LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston Township Council addressed issues concerning the development of Madonna Field, and making sure that the upkeep of the Livingston High School fields is handled correctly, at its meeting Monday.  

The council questioned consultant John Jahr about the issue due to a recent article in The Star-Ledger about an investigation into FieldTurf’s use of Duraspire, which has been found to break down over the years from the sun’s strong ultraviolet rays. Jahr assured members of the council that FieldTurf would use a Revolution 360 fiber for the new Madonna Field to “create the best, safest field we can create.”

“FieldTurf is a very reputable company,” he said. “They always work to make things right, and they are resolving issues for the fields that were affected.”

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Due to Jahr’s close working relationship with the council, he volunteered to test the Livingston High School field, which was indicated in The Star-Ledger as one of the FieldTurf fields could potentially deteriorate earlier than anticipated. He said that the premature deterioration is a greater issue in southern states, where the UV rays are much stronger, but agreed to supervise this testing at no charge.

“It should be noted that the town council’s relationship with John is being helpful to the Livingston Board of Education, which controls the high school field,” Livingston Mayor Alfred Anthony said. “I can assure the residents of Livingston that the Madonna Field, which is under the town council’s control, will be the best and safest turf field in the State of New Jersey.”

During public comment, resident Brian Rummel questioned the council as to why the Madonna Field is needed when, in his opinion, other fields in disrepair could have been updated instead.

“Underutilized fields should have been used first, especially the one behind the pool,” he said.

Councilman Ed Meinhardt replied that although the field behind the pool is open to the entire community, it is owned by the board of education and therefore it is up to the board whether the field is turfed or not. 

“This will be a multi-purpose field that will be used by a lot of town teams, clubs and the high school band for practice,” said Meinhardt. “There are still not enough fields for all of the sports activities in our town. Another turf field is needed because there is a clamoring for fields in Livingston.”

Anthony said that Barnabas Health gave the town $1.3 million to make it a community field, which the council and many residents felt was missing from the township.  

Rummel also said that the construction is taking place in an area where there is low-lying water, which he said is where rats and other rodents live. He told the council that more should have been done to control the rat problem that has been brought about by this construction.

He added that it is unfair for the residents near the construction area to deal with this problem on their own and take on the additional costs to get rid of the rodents.

Anthony thanked Rummel for bringing this problem to the council’s attention and said that lighting, noise and traffic issues have been dealt with. He added that the council would look into this new issue and do its best to resolve it.

On a second construction-related concern, resident Bernard Searle said that he has seen increasing instances of people using asphalt for sidewalks, when the town ordinance specifically states that concrete must be used.

“We should add to the penalty if you break this ordinance to use concrete,” he said. “Right now it’s only a $100 penalty. It should be much more.”

Anthony said that he has heard that asphalt sidewalks may be better in some ways and that the council will look into this issue further.

In closing, Anthony agreed with resident Robert Hunter that the Camuso Holiday Display at the Oval is “particularly beautiful this year” and encouraged residents to stop by.

“We have the greatest volunteers in the state,” said Anthony. “When you see the holiday display across from the municipal building, it is a testament to our volunteers and all the work that they do to make our town look beautiful.”