Councilman: Turf a 'Necessity' for Kinnelon Residents

Discussions continue on how to improve playing conditions.

The has been discussing the installation of an artificial turf field to no avail for seven years now, according to Councilman Jim Freda.

Freda expressed his frustration at the council's work session meeting Thursday. This year, Freda has even gotten the involved and discussed working together to install artificial turf on the field. But the discussions have not yet led to any concrete progress on the project.

"We've been talking about this for about seven years now and we still are nowhere," Freda said. "If we're serious about partnering with the high school ... then we need to start moving forward."

Freda said he feels the borough needs to act on the field for the sake of the residents.

"We need a field. It's a necessity these days, it's no longer a luxury," he said.

The council had originally discussed installing artificial turf on the field behind the Kinnelon Municipal Building. The field has been for its poor condition and while the borough planned to repair the field, several council members wanted to pursue artificial turf.

But New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection restrictions would likely prevent the borough from being able to install artificial turf so close to nearby water streams.

"We can't do turf here without running into major legal issues with the [New Jersey Highlands Council]," Councilman Dan O'Dougherty said Thursday.

The borough then began seeking alternative locations and came to realize board of education property is often exempt from some of the restrictions placed on borough property. Freda helped for the artificial turf field at the high school. The original cost projection for the field was about $400,000, but since then, the borough has learned drainage issues would also need to be repaired on the high school field in order to move forward with artificial turf in that location.

The borough has still not hired an engineer who would develop actual cost estimates for the project. Freda said the cost of the engineering alone would be about $11,000.

Borough Engineer Paul Darmofalski spoke to the council Thursday and provided an estimate for an alternate location: . But because drainage work would also be needed there and lighting that does not currently exist on the field would also be required, Darmofalski estimated the project could cost about $2 million in that location.

Kinnelon Mayor Bob Collins said he felt the borough should include the board of education in another conversation about the installation of an artificial turf field.

"We're talking about doing improvements to a neighbor's property here," he said.

Collins, Freda and O'Dougherty all seemed to agree though that the high school field may be more appropriate for the artificial turf field, not only because lighting is already available on that field but because the high school is a natural center of the community.

"If you're looking at the best location, it's the high school field," Freda said.

Councilman Gary Moleta said he would like to see other elements included in the project, such as a walking track for residents, if the field is located in another place in the borough. Freda said he and Moleta would speak with the board of education again and report back to the council at the next work session meeting.

Sid July 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Sid July 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Are you kidding me? They don't let up on this turf thing. WE CANT AFFORD it. The schools are cutting teachers, they are working with 10+year old books, and some kid that wants to be in a club has to pay the same “pay to play” as some jock that is in 5 sports - and you want to spend money (probably more like $1million) on TURF? Get your priorities straight! – this isn’t Penn State. Academics should be where the money goes, not athletics and artificial turf.
Ted Whittemore July 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Mr. Freda cares about artificial turf. Most residents don't. Don't care about it, don't want it, don't want to pay for it. I've never heard a compelling argument for this very expensive boondoggle. Explain it clearly for the residents who will have to pay for it. Or, better yet, just drop it. I have a kid who uses the KRP and other Kinnelon fields all of the time -- as far as I'm concerned they are just fine.
Joanne Pyatak July 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I agree! Academics not turf. I don't have any children in the school system and haven't for almost 24 years. What I do have are roads that will bend tire rims and cost you a front end alignment every time you use them. My street has not been touched in all the years I have lived here and for what my taxes are, we should be driving on glass roads!!! Enough with the artifical turf. Move on, we don't need it!!
Carol July 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM
A necessity? What was the cost when taxpayers last footed the bill to regrade, improve/install new drainage & automatic sprinkler system and resod the entire high school football field? Wasn't that done just about three years ago?
NJ Steel July 13, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Wow does this councilman own an artificial turf manufacturing company? What a clown.
laidbackluke July 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM
To everyone that has previously commented on this: You are clearly the problem because you do not care about anyone but yourselves. As many of you clearly stated you can care less about the turf field, you should think again. The fields in this town are a disgrace and it is time we put in a turf field for the sake of the kids. Who cares if you no longer have kids in the school but this community has sacrificed so much because the elderly are selfish and care about no one but themselves. And many of you are to old to know that the pride of the high school is based off of the motto, "Tradition, honor and excellence in the Academics, Arts and ATHLETICS" We are clearly fine with the academics and arts as we continuously are recognizing dozens of students in both areas. Also, our high school was ranked among the best which clearly states that we are making progress with our academics. It is the athletics that are suffering because they no longer have a nice field to play on and it is a disgrace to see other towns come in here and bash us for the poor quality. It is time the narrow minded elderly of this community grow a pair and support the kids for once because it is LONG OVERDUE!
laidbackluke July 13, 2012 at 02:40 PM
And as a side note, many of the elderly are to selfish to realize that they are the problem because they continuously shoot down any idea that has to do with the kids!
Ted Whittemore July 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Hmmm, somebody isn't so laid back! Well, insults aside, I have yet to see an objective comparative assessment that makes a strong case for artificial turf. I have heard strong opinions and heated talk, but have seen no details about other schools (high schools, I assume) that provide artificial turf nor do I know that this is necessary. Anyone who wants this is free to make the case. Less opinion, more facts. Who has artificial turf? Why do we need it? How will it hurt us if we don't get it?Which sports are affected? How many kids play the sports that are affected? Remember, even though we have a 2% cap on property tax increases, that isn't a license to increase our taxes by 2% each year and we are struggling to balance our budget. Half a million bucks, which is the figure being suggested, is a lot of money. More than 5 teachers for a single year, all expenses included. Most residents (I think) don't want a very expensive athletics specific "improvement" without a good solid case for the necessity of the expense. Which I have yet to see. Make the case publicly without the arm waving and strong talk, and people will listen, otherwise ...
laidbackluke July 13, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Who has turf? Butler, boonton, west milford, vernon, mountain lakes, pequannock....every town around us! Why do we need it? Because the fields we have now are in terrible condition and many of them are pushing the border of unplayable. How will it hurt us? Well I'm not sure if it affects property values or any of that but what I can say is that if i had to redo everything, given the fields and all of that, I would move to another town comparable to ours (like Mountain Lakes) that has just as good a school and the community supports every aspect of the school from academics to athletics. People look at our town as a joke that we do not have a turf field. Which sports are affected? Every sport that requires a field (football, soccer-girls and boys, lacrosse-boys and girls). How many kids play the affected sports? Welll football is a good 40 kids, soccer is probably pushing 80(boys and girls combined) and lacrosse is probably around 50(boys and girls combined). That is only at the high school level though. When the field is not being used by the school, every other youth sport can benefit from it at one point in time. And the major question of paying for it? Well if anybody followed this story, they put together a council that would be willing to fundraise.
Larry D. July 13, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I don't live in Kinnelon. But the beautiful new field in Butler, only a couple of years old, is grass, not turf.
Debbie O'Neill July 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
And it already looks horrible and is not being maintained properly. It's a real shame that people are so short-sighted and narrow-minded...
Ktown July 13, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Yes Butler has a grass field but how many sports are played on that field. I have heard that they are having a problem with drainage.
tough turf July 13, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I don't have a problem with the turf, I have a problem with the short sighted council that poo-pooed the idea to turf the HS field years ago, even with private donations going toward the cost! Now, the same council wants the turf. AND, they are spewing out mis-information without even hiring an engineer first! Look at the old hockey rink that they decided to rip up to create more practice fields and found out it'll cost more than they anticipated to haul it out of here! These are the guys running our town?! Why didn't they create more rec areas in the town when they were planning these new developments? To have a street named after them? it could've been a ball field!
steve aungst jr July 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I have to agree...we don't need turf. We have a better field than most school systems, and as long as we pay the taxes we do and teachers are let go, the last thought should ne about turf. How about trimming the overgrowth along the roads, and applying the "turf" money to enforcing the speeding issues in Fayson Lakes, and like mentioned above, the roads need repairs. Kids have played on natural grass since the beginning of sports, Kinnelon athletes can do so just fine.
Mike July 14, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I don't have a problem with putting in a turf field, but this should not be a top priority in this economic environment? Let's be real, I'm sure we have residents in town who are just making ends meet and this governing body wants to spend money like we are back in the .com era. I hate to disagree with Councilman Freda , but a turf field is NOT a necessity! Not at this time. As far as the rec field behind the municipal building goes, how about purchasing a few dump truck loads of top soil, re-grading, and installing a sprinkler system?!
JB July 14, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I have 2 children in the Kinnelon school system and my vote is for teachers and academics. If we have to cut back on teachers then we should not be wasting money on plastic grass!
mb July 14, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Anyone concerned about the toxicity of synthetic turf? http://rockvillecentre.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-my-concerns-about-synthetic-turf
Anti mayor and council July 14, 2012 at 09:55 PM
This council needs to have their heads examined. They are a reactive bunch that change direction which ever way the wind blows. Our current Mayor wanted the Lacrosse coach fired when his son got no playing time and when he didn't get his way he was anti School Board and was anti turf field. So someone on the council must have a kid in town that needs to use a field. Jim don't knock on my door for a donation.
Coolio July 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Maybe the council should pass another ridiculous ordinance like the Rec kids can only play on artificial turf. In the end us taxpayers will foot the bill for something unnecessary, something we can not afford. The current Mayor and council and tax and spend liberals. They used to brag about how the kept the tax rate flat but the truth is they kept increasing spending and now has caught up to them, Now the want to say you can not put solar panels on your roof even if your home is not visible from the street or a neighbors property. This council just keeps adding laws to the books that do not get enforced and spend our hard earned money like it grows on trees. They do it for the paycheck and some health reimbursements. It is disgusting.
Retired July 15, 2012 at 02:51 PM
This is the problem with having council people living in Smoke Rise, they have no concept of how the rest of us live. It's all about him and his quest to become Mayor.
What a Crock July 15, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Maybe if the developer of the Estates was persuaded to build parks instead of naming streets after the San Fillippo family and former Mayor we would not be in this mess.
Andy July 15, 2012 at 04:23 PM
To What a Crock: My Father;who "San Filippo Way" was named for and the former Mayor Glen Sisco; gave multiple decades of their time for the good of Kinnelon. The tributes to them were out of respect. Please in the future, before you spew inaccuracies and venom in regards to anyone or their family's; living or dead, I would ask you to check your facts and your Kinnelon history. It would also be my absolute pleasure to discuss this issue, in depth, with you, "tough turf" or any one else that feels they have a better way or how we should do things. I can be reached at: asanfilippo@kinnelonboro.org
laidbackluke July 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
To Mr. Aungst and anyone else who thinks, "We have a better field than most school systems" think again. That is a very ignorant statement and shows how up to date you are on this situation because in fact we have one of the worst fields in the numerous towns that surround us! And to everyone else who thinks that their tax dollars are going towards this field, you to, think again! (or read previous articles). You are all so worried about putting the money towards teachers and academics when in fact none of the money put towards this field has any effect on your tax dollars because in fact that were ready to implement a committee to raise money from private donations, etc. to build the field. Teachers and academics are not a problem in this community as test scores have improved almost every year. And to all the people that are shooting down, you clearly are misinformed or that ignorant on this situation or just don't give a crap about the kids. We have sacrificed to much in this community on behalf of the elderly because they don't like whatever the youth want to do and it is time our community stops suffering because of that. Also, kudos to Mr. San Filippo and the rest on the council for the numerous things and vast amount of time and effort they have put into this community.
Talk Turf July 17, 2012 at 07:53 PM
This is just another example of poor planning by the supposed leaders of the Boro. The council lives for the moment and the next election. I hope they raise the money for Turf and I hope they also raise enough to replace it in 10 years. When field of dreams started years ago the economy was stronger and unemployment was low and they could not raise the money then. Now we have high unemployment, declining markets and municipal real estate taxes growing and out pacing the increased cost of living. The council lived large while the rate base grew and spent the spoils. The council increased spending by 75% of the last decade and they used to brag about the tax rate. Instead if being conservative looking forward they lived in the moment. We have high taxes, poor services and terrible roads. I also think names if streets should be reserved for real hero's not elected or appointed officials.
SoftwareDiva1 July 18, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Artificial turf is very hard on the athletes. Do we really want to ruin our kids knees? Mountain Lakes may have one - but guess what Mountain Lakes also did away with extra charges for any kid that wants to participate in sports and other after school activities this year. What fees did Kinnelon eliminate? What activities and classes did we bring back? If you want to do something for sports at KHS, get rid of Rosenberg. We need an athletic director that is willing to make tough decisions on coaches and programs. this is what really matters - if the coaches have the emotional intelligence of 10 year olds and have minimal knowledge of the sport, it does NOT matter what the field is made of! We need to hire coaches based on their ability to coach, mentor and knowledge of the sport. We need to stop giving preference to KHS teachers and start giving the job to the most qualified! BTW - did anyone notice the article about the town survey? it is going to take somewhere between $150K and $250K to get the maps fix - and the new major - Collins says - "we remember that we have been paying the current company to make ongoing revisions and number of years ago. We don't know why so many revisions are needed now". What is this - "we remembered" - Who is responsible for making sure we are getting what we paid for? I bet if was Mr. Collins' money he would be making sure he was getting the revisions he was paying for for years! time for a change!
Stay out of public eye July 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Maybe you should call ASF privately. He or any o the council will never discuss these issues in a public meeting on the record.
Citizen1 September 17, 2012 at 10:37 PM
But Butler has a truf field.
Citizen1 September 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Dear Mr. Freda, clearly the, penny wise speak the loudest on this issue here, but take heart. There are a vast number of citizens in this town who actually experience the deplorable conditions of the few existing fields here and realize how Kinnelon, a supposedly affluent commuity, has fallen woefully behind all the surrounding towns, to the point of embassasment. Hundreds of Kinnelon children (there are over 200 in the Kinnelon Soccer Club alone, and high school football and varsity and JV boys soccer and varsity and JV girls soccer and varsity boys lacrosse and varsity girls lacrosse and club lacrosse in which hundreds of children participate) are all being short changed by the lack of adequate facilities in a town that is growing not receeding in the number of children participating in sports. The few fields we have here are pounded into dust through over use, and remain in deplorable condition because they can't be taken out of service. Every surrounding town has at least one turf field, all but poor old Kinnelon. So please, don't be duanted by all the short sighted, ill-informed and out of touch, nay sayers here. We that volunteer and work with Kinnelon's children, and experience the sad state of the towns fields first hand, thank you for your efforts and appreciate anything you can do to remedy this untenable, deplorable situaton. We need a turf field and we need it yesterday.
Rich September 24, 2012 at 07:42 PM
WE Don't need it. SOME want it. Raise your hands..who WANTS higher taxes? This is being shoved down the throats of hard working residents. The Choices we make on election day do make a difference. How about this challenge: get off our butts, and run for council, and show the town that we are not ALL "rich snobs", who only care for THEIR agenda.


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