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Moorestown Moves Ahead with Athletic Field Improvements

Town manager Scott Carew says the $4 million project could be partially paid for using business sponsorships and naming rights.

Township council gave town manager Scott Carew its blessing Monday to seek bids for improvements to three township athletic fields.

The project, otherwise known as the K.I.D.S. Initiative, includes upgrades to (new turf field, parking improvements), Wesley Bishop South (irrigation and refurbishment of the grass field, fencing), and (drainage improvements, new lights).

The township has estimated it will cost around $4 million to do all three fields, including interest.

Carew described the project as an “investment” for the township.

“I do think the fields are a benefit beyond the direct user,” he said. “It is a very important amenity that young families looking to move to the area, it’s right near the top of the list. Our fields do not stand up well to the surrounding towns. They just don’t.”

The township’s plans to use money from the Open Space Trust Fund (OSTF) to pay for the field improvements among a large contingent of residents who argued the funds should only be used for acquiring and maintaining open space for conservation, based on their interpretation of the interpretive statement for the 2007 Open Space referendum.

Township officials saw otherwise.

Carew has proposed a potential compromise: The creation of a “recreation trust account,” funded through business sponsorships and naming rights, that could be used to (at least partially) pay for the improvement projects, as well as ongoing field maintenance.

“The project will be bonded,” he explained. “How that’s paid down, we’ll have options. We’ll evaluate every year how best to serve that debt.”

Carew said it’s possible, depending on how well this proposed recreation trust account does, there could be years where the township doesn’t have to use any OSTF money to pay down the debt on the field projects. The various athletic clubs in town would help manage the trust account.

“I’m pretty sure I have unanimous support among the sports groups,” said Carew, though creating the framework for the trust account is still in the preliminary stages, he added, and there’s no way yet to tell how much it would raise.

The township collects approximately $464,000 each year through the Open Space tax levy of 1¢ per $1,000 of assessed value. There’s presently about $1.6 million in the OSTF. Carew said the current incarnation of the Open Space tax lasts until 2028. The anticipated revenue from the tax over the next 17 years is roughly $13 million, according to Carew, with about $11 million in anticipated spending, which includes funding the entire K.I.D.S. project from the OSTF.

However, the $11 million in estimated expenditures does not include any new open space acquisition, nor does it take into account the potential devaluation of the township’s total ratable base if it goes through with a reassessment, which .

Mark Hines, co-founder of Moorestown Save Open Space (MSOS), a group advocating the use of Open Space funds solely for open space acquisition and maintenance, accurately pointed out if the value of the ratable base drops, so does the amount of money collected through the Open Space tax.

Carew acknowledged, in order for the township to continue collecting the same amount of revenue, the Open Space tax would need to be raised if property values drop (a near certainty given the market).

Some members of the audience also questioned the wisdom of installing artificial turf at Wesley Bishop North, since it would possibly need to be replaced in another 10 to 15 years.

James Ruddiman, an associate with Alaimo, the project engineers, said the typical lifespan of a turf field is up to 12 years. But with proper maintenance and somewhat limited use it could last for several more, he added.

Carew said the three fields will be bid out as separate projects.

Occupy Moorestown December 13, 2011 at 05:46 PM
WASTE WASTE WASTE MILLIONS wasted for designs STREETSCAPING we dont need BUILDINGS we dont need FIELDS we dont need LAND we dont need LIQUOR we dont need SPEND SPEND SPEND WHO CARES its not your money right WAKE UP
HomeBrew December 13, 2011 at 06:59 PM
The sky is falling ... on our Open Space fund. Watch it here: http://homebrewsjavajive.blogspot.com/2011/12/sky-is-falling.html
Secret Santa December 13, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Nicely made my dear elf. How about the other side, do you have a counter video or comment? I like to be entertained while my sleigh is being set for Christmas eve
riddle me this December 13, 2011 at 07:42 PM
that's a beautiful sunset homebrew, what a waste. shame you didn't speak up last night and tell council what you really think. oh wait maybe it was your idea to lauch the red herring about selling a ball field to baseball. that was a good one.
Mike December 13, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Hi AB, you may have missed my point....actually i will happily write a check,,,not a big one because i dont have deep pockets and because i already pay my taxes in town (which include a tax for rec), plus the various fees that the clubs/rec pay. So, its not other peoples money...its all our money, and we already pay alot and should expect our township staff to maintain and when needed invest in our assets.... streets, fields, libraries, etc.
Secret Santa December 13, 2011 at 09:37 PM
I think you should ask "lenola ruler" what he thinks, oh but wait we may need a lawyer to figure this one out? What dis you say at the council meeting last night or wait, maybe he wasn't there? Hoho
Mike December 13, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Homebrew..... (by the way, liquor referendum wasnt for home alcohol production!) per your message and video,,,, we dont have an Open Space Fund....we have an Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation trust fund- i respect your "preference" for certain uses- but stop the lies and misleading rhetoric. we voted in overwhelming numbers to support the referendum, which was all clearly spelled out. People should have voted "no" if they didnt want some of those uses. they voted yes in big numbers. get over it.
Secret Santa December 13, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Ok your point taken Michael . I'll give Homebrew a 30 sec rebuttal ...
riddle me this December 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM
mike riddle me this...what would you do if you owned a football team and the coach who was supposed to be coaching the team from the sidelines continued to send in plays to the huddle that only a couple of players could hear and then acted shocked when the team looked confused and disfunctional on the field?
utr December 13, 2011 at 10:13 PM
what if the other players weren't interested in what the coach or his assistants had to say even though they are in large part the reason their on the field in the first place.
Watcher December 13, 2011 at 10:28 PM
according to carew, the taxes raised over the next 17 years will be 13,000,000 and some think we shouldn't spend some of that on recreation improvements. 13,000,000 dollars and the only open space people suggest to buy is a house that they want to tear down. are you kidding me? with that much money, we should fix all the parks or give it back
Black and Gold December 14, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Or maybe the other players stopped listening because the coaching staff is out of touch and needs to retire. It also reminds me of a coach who likes to take all the credit when the team wins but blames the players when they lose.
riddle me this December 14, 2011 at 01:21 AM
utr, riddle me this...isn't it the fans that the game is really played for, not the legacy of the coaches?
utr December 14, 2011 at 03:25 AM
In most cases I'd say you are right. But in this town there the fans don't matter. "win at all costs" rules the day. Sad really.
HomeBrew December 14, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Thumbs up to Mr. Carew for seeking innovative, alternative ways to fund field improvements. But thumbs down for his hints that selling naming rights, sponsorships, and signage will offset, in any substantial way, the enormous expense of the proposed new syn turf field and "The Project Formerly Known as KIDS". As this oldie-but-goodie video shows, even the Recreation Advisory Committee couldn't agree on this "divsive" issue. http://homebrewsjavajive.blogspot.com/2011/04/say-what.html Here's an idea: Solicit sponsorships and sell signage and naming rights for the existing syn turf field (you know, the one we're still paying for) and for all the field complexes in town. Then we'll be able to judge if Mr. Carew's idea has real merit, or if it's just a zombie canard that won't die. Oh, and be sure to check out the latest video. Every time you do, an angel gets its wings. http://homebrewsjavajive.blogspot.com/2011/12/sky-is-falling.html
riddle me this December 14, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Homebrew, riddle me this...are you going to badger carew to solicit sponsors and sell signage for the library before the building moves forward?
Mtown Talker December 14, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Whoa! Wait, do we already have a turf field? Was that bonded for 15 years too? I'm confused. Is turf good or bad? Good day
Main Street December 14, 2011 at 06:08 PM
What's up with the Christmas decorations on Main St? How do we make Moorestown look a Christmas festive town? When do the Lenola Christmas decor get a facelift? What does it take? It seems that Our Lady of Good Counsel has it right!
Fix 'em December 14, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Ok what if we sod the field that we are talking about after draining repairs? We could have garden centers and landscapers donate. Homebrew sponsored field?
plebz December 14, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Might be mistaken, but I believe the Main Street decorations are the grand result of a lot of fuss, fluff (or lack there of) and committee-izing. Lenola's oldies but goodies look better. For once, glad Lenola was ignored.
Grapevine December 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM
hey home brew old buddy i just heard it thru the grapevine that u is looking for some good old boys to run against them gbt fellas in a primary how do i get me one of them spots i promise to do whatever you tell me to do and i promise not to tell them demucrat fellas that its 2005 all over again
HomeBrew December 15, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Mr. Hines raised a critical issue that should not be buried or forgotten. Revaluation means devaluation. The township's ratable base will shrink, probably beginning in 2013, and so will receipts from the Open Space tax levy. Thus, if I'm understanding correctly, council will need to increase the Open Space tax in order to collect the same amount we're currently collecting, about $464,000 annually. Given the looming revaluation and consequent reduction in Open Space tax receipts, how can we "have it all" (adequate funding for open space acquisition and maintenance AND another million-dollar syn-turf field, etc.) without raising taxes?
Grapevine December 15, 2011 at 08:10 PM
home brew there you is! got any room on that ticket for a good old boy?
Foxey December 15, 2011 at 08:23 PM
When isn't $13 million of our tax dollars enough on top of $20 million already spent? So if what you say is true and a reevaluation lowers values, it will also lower the value of available open space. DA! Do you know of any more farmers who want to sell? If we keep losing values and students, we might just need some more homes to be built hopefully some for low and moderate income folks that have been kept out of Moorestown.
HomeBrew December 16, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Point is, there won't be $13M after revaluation; there will be less, maybe a considerable amount less. .
Homey the Clown December 16, 2011 at 02:59 PM
actually point is whether its 12 or 13 million, its a boatload of our tax dollars on top of what has already been spent...in this econcomy and in a town that has major issues (have you been on main st or at the mall)....we need more businesses and taxpayers.... buying homes for sale and bulldozing them isn't open space....its time to spread the wealth.....any good ol boys disagree?
Secret Santa December 19, 2011 at 04:48 AM
Hey now "homey", "clown" and grapevine" , I'm getting close to open my stash of coal. We may need to consult "a lawyer" for your strategy. What primary? Do you know all three gallo, button, testa are all running? Is one not running? Clear the air, or wait .. You are a dem? If so, you'd root on gbt in the general over any dems? As for what is understood the three are running again, so I'm guessing no primary, and guessing that you are starting unsubstantiated rumors . Or maybe you want ye three to announce something? Or should there be placeholders, maybe you may be familiar with? Now, let me not start looking for that coal.
Homey the Clown December 19, 2011 at 01:01 PM
riddle me this secret santa....don't you have some elf friends who can tell you who is running?
Secret Santa December 19, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Oh man mr "homey clown" perhaps them glasses should be checked.? You are guessing right, I believe, there is a secret with what you asked. What game do you suggest should happen? Oh those little elves? Ha, is that anoter little secret? Do you know what your talking about? I'm impressed how obsessed you are with the republican candidates. Why is that? Is this little elf up to something? As of right now, GBT are running for reelection so that's all you need to be concerned about, eh? As I said, I'm headed back to look for that stash of coal because I may need to distribute. Hohoho!
Secret Santa December 19, 2011 at 05:31 PM
There was a rumor swirling that the apparent future moorestown liquor board rep is thinking of a exotic liquor establishment coming soon, perhaps "Harley davidson Cafe". And there it is his own thought of a "biker bar". Any other wild thoughts ?

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