Town council shot down an addition to the Wesley Bishop North field project Monday, wary of increasing the cost of the project without private dollars to fund it.
The Lacrosse Club requested a $36,815 change order for the project to add a third, natural grass field so it has more room for games and practices.
When the project was initially conceived, the engineer designed the field so it would have two 165x210-foot turf fields side by side—a design supposedly agreed upon by all the parties involved, including the township and the athletic clubs.
However, due to the immense popularity of the Lacrosse Club—which currently has between 450 to 500 kids enrolled, according to recreation director Theresa Miller—the organization is seeking a third field.
"They're struggling now with where to put everyone," said Miller, "and they're growing leaps and bounds."
Township manager Scott Carew explained the Lacrosse Club, in addition to using the two synthetic turf fields already underway, wants to extend the playing area to include a natural grass field on the eastern side (near the skate park). Doing so would require excavating and regrading the ground there—hence the $36,815 price tag.
But council wasn't inclined to approve the change order, citing the fact that the athletic clubs have yet to come through with any money for the $1.4 million field project. Carew said the Moorestown Youth Football Association and the Lacrosse Club .
The clubs haven't started paying that money, but financial officer Tom Merchel clarified that the township hasn't begun to pay down the debt service yet either. He said the money from the clubs should start coming in this year.
Still, council members were not swayed.
"At this point, I'm not inclined to commit another $37,000 for a change order when we haven't seen a single dime for the project that's already approved," said Councilwoman Victoria Napolitano.
Council unanimously rejected the change order request.
Last month, council approved two less expensive change orders: $5,104.56 for utility work, and $16,325 to install fixed football goalposts.
The president of the Lacrosse Club did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.