Washington Township's youth football teams will not be playing their home games on the high school's turf field as previously considered, according to Coach Scott Spezial.
Parents have expressed concern about Memorial Field, which has had problems with plastic netting from old sod sticking above its surface. Township officials voted to re-sod the field, but the project was not started before the Falcons football teams began using the field for practice. The project is expected to be done in early November, after the season is finished.
Because of the safety concerns, township Mayor Janet Sobkowicz said the teams would be able to use the high school's field for games and Memorial Field for practice.
Spezial told Patch that the teams will not be using the high school's field for several reasons, including scheduling problems — the school does not have enough time available for all the teams — and the cost, which Spezial said would be $2,150 for four dates. At this point, there does not seem to be any possible solution, according to Spezial.
"The town cannot and will not do anything to fix the problem in the 2012 playing season," Spezial said.
Spezial was among the residents who advocated for artificial turf at Memorial Field earlier this year. The artificial surface would require less maintenance and eliminate the problems that have affected the field, they said.
Officials considered both the turf and re-sodding plans. After several stalemate votes, the township council voted in favor of re-sodding because of the higher cost of artificial turf, which was estimated to run between $1.8 million and $3 million. There are several other high-cost projects which the town also needs to have done, officials said.
Councilmen said they intended to consider artificial turf again, possibly as soon as next year.
Spezial said he was disappointed with the council's decision and expects that there will be injuries during the season.
"The field has gotten progressively worse since practice has started in August," Spezial said. "Injury to both players from our towns and other towns who play at Memorial Field this year are inevitable due to the condition of this facility."