field. The lowest bid for re-sodding the field came in at about $111,000, and council members decided to pursue a slightly higher bid from the same contractor for better-quality sod that could be used "almost immediately" after it is installed, according to Azzolina. The council had included only $40,000 for the project in the annual budget.
"We should make it safe right now," Goetz said.
Goetz, along with Council Vice President Joseph D'Urso and Council President Richard Hrbek voted in favor of re-sodding. Councilmen Steve Cascio and Glenn Beckmeyer voted against. Four affirmative votes were needed to pass the motion.
Beckmeyer then motioned to bond for $3.2 million to pay for artificial turf and new lights at Memorial Field. He and Cascio voted in favor of the plan. Hrbek, D'Urso and Goetz voted against.
"I'm a big fan of the artificial surface," Cascio said. "I think it's going to pay for itself down the road."
D'Urso cited the high cost of the project as a concern. Officials also spoke about a costly road repaving plan and other capital expenses at the meeting.
"To me, $3 million is way to much money to spend right now," D'Urso said.