A new report on Rutherford's playing fields issued by Brad Park from Rutgers University lays out a plan for maintenance of the borough's parks that involves re-seeding the fields, performing an irrigation assessment across town and beginning a course of regular soil samples.
New report issues recommendations for field maintenance in Rutherford, NJ
BY DANIEL O’KEEFE
A new report on Rutherford‘s playing fields issued by a field and turf specialist at Rutgers University lays out a plan for maintenance of the borough’s parks that involves re-seeding the fields, performing an irrigation assessment across town and beginning a course of regular soil samples.
The report, which the council appropriated $500 to pay for earlier this year, was performed by Brad Park, the Sports Turf Research and Education coordinator at Rutgers University. In mid-March, Park took soil samples at the borough’s parks, including the baseball diamonds at Memorial Field, to produce an assessment of the town’s fields and a recommendation for maintenance in the near future.
The report recommends over-seeding the fields with new grass seed, particularly the areas that have been most worn out by frequent use, re-fertilizing some of the fields, and acquiring some basic equipment so the town can assess the effectiveness of its own irrigation.
Borough Administrator Corey Gallo said the maintenance recommendations in the report ought to cost about $30,000, an amount he planned to encourage the council to appropriate for the fields at its April 12 meeting.
Gallo also said he plans to approach the council with a proposal to re-rubberize the track at Memorial Field. The track was built in 2005 and was estimated to last for about six years before it needed resurfacing. Gallo said that, according to an estimate the borough received, the track has about 12 to 16 months left before serious damage is done: what would be a roughly $100,000 job could turn into a $350,000 job if the track’s asphalt surface begins to crack and break down.
“The council’s going to have to spend the money,” he said. “We’ve got to fix these things. We can’t let it go.”
Last year the council voted down a proposal to apply for Green Acres grant funding for a five-year roughly $3.6 million project to upgrade Memorial Field. The project was very large in scope including re-sodding the fields, replacing lights and sprinkler systems, re-orienting baseball diamond nine to reduce sun glare in players’ eyes and outfitting Tryon Field with a new building for bathrooms and men and women’s locker rooms. The project also entailed altering the parking lot to reduce the total asphalt coverage and increase the amount of parking by about 25 spaces. The project also included a resurfacing project for the track.
The proposal was voted down on the grounds that it could commit the borough to too large an investment over the next few years.
Councilman John Parnofiello, the new liaison to the recreation department, said the council should reconsider applying for Green Acres funding.
“We could have modified the numbers depending on what Green Acres actually gave us,” said Parnofiello. “We never even got to submit it.”
In the meantime, though, Parnofiello said he expects the borough should move forward with the recommendations in park’s report.
“This is really nominal compared to that [last year’s proposed Green Acres project],” he said. “This is just maintaining what we currently have… Obviously it’s been a difficult winter and now all the teams and the leagues are getting antsy. It’s April and everyone wants to get moving.”