LIVINGSTON, NJ — Newly appointed Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein along with members of the council and community helped mark another significant milestone in the Madonna Field Project Thursday as they unroll the first pieces of turf.
According to the township council, laying down the turf signifies the final stages of this project, which has been in the works for many years.
Although the new turf field has been a consistent conversation for nearly a decade, the official plans for the field began in 2015 under the leadership of former mayor Michael Silverman when the township received a $1.3-million check from Saint Barnabas Medical Center to help fund the project.
Klein said he is excited to see the final stages of this project completed over the next few weeks.
“This is going to be a huge accomplishment for the town, which has been at least 8 years in the making with a massive collective effort by so many people—starting with councilmen like former mayors Steve Santola, Michael Rieber and now Al Anthony and Deputy Mayor Ed Meinhardt,” said Klein. “The town's teams are now going to have all new access to the highest-quality turf field on the market. It's going to be wonderful. And how lucky we are to have an institution like Saint Barnabas with President Stephen Zieniewitz and Margie Heller, who helped make a donation possible to make it all happen.”
Clarifying some recent confusion regarding the donation money from Saint Barnabas, Klein said that the medical facility did not donate money that could have been used for medical research, as these funds are held in a different account.
When the project is complete, the council hopes it will live up to the expectations of residents who have expressed concern regarding the condition of many of the recreational fields in Livingston over the years.
“One of the biggest complaints I hear as mayor, and the other councilmen hear it as well, is that the quantity and quality of our fields is poor compared to other towns,” said Klein. “When this field opens we will have fixed that problem.”