Pro Artificial Turf (AT)
By: Rob Rundle
Faber Field for at the last two decades has been the main sports field for the town of Glen Rock. It hosts football, baseball, soccer and lacrosse practices and/or games, and is also the home to other sports and community related activities during the summer.
Faber Field is not: 1) level, 2) grass (in the way that say your lawn or a public park would be), 3) usable after rainstorms or 4) able to withstand the usage it sees on a regular basis.
When the town began discussing what to do about Faber back in the 2000’s, the discussion always included a turf field option. At the time the town didn’t have the finances to move forward, but thanks to other bonds coming off our books in the coming years, we now have the best opportunity we’ve ever had to issues bonds to renovate the field and only have slight impact on our taxes.
The renovated field will be a home for baseball and softball (softball has never played on Faber before), lacrosse, soccer and football. The all-weather surface will allow teams to practice and play regardless of the previous day’s weather (or even earlier the same day), and will allow the grass fields in our town to get the rest they require.
Without this renovation, the simple fact is the people of Glen Rock will see a reduction in the amount of activities offered to our kids. We certainly won’t see any expansion of programs like we’ve had in the last twenty years with the growth of girls’ sports and the birth and growth of the town’s lacrosse program.
The renovated field will not infringe on the wetlands by the brook or the buffer zone outside of the wetlands. The drainage system that’s being proposed will funnel water in such a way that only three inches an hour of rain will enter the brook from the field, no matter how much rain is falling (the system is designed to hold 12 inches of water).
There has been a lot of talk about the cost of the field. The estimates from the concept designs, based on other field instillations in Bergen County over the last few years are for a field that will cost approximately $2.7 million. This equates to an average of approximately $7 per household per month. The cost estimates presented are very conservative in nature and could easily come in below expectations. One thing we know is that they won’t come in above expectations because the town is not spending any more than $3 million on the project. If bids come in above that figure, items will be taken out of the plan to get us back under.
Opponents point to Ridgewood as a possible warning to the Faber proposal. The three turf fields in Ridgewood were built in an area that has flooded for years. In the last 15 years, there has never been a rain event in Glen Rock where the Diamond Brook flooded Faber field. There is in fact a fifteen foot berm that separates the field from the Diamond Brook. If Faber ever floods, we will have much bigger issues in town than replacing the turf.
The other issue that has been brought up is health and safety on the fields. The www.faberfield.org website has links a number of reports that speak to the safety of the fields compared to grass. As a staff member at the US Military Academy at West Point recently told one of my friends “do you think we [West Point] would have any turf fields here if we thought they were harmful to our cadets?”. For that matter, would any of the proponents of the field be doing this if we thought there was a chance it could harm our children? The 3rd generation Field Turf product being proposed for Faber Field has been in use for fifteen years. In that time, there are no studies to substantiate the allegation that “there are widespread accounts of illness” as a result of using the field.
The Faber field renovation is a major investment in the infrastructure of our town, and be something all residents can point to with pride. It is not one that has been proposed rashly or with the idea that Glen Rock must keep up with the Joneses. The costs per game/practice of an all-weather field is less than that of a grass field. Other than the time for construction, an all-weather field will not require season long or yearlong field closures. All the outdoor sports in town will be able to use the space, and it will take some of the pressure off of the other fields in town, which are also starting to show signs of overuse. The programs in town will be able to increase, not reduce their offerings, and most importantly, will have a level field where they can consistently play the games they love. Please vote yes on Tuesday.