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Sports Clubs Commit $1 Million to Field Improvements

Council has until the end of next week to decide on how to proceed with the projects.

Several township sports clubs have come together to commit a little more than $1 million to the athletic fields improvement project.

Mayor John Button said the township has until the end of next week—60 days from receiving the bids—to decide on the remaining projects. A special meeting had been scheduled for this past Monday, but was called off to give the clubs more time to firm up their funding commitments.

“I didn’t feel we would have complete enough information (to have the meeting this past Monday),” said Button.

According to information provided by Kevin Loftus, member of the Open Space Committee and , the combined private funding commitments from the township youth sports clubs to date comes to roughly $1.1 million—a little less than half of the total project cost (minus interest, which brings the cost to $2.6 million).

Those commitments are primarily a combination of annual contributions and sponsorships, as well as in-kind gifts and one-time cash contributions. The following is a partial list of the club commitments:

  • Moorestown Youth Baseball Federation (MYBF): Annual contribution — $15,000/year for 15 years; sponsorships — $72,500
  • Moorestown Lacrosse Club: Annual contribution — $10,000/year for 15 years; sponsorships — $45,000/year for 10 years
  • Moorestown Youth Football Association: Annual contribution — $10,000/year for 15 years; sponsorships — amount not yet committed

MYBF president Bob McCarthy and lacrosse club president Kelly Dalmass noted they’ve only been pursuing sponsorships for the last few weeks and expect to get more. McCarthy said the presidents of all the sports clubs are actively working with Councilwoman Stacey Jordan and parks and recreation director Theresa Miller, as well as Taylor Design Group, .

to improve , which is used primarily by youth baseball. McCarthy said once it’s all said and done he believes the club can secure enough private funding to cover the “lion’s share” of the project cost ($380,000, interest not included).

“We are very near and probably will be at dollar-for-dollar, which would not impact the taxpayer one cent,” McCarthy said regarding the Pryor Park project.

However, improvements to —which have yet to be approved by council—will likely have to be paid for with some public money, whether through bonding, from the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund (also known as the Open Space Trust Fund), or a combination of the two.

Councilman Chris Chiacchio, along with Councilwoman Stacey Jordan— who attended last week’s special meeting—would prefer not to use a single public dollar (particularly from the trust fund) to pay for the project.

“The K.I.D.S. Task Force could have raised all the money,” Chiacchio said. “At this point, we have to identify things that need to be done … You have to have priorities.”

The councilman said he doesn’t particularly see the point in holding more special meetings on the subject because the members of council have all already made clear their positions on the issue.

“There’s no new information that would warrant me reconsidering my position,” said Chiacchio, who believes holding more meetings on this already contentious issue will “further divide the township … and it’s a shame. It’s just one issue.”

Button said if council were to move forward on all the field improvement projects, they wouldn’t have to make a decision about whether to use money from the trust fund until next year because all that’d have to be paid this year would be an initial down payment of about $140,000.

Though the mayor conceded it could be possible to get an extension beyond the end of next week to make a decision, he doesn't want it to come to that.

"We need to move forward and make this decision and move on,” Button said, adding he hopes council can come to a resolution at Monday's meeting. 

KJL April 28, 2012 at 01:50 AM
If you are asking me if i trust the volunteers in this town to meet the commitments they make? Yes! If you ask me if I trust the corporations that all have local ties and live in town that have agreed to step up? Yes! If you ask me if I trust the clubs to meet their obligations? Yes!
KJL April 28, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I assume you are talking about the clubs that are compromised of our children and the parents? I doubt that the kids are going away, I doubt the kids will stop wanting to play sports and I doubt the parents will stop supporting their kids.
KJL April 28, 2012 at 02:06 AM
The turf has a 12 year warranty. Given the local climate, the manufacturers expect it to last longer. And when it does need to be replaced, it will only require 30% of the original installation costs since the perimeter curb and the entire drainage system will not degrade. So that means that the 800k in turf costs now will require roughly 250k in 15 years. See that's the funny thing about the "life span"argument, with a 30% replacement cost, the life span issue becomes moot. As an example, the township replaces a road and bonds it for 15 years but a municipal road only lasts 10-12 years but no one complains. Heres the kicker....when the road needs to be replaced in 12 years, it requires a 100% replacement cost. So turf makes more sense than roads from an investment perspective. Another argument refuted. At what point will someone be honest and admit this is all about politics?
Dave April 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
To clarify, has town council in the past six years or so presented a plan for our roads? As kjl has mentioned that a town usually has a long range plan of what roads each year should be resurfaced. But kjl's point of road resurfacing plans, should also be used with our athletic parks. Townncouncil and Recreation should present a plan whereas, 2013 lenola fields will be done, 2014 Wesley bishop, 2015 dr Pryor park, 2016 memorial fields, and so on (not Necessarily in that order. The town can focus on every detail of each parts andnits "needs", and rac and towncouncil can discuss. This can make athletic fields always an ongoing process. The athletic fields will always have attention by rac and towncouncil. As it stands no formal plan has been set in the past 6 years. We can understand the notion of an "all at once " approach because recent formal plan, but take the "rotating" approach as kjl suggested with roads and pick the fields that needs priority as the ones that Are first in the years of rotation.
Keith Omlor April 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM
FYI, a long range plan was created a few years ago. Former Township manager, Chris Schultz, charged the RAC to develop a plan due to the constant requests by all of the sports clubs and residents to improve the deplorable conditions of the parks/fields (some even created a website attacking the township). We were also asked to priortize all of the needs and organize them into phases. Phase 1, which soon came to be know as the KIDS initiative, was addressing the biggest safety concerns and largest utilization for our children. Fullerton Park and the Skate Park were also part of the original Phase 1 and thanks to the "community", including the so-called special interest groups, they have been addressed. Unfortunately, this topic has divided this town when it was intended to improve it. The parks are no different then the roads, town hall and library. Councilman Chiacchio said, "the kids are sill having fun and still learning their sport" and that is true. But if we use that logic, then their is no need to build a town hall or library or fix our roads. Everyone is still paying their taxes and the township employees are still working every day, kids are still reading and adults are still using the computers at the library and everyone in this town can still drive from point A to point B without injury. But we don't live in this town for mediocre facilities.
Keith Omlor April 28, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Schools are the number 1 reason everyone moves to this town but these other things (depending on your interest) are a close second. Do we need a brand new building in the center of town? Do we need a libray that has a cafe? The answer is no. Would it be nice and more convenient? Sure. Here is my point: if we can't afford to improve the field conditions, then we can't afford any of these other luxuries and if that's the decision of Council then so be it. But don't tell me one is more important then the other and the "special interest" and "elitists" should pay for it if they want it.
Ed Nice April 28, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Hey Keith be careful these fake posters dont like to talk about facts or answer questions. Like heres one. Garwood and Miller met with Moorestownsports.com group way back in 2008 long before BGT even ran and promised a plan to fix the fields then garwood was chair of KIDS and we got a plan. Only thing left is to do go with the plan. Now garwood is running for council on a record of lies already just like he used to be or turf and now hes not. he didnt even deliver from the 2008 work and somehow he says he will LOWER TAXES AND BUILD TOWN HALL!!!! I keep waiting for a response. LOL!!! http://www.moorestownsports.com/minutes/MINUTES8608.PDF
Dave April 28, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I hear what you're saying Keith, just staying on the subject of athletic fields and parks. And athletic fields /parks are "no different" than roads. Good to see that rac developed the plan so now, like a roads plan, let's take te kids plan and have a yearly plan or rotation as explained before and decide what fields/parks will be up for frconsideration. This way these fields the children and others play on are not put on backburner or neglected. What towncouncil and rac need to decide is What field/park goes first. From what was understood, that town council was going with dr Pryor park first, 2012 then the lights and maple Dawson and Jeff young, then WB 2013, memorial field with new track 2014, lenola fields 2015, etc . This plan will always have the parks slated for The budget. - as for the town hall complex, I don't know why they knocked that building down. Maybe they should just renovate the library at this point. If we are looking long range, They may be stuck to build a new town hall and a police and court next to it.
Keith Omlor April 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I agree Dave but all of the problems were considered "capital improvements" which we were told by the township are separate from the operating budget. The operating budget budgets for maintenance, not capital improvements. I also have little faith in the process you proposed. If that had been done for the past 10+ years we wouldn't even be having this conversation. If it were not for the sports clubs, the fields would be in worse condition then they currently are. We are at a place where major improvements needs to be made, not just bandaids. The township has not invested what has been needed for far too long. The good news is that the clubs and residents are still willing to pay for at least half of this project if Council would just make a commitment to doing the work. I guess it's a little blind faith on everyone's part. Council doesn't seem to have faith that the clubs/residents/companies will step up and raise even more money and the clubs/residents/companies don't have faith that Council will follow through the remainder of the project after the first part gets done. If history is any indication, I would have faith in the clubs and residents. I know first hand through my involvement with Fullerton and The Community House that when the community is passionate about something, they come through.
Dave April 28, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Ok Keith we agree on most here. I stated 6 years you say 10 years of declining fields. I said 6 years in decline because someone I know stated the mid 2000's council didn't put rec fields and park into that "operating budget" as is it supposed to be. And before that he said towncouncil always had Rec fields and parks as a continued rotating operation of fields in their budget. Don't know why council since the mid 2000's to now haven't had a continuing plan for fields/parks? And now we are playing catch up to address a number ofissues. My suggestion of doing a rotating plan with fields/parks with the most need going in the first two years of the plan of six years or so. As kjl stated, we also need to have a road improvement plan for the next dozen years or so.
Ed Nice April 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Hey Dave the plan was WB North, Pryor and WB South because North handles the most kids and most sports. Lights didnt even show up until last year and part of the lights is for Pryor. Does anyone really think families move to town care about the building where they pay their high taxes they cannot afford or fields their kids play on, get healthy exercise and learn how to be part of a team and competition?? Our schools are number 1. Town hall isnt even in top 10!!!! How about we make the spot open space. We dont have to buy the land and we can use the OS/REC Fund to fix it up. NNT will like that wont he??? Jordan/Ciacco TOWN HALL TAXES OVER FIELDS FOR KIDS!!!
Ed Nice April 28, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Kevin it is all about politics. Jordan/ciacco promised town hall but they have to raise taxes to do it. They know it. You and I know it. that is why no one wants to talk about town hall or question where all the pledges or promises to pay for that come from especially since the answer is ZERO!!! Every question they ask about fields should be asked about town hall/library. Where is the money?? Where are the sponsors?? Where are the pledges?? How long will the HVAC last?? How long will carpet last??? 20 years or less even though bonded for more??? How many people USE town hall versue USE fields???? As I have said I am ok with a new town hall/library when we dont have to raise taxes to build it. The library could spend some of their $1.5 million they get to fix up the place. Over the past 10 years, they got $15 million and the building still looks the way it does. WHY??? Where did all that TAX money go????
Dave April 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Ed, who are you yelling at? Why so bold? As we said we are stuck with building a new town hall and maybe build a police court, better fix up the library instead. Better to do a rotating fields like the roads plan Year by year plan rather than all at once.
Ed Nice April 28, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Ahhh that should be obvious....... Jordan/Ciacco. By the way Dave the train is on the tracks and movin full steam a head. Their is no more waiting to get these fields done. No rotation. Maybe once they are done we can have them on a rotating maintenance program. But they need to be completed now! There is no reason to wait being the work can be done with no raise in taxes! I would agree with you if there was a raise in taxes but their isn't. With the clubs donations and sponsorship this project is going to cost 1.2 million to the town out of the rec trust fund. We have road projects that cost more than this and we don't even blink to get them done! My frustration is with Jordan/Ciacco who are not looking after the needs of the whole just a small portion and are more concerned with town hall which can not be done with out a tax hike. They do not want anything positive to happen while BGT are still in office!
HomeBrew April 28, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Monday's Town Council meeting agenda includes first reading of bond ordinance for Pryor Park improvements. Amount of bond left blank on agenda. http://www.moorestown.nj.us/filestorage/207/154/2143/488/3250/4-30-2012_FINAL.pdf
HomeBrew April 28, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Price tag on fields projects, including financing costs, is $4M+.
Keith Omlor April 28, 2012 at 09:48 PM
That we agree on. The civil dialogue is refreshing. Thank you.
KJL April 30, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Town hall is $27M
Tax Playa April 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM
$27 MM? Ridiculous! What is the return on that investment? Will anyone buy a house in Moorestown because we have a $27MM Town Majal? Why don't we go through all of the people who are going to work in that building and see if we can outsource them BEFORE we build the Town MAJAL?
Andy April 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I agree that we the people and council need to find a realistic approach. It appears what Dave said of rotating fund of fields makes sense . Maybe council could have dr Pryor park go first in the rotation this year, wb next year, and so on. "Dave" and Keith" that's the dialogue we need in an issue like this. I saw the agenda that homebrew posted, strange that they would post the ordinance without the funding source and the cost for Pryor park . At least the cost should be there and it could always be amended.
KJL April 30, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Ansy, I was not part of the rotation debate this weekend but I do not see the benfit to it. With construction costs at an all time low and with interest rates at 4% or lower, why not do the work now? You have corporate sponsors who are interested in supporting the WB North improvements now so why risk losing their support by delaying the project?
Andy April 30, 2012 at 01:38 PM
That sounds like a good point for the town hall complex with the low interest rates. That should be discussed. Kjl, this economy has been in a bad recession for the past four years. If dr Pryor park went this year, and wb went next year, that's not a significant amount of time. That's why you front load the rotation with the fields/parks with the highest "needs".
KJL April 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Ansy, With all due respect, I do not think you answered my question. Why wait? The funding won't change but the fields will continued to be played on n substandard condition. And pelase keep in mind that Pryor has jumped to the forefront because of the combination of club contribution and sponsorship commitments makes it nearly a zero cost to the Township. It has nothing to do with being the top priority or need. The Twp Manager accurately rated WB North as the top priority from a need and best value perspective.
KJL April 30, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Andy, I apologize for misspelling your name, twice. No offense intended.
Ed Nice April 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Andy, What Kevin is saying which you don't seem to be listening to as you read it, is the money is there. There is no reason to put the improvements on a rotating schedule. For this proposed work it makes no sense. After the work is completed and the fields are safer and in good repair I think your idea of making improvements no matter how small or big going forward at a rotating basis would be a worthy thing to look into. Bottom line is by the time this all gets paid for, there is a very small amount of money that will come from the tax payers of the town. The clubs have promised large sums of money each year and have commitments from sponsors for a large portion of this work. At the 12th hour of this job it makes no sense to try and change this going forward. Plan a head in the future so we as a town never have to deal with this again, I am all for, but the work needs to be done now while we have the money and as Kevin said labor is cheap. Also the reason why that does not work for the town hall or library would because there is no outside money to get the work done and it is going to be at least 5 times more expensive then the KIDS project. You can't compare the 2. One will cost the tax payers a tax hike and the KIDS project can be done at no further cost to the tax payers. Easy as that. !!! Remember Jordan/Ciacco don't want to burden the tax payers! And yes that is said tongue in cheek!
East Side Resident May 03, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I heard that the K.I.D.S. have scholarship funds for our children to play sports. can someone post the info so I can contact the 127 children and parents that I know that need this to join these clubs.
KJL May 03, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Most, if not all, of the sports clubs allow children to play for free if their parents cannot afford to pay the registration fees. On the Boards that I served on, the "scholarship" players were not disclosed to Board members and was handled confidentially between the Club President and its treasurer. I suggest you have the folks in need contact the respective club president and I am sure it will be handled.
East Side Resident May 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I have a new question. Who pays for the water to keep these fake fields from cracking and how much water does each field require?
Tax Playa May 08, 2012 at 09:22 PM
The same entity who pays to water the grass. What is your point?
fyathyrio May 09, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Who pays the electric and water they use at the library?

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