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Some Residents Question Donation of Synthetic Field

Rolled-up turf sits at Lower Shore Road, while some residents worry about additional maintenance costs

The question of a donated synthetic field from Annapolis, Md., continued to trouble some residents during the Township Committee meeting Monday night.

Township Administrator David Breeden invited the Barnegat man who sought out and obtained the donation, Steve Cotton, to further explain the field’s benefit to the town.

“I install, as part of what I do, artificial fields, both professional, [college] and high school fields as well, and I’ve even done three elementary school in Toms River,” Cotton said.

Cotton is the vice president of a company that builds artificial fields and also the head of Barnegat Junior Bengals, the youth football league.

“I have contacted FieldTurf, who is the world’s largest synthetic turf company, and I asked them, ‘Look, with all the fields that I do, could you donate me one field to Barnegat?' ” Cotton said. “‘He sort of scoffed at me and said, well you realize we’re in the business of making money, and I said, well, still, what can you do for me?”

It turned out the company wanted to change its current stadium field, the Navy/Marine Corps Memorial Stadium field, to a newer model, something that is done routinely, Cotton explained at the meeting.

“It doesn’t get played on a lot, it’s a stadium field and it has an estimated six years of life left in it,” he said. “That’s when I called [Township Administrator David Breeden] and said we have a unique opportunity.”

Adding that he would be willing to donate his time to getting the field installed and recruiting some volunteers to help him out, Cotton emphasized that he acted in the best interest of his own community.

“I never made a dime on the back of this town, and I never will,” he said.

Some local residents objected, however, when they found out that though the field was donated, the township had to pay $28,000 in shipping costs in order to actually bring it to Barnegat.

“I put in an [Open Public Record Act] request,” said Rafael Adorno, who serves on Barnegat’s Board of Education and coaches football, as well. “With someone who was on the Open Space Committee, we obtained that bill list from the Open Space funds. There was no public information given out that this was going to be done. ”

Open Space Fund money can be used for the acquisition of open space as well as for the town’s recreational needs, said township officials.

“The Open Space trust funds can be used for many purposes … and acquisition and maintenance of recreation is a proper use of the funds,” Breeden said.

At the meeting Monday night, Adorno and another resident, Jake Taylor, expressed their concern that the field may lead to more expenses down the road. In addition, Taylor and Adorno both asked the township to carefully weigh potential health risks.

 “The biggest concern is artificial turf is not safe for children,” said Taylor. “That, and the fact that the upkeep is so much more than the regular turf.  Right next to the field where this stuff is going, $20,000 we put into the regular turf, and all we do is cut the grass. It’s not going to be safe for the children, it’s too hot to play on, and keep in mind, too, that some of the professional teams did away with it.”

The question of which kind of field is better quality is a matter of debate, with both sides offering valid perspectives, Taylor said.

All Taylor and Adorno were asking the committee at this point, they both reiterated, was to “please do your homework.”

"I’m very knowledgeable about this too,” Adorno said, citing his football and coaching background, as well as the research he has done while checking into this issue.

“Use us,” he urged the mayor and the Township Committee at the end of the meeting on Monday. “Don’t just assume that we’re out to discredit someone. Allow us to please get all the answers we’re looking for; put the information out there.”

The next day after the meeting, Breeden told Patch the township won’t be changing its plans.

 “The township will move ahead with the turf installation,” Breeden said. “We have the utmost confidence in Steve Cotton, because he does this for a living, that he will be able to not only install the turf put properly maintain it. We defer to Mr. Cotton, because he’s the professional with regards to turf installation and turf management.”

 “The cost to maintain a synthetic field are very minor in that it’s mainly labor-related and obviously the labor who do it would be volunteers,” Cotton said. “The problem is, with the old football field, the claims are that the field is absolutely great, but the fact is we can’t play there most of the time. A natural field has to rest, you can’t wear it out, just like your yard. And if it rains, the field would be so torn up we can’t play the game on it. We end up practicing on softball fields, so we could save the field for the game.”

Discussion of this issue will continue at the next  township meeting on Monday, April 2, township officials said. Cotton said at the meeting that the man who donated the field, Regional Vice President of FieldTurf Jim Shanahan, may be able to attend one of the meetings in the near future and offer his perspective as well.

Taylor and Adorno both voiced that they plan to be there when it happens.

“I have prepared 14 questions [for him,] Adorno said. “Don’t shut us out. Keep things transparent. If you’re spending the public funds, also utilize us, because some of us are smart enough to do the homework for you.”

fobp March 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
As far as the old field goes I couldn't tell you who installed it. Maybe you can enlighten us. As far as the age of the turf field I don't speak for others but if you are going to accuse others of lying maybe you should speak to Mr Cotton or Mr Breedan and tell them you think they are lying to get to the bottom of it. I don't think bashing people on here is going to help anything in the long run.
... March 22, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Has this turf been tested for lead? The CDC says there is a real concern for fields that are not new http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/artificialturf.htm There is also a concern for other chemicals to leech into the surrounding areas. Aren't these fields adjacent to a wildlife preserve not to mention the homeowners in the vicinity who may want some say in this matter.
... March 22, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Are we inviting lawsuits? This was removed for a reason and as stated above there is an ongoing lawsuit regarding defective turf from this manufacturer due to one of it's suppliers. Here are some other lawsuits on the record involving artificial turf http://www.synturf.org/lawsuits.html
Active Citizen March 22, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I'm am shocked as to the lengthens some people will go to, to take away from our youth of Barnegat. "McFree Money" or should I say Mr. BOE member .... I think you and your crew need to be more productive with your time. With circus acts like you in town, it's shocking that the Barnegat bengals or any other youth organization can even find people to volunteer their time to the youth of Barnegat! Oh and please stop with (Google information) its getting old
Drivingtoofar March 22, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Or they coud play at the school fields and save everyone a tone of time and money
... March 22, 2012 at 04:06 PM
And I am 'shocked' that you show no concern regarding this company's lawsuit regarding this turf or the safety issues that are a real concern or any possible lawsuits arising from the failure to do due diligance prior to any installation or acceptance of this field. Can we really afford not to be more careful when it comes to our children's health and safety and the possible ill effects this turf could have on the environment?
McFree Money March 22, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Hey Active, just so you know I'm no BOE member; that's funny- lol! "Circus acts", I think your speaking about the clowns who dont get out & do anything for the community but complain all the time. You must be one of Mr. Cottons Puppets... BLAH BLAH BLAH...
fobp March 22, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Hey McFree why did you remove your post. You call people liars and dirty and then you remove it. If you are going to post something the least you can do is stand by your comments. Unless of course they are untrue. BLAH BLAH BLAH smh
McFree Money March 22, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Yes I deleted it, because I have something better THE YOU TUBE Video - Listen to Dirty Dave B. tell everyone Mr Cotton said - " The turf was 2 years old"! http://youtu.be/NCapN-Me2-8 FREE NO COST TO TAX Payers- $28,000.00 later... Then Listen to Mr. Cotton all of a sudden say - " The turf was only played on for about 2 years of use... Also pay attention to how Mr. Cotton is about to smash Mr. Taylors Head when he gets in his face. http://youtu.be/BshcPoWiQTw Another link- http://youtu.be/BshcPoWiQTw If you have trouble just go on the Barnegat Township municipal website!
fobp March 22, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I don't see how that is better. To me you are just covering up for speaking ill of people and realized you were wrong or could end up in trouble. You can try and change things around and divert the attention that you called someone a liar and someone else dirty. We can all see right through you. Just as you posted the cost associated with the field but failed to mention that also includes the new softball field built for the seniors and that the total cost most likely is for a three year period. I am done with this forum. Keep posting ficticious info maybe one day somebody will believe you. BLAH BLAH BLAH SMH
Rick March 22, 2012 at 05:55 PM
And what do Medford, Moorestown, Evesham and Mt Laurel townships all have that Barnegat Township does not have? Ratables! Barnegat continues to have residential expansion but no true ratables. WaWas and pizzerias are nice but they aren’t truly ratables. So we won’t even have a supermarket in town. Everyone keeps saying that they are doing this for the kids of Barnegat. That's a good thing, but is a superduper field for the kids or for the parents to brag about?
Rick March 22, 2012 at 06:07 PM
As I understand the situation, someone was paid by the Naval Academy to remove and dispose of the used turf. That disposal seems to have consisted of shipping it to Barnegat on the taxpayer’s dime. When it comes time to actually dispose of it, who is going to pay to remove and dispose of it? I seriously doubt that it can just be cut up and placed in a dumpster.
Rick March 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Squashed the lights at the Little League fields? There seem to be plenty of lights down there. Just drive up Barnegat Blvd at 11:00PM and see how well lit it is.
Rick March 22, 2012 at 06:23 PM
$7299.00 -PO 11001229 Lawn Mower??? And all this time I was under the impression that artificial turf didn't grow.
fobp March 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Lol. That is why the numbers presented by McFree are not correct. He is adding stuff that would have been for the old field and for the senior softball field. His numbers wouldn't look as good or his case wouldn't be as strong if the numbers weren't as high. Believe what you want to but he is trying to make a case on incorrect info and then he wants to call others liars and dirty. I am now officially done. PEACE OUT!!!
Marc Nickels March 22, 2012 at 07:18 PM
fyi the turf was originally installed in August 2005 and it seems like this stuff is failing all over the place. See here: http://bigcountryhomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=468952 and here for recent examples: http://panews.com/local/x1456426227/PNGISD-will-consider-suing-turf-contractor If it is not defective than why was it replaced while it was still under warranty? If it is defective, why would we want it?
Leroy Souveroff March 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Why too much is being spent on Sports Fields which are of little use to the general population of Barnegat. These fields are just another step in some politicians' idea to remake Barnegat into another Forked River. Just look at the new Town Center Plans that want to deveop businesses along West Bay Ave and Rt 9 In The CENTER of Barnegat. Many people moved ( and stayed) in Barnegat becasue of the small town feel afforded by the Center of Barnegat...the area for a couple miles around the the intersection of West Bay and Rt.9 , but the politicians want to take this away from us to satisfy their own egos and aspirations. We need a new , more responsive form of government in Barnegat. A Full time Mayor elected by the people. Four counselmen elected by the people and an assistant mayor choosen by the mayor.
Capt Jacobsen Mey March 22, 2012 at 08:33 PM
It's funny how facts are presented and folks who have their fingers in the money pot (or those who are giving out the contracts for the work) will be quick to dissuade, lie, ignore and skirt around the issues being presented. Goes to show the difference between adults and the children on here. As I said previously, NOTHING is "free". Maybe someone should contact the fine folks who donated the "free" turf and get the real story as to why they ripped it up from their field and replaced it and how many actual playing years it has on it. Lol, or would that be too much to ask when it comes to real investigative reporting. Free... And cows fly. With all those PO's previously listed, from which fund were the payouts really pulled from? How come the tax payers have NO say in matters such as this and even when they do provide their input, it's totally ignored anyway?? Too many friends and family involved, tipping hats and passing favors to each other. And some of you wonder why volunteerism sux lololol.....
Leroy Souveroff March 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
"and not only build just this field but make it a full top-notch facility, with lights, parking, concessions, bathrooms, etc." THIS is want Barnegat does NOT need. And not what most residents want ! We do not want more property taxes , more traffic, and more noise just so some local businessmen can make more money , or so that a handful of Sports obcessed families can dream of their sons becoming major league stars. Barnegat is an attraction as a small seaside town. The majority of people that live here do not want to see it become a Forked River or Manahawkin.
... March 22, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Well, I heard one of the guys addressing the committee say that the turf was removed from Annapolis because it was old and was initially installed in 2004/5 with an expected lifespan of 8 years. Another guy stated that it was falling apart and had to be replaced according to the Naval Academy's own website. Something about 'crumbing' I really couldn't hear it that well. I also heard the guy with the hat say that it was removed due to many players receiving injuries that were attributed to the field falling apart and this was also stated on the Naval Academy website when explaining the field upgrade. Again, hard to hear the details but that is the jist of what I heard. Also a concern of how the kids will play on this field if it gets too hot or if health dept comes and shuts down the field if it is found to have fecal material or bodily fluids that deem it unsafe for use. Who was paid $28,000 to pick up and deliver this?
Leroy Souveroff March 22, 2012 at 08:44 PM
All these things such as keeping fields lit at night , cost property owners in tax dollars. These things are not needed to have a good quality of life in our town. People are fleeing Barnegat and NJ because of the high property taxes. Empty homes (Three on my street alone) hurt the community much more that a fancy ball field helps it.
Leroy Souveroff March 22, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I am sure there are unbiased reports out there. But atificial "grass" does nothing to help the ecosystem. And here near the bay real grass , if maintained properly, is an asset. These fields we are building at taxpayer/property owner expense is only really used by organizations of sports teams, not the general public. So in effect the taxpayers are subsidizing these groups. Maybe Barnegat should build a go-go bar or a health club for those of us interested ! The increasing cost of building and operating these fields is an excuse for politicians to invite big stores (Kohl's, JC Penny and the like) to build along West Bay Avenue and Rt 9. which will turn Barnegat into another Manahawkin. What will the politicians get from accomplishing this? Use your imagination ! We need a new form of govenrment in Barnegat. A Mayor chosen by the residents, Four Counselmen chosen by people in districts, and an assistant Mayor chosen by the mayor. This would cost the township a total of $100,000 per year in base salary, less than we spend now.
Rick March 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Would you think that going to the library and reading this data would make it more viable?
Rick March 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM
$15,300.00 PO# 11-03691 TBS CLEARING LSR FOOTBALL $13,950.00 PO# 12-00222 TBS TREE CLEARING $6.500 0-PO# 1 1 -02766 LSR FIELD IMPROVEMENTS That alone is $35,750. What part was done by volunteers? Where were the volunteer engineers, electricians, carpenters, heavy equipment operators, plumbers, masons etc? $20,900.00 -PO# 09-02106 ULTRA FLOW IRRIGATION-SOD FOR FOOTBALL & SOFTBALL FIELDS AT LSR REC COMPLEX. No volunteers who can install an irrigation system? $13,710.00 -PO# 11-01637 Precision Fence LSR FIELD That much money could buy almost two miles of chain link fence at Home Depot. If the town is going to spend all this money then so be it, BUT don’t tell us it is a freebee and most of the work is being done by volunteers.
Rick March 23, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Substandard grass field? The new Yankee Stadium choose a substandard grass field, as did the Mets at Citi Field and the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Remember that the Phillies played on turf in the old Vet buty they choose grass for their new field.
Rick March 23, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Really, $7299 for a lawn mower??? Turf or softball field, that's a tad steep. Apparently none of the volunteers have lawn mowers or a lawn service.
Rick March 23, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Here's an interesting little side note. http://www.synturf.org/disposal.html Most artificial turf fields in the United States contains 100 tons of crumb rubber, most of which is made of used tires – 22,000 used tires are processed to yield 100 tons of crumb rubber. Who is going to pay the cost of disposing of 22,000 used tires?
Capt Jacobsen Mey May 13, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Barnegat paying $20,000.00 for Turf Field completion!!!!! What a joke.... Seems this new news article has many details that don't make it to the Patch.... http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/barnegat-paying-20-000-to-get-turf-field-completed/998910#.UZB-eXy9KSM
Leroy Souveroff May 13, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Barnegat should cut it's loses and see if it can sell this "turf". And Cotton should be investigated ! He figured Barnegat would hire his company to replace this used one 4 to 6 years down the road. There is too much being spent on Sports to begin with. Parents all see their kids as budding Pros. Better they should get them a good basic education.
Leroy Souveroff May 13, 2013 at 06:20 AM
Let's put it on Cotton's lawn at his expense.

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