Glen Rock September 30, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • Page 3 Council seeks public input on artificial turf by John Koster The Glen Rock Council has advised a group of residents who want to purchase and install artificial turf on borough land at the Lower Doremus sports field that other members of the general public must have a chance to be heard before the council endorses or rejects the plan. The council also noted that no significant amount of borough money would be committed to the project. The group asked that Glen Rock co-sign a $75,000 loan for engineering and environmental studies, with the $1.5 million for the purchase and installation of the artificial turf to be raised by sports groups’ donations and a townwide mail solicitation. Councilman Mike O’Hagan concurred with his peers, notably Councilman, and Mayor John van Keuren, who disliked the idea of co-signing anything in the present economic crunch. O’Hagan suggested that the turf advocates negotiate a minimum cost for engineering and environmental studies and then try to get the money from the various sports groups, rather than burden the borough in tough times. “Don’t we have $35,000 in the recreation commission?” O’Hagan asked. O’Hagan supported the plan on a conceptual basis, and hoped that any problems with the proposal could be solved to improve playing space for athletes outside the school program. “These are good problems -- to have kids who want to be active,” O’Hagan said. “We want our kids to be active in sports, we want them to be active in the band, we want our kids to be active in extracurricular activities instead of hanging around downtown looking for things and getting into trouble.” Art Pazan, chairman of the borough’s Finance Committee, said that more field space was an excellent idea, but that any burden on the community as a whole was not a good idea, given the challenges of the present economy and already high property taxes. “It seems there is a need for a turf field, but I’d have to say not at this time,” Pazan said. “Financially, I don’t think we have the ability to fund this project right now…If we had the money, the borough might do the whole project themselves.” While borough officials were not ready to commit public funds to the project, they remained open to the artificial turf field proposal if some planted buffer space were left between the artificial turf and Diamond Brook. “Our plan was not to make it bigger than we have to,” said field proponent Michael Stewart. “Our plan was not to use the entire field.” Stewart said a zone of natural grass and possibly other plantings between the artificial turf and the brook would fit well with the tentative plans. “We’re not looking for any public funds for this project,” he added. Mayor John van Keuren smiled, responding, “Say that again.” The artificial turf advocates presented a one-page statement and some arguments in favor of the project. The turf, they said, would take some of the intense pressure off Glen Rock’s natural grass sports fields and would be available in almost all weather situations. Stewart received a mild criticism from Council Member Pazan when Stewart said sports activities outside the school system have increased 10-fold. Pazan said that when he was involved in the baseball program 10 years ago, there had been 1,000 team members and he did not think there were 10,000 team members today. Stewart countered that the increased demands by organized girls’ sports teams had, in fact, increased scheduling pressures even if the numbers of enrolled athletes did not indicate a 10-fold increase. When Stewart told the council he was sure the turf advocates could raise $1.5 million through voluntary donations, several council members who have done fundrais- ing for a number of years said that recent efforts had been discouraging. When Stewart said he could produce figures showing that artificial turf is safer than natural grass, Irene Brown, a member of the audience, said that her husband Bill Brown had done extensive studies and found the reverse is true. Artificial turf, she said, produced more injuries than natural turf, especially friction burns to the athletes’ skin. Another resident in the audience said the cost of $1.5 million for artificial turf that would predictably last for 10 (continued on page 6) Slim Down Now! Super October Savings! s. Call for detail at DIET WEIGHT LOSE CENTER® LOSE 10-20-30 POUNDS or more! 201-652-4447 MIDLAND PARK 24 Godwin Avenue FABULOUS INSTANT SHAPE UP PLAN Get Started Now With Our CALL NOW! 1973 - 2009 36 Years of Excellence 9-30-09 DietCtr-SlimDown(color)2x3.5----ads/Diet Center-MP 2col x 3-1/2” Ester... from Nancy (rev: Janine 9/30/09) REVISED 3