Council Votes for Sod at Memorial Field
The Washington Township Council voted 4-1 Monday to re-sod the field. Councilmen said they intend to pursue artificial turf for the future.
Months of debate came to an end Monday when the Washington Township Council voted 4-1 in favor of creating an ordinance to allow for the re-sodding of Memorial Field.
Some residents have been attending council meetings to request artificial turf for the field, which has had problems with drainage, goose feces and netting from old sod sticking through its surface. Monday's proposal called for a total of $160,000 to cover the costs of removing old sod and soil, repairing a drainage system at the site and installing the new sod. Township engineer Paul Azzolina previously said the sod would be ready "almost immediately" after it is installed. Council President Richard Hrbek said it was important to improve the fields for the immediate future.
"We need to make the fields playable," Hrbek said. "That's a step."
Councilman Glenn Beckmeyer, who voted against the plan, said re-sodding would only be a temporary fix and artificial turf could save the township money, despite it's higher price tag, which pro-turf resident Eamonn Twomey estimated at the meeting would cost less than $2 million without other improvements.
"It's going to cost us more now, but it's going to save us money in the long run of the life of the field," Beckmeyer said.
At the council's previous meeting, Councilmen Steve Cascio and Beckmeyer had supported artificial turf, while Hrbek, Council Vice President Joseph D'Urso and Councilman Fred Goetz had supported re-sodding. Four affirmative votes were needed for either plan.
Cascio said he was willing to approve re-sodding Monday as long as the council continued to plan for other improvements, including new lights and artificial turf, for the future. It was important to have the field in good condition by the fall season, he said.
"We ran out of time," Cascio said.
Officials cited high costs of other upcoming projects, including repaving some of the township's roads, as a reason to go with the cheaper option this year.
"There's too many things out there that are more of a necessity than this," D'Urso said.
The turf should last between four and six years before it needs to be replaced, according to Azzolina. Some residents were skeptical it will last that long because of heavy use. Twomey said the field is used about 300 days each year.
Cascio said he wanted to plan for artificial turf to be installed in a year or two.
"I really think that we need to have a turf field in this community," Cascio said.