In an effort to share the cost of maintenance of athletic fields, the Township of Livingston announced the implementation of Field Fees for organized community sports groups. The demand and usage of Township fields have continued to grow each year which has resulted in additional wear and tear as well as increased cost for materials and labor related to marking and maintenance. The Township has met with the Livingston Sports Council (which represents many of the community sports organizations) to negotiate a fair contribution towards these rising costs. Organized sports groups will be assessed a fee based on the number of participants. These modest fees will be used to off-set some of the cost of upkeep, maintenance, renovation and acquiring new sports facilities and vary based on the level of use and the connection of the program to Livingston.
“It’s not just about maintaining the athletic fields,” reported Jennifer Hessberger, Director of Senior, Youth and Leisure Services (SYLS). “We have replaced benches, backstops, improved playing field conditions in addition to acquiring land, and building a new sports complex on Okner Parkway.”
“We all know that maintaining field conditions is an ongoing commitment and we want to keep the momentum going,” added Hessberger. “Our goal is to continue providing the community with clean, safe, well maintained athletic facilities and as funds allow add field space for growth.”
Livingston athletic fields have come a long way from the dirt and weedy spaces that generated lots of complaints about the quality of playing facilities that was the norm prior to 2006. Since that time the Township has invested in equipment, rebuilt fields, installed hydrants and water lines for field irrigation, fertilized, aerated, and installed lights at Okner field. The total parks budget is $732,000 and of that $331,000 is for field maintenance expenses. The new fees will only cover small portion of the expense, but it’s important to diversify revenues and continue the dedication to field maintenance.
“The Township has already maximized the efficiency of its labor force by moving Parks from Recreation and into Public Works,” explained Michele Meade, Livingston Township Manager. “This consolidation of staff means more people are available in the summer for park maintenance, as well as in the winter for snow removal.”
“It is getting more and more difficult to cover the costs as well as justify to the taxpayers who don’t use the facilities at the same level as organized sports why they need to foot the whole bill,” continued Meade. “The new Field Fees are a fair contribution and ultimately will be a win-win for everyone with improved athletic facilities for the whole community.”
For more information on community sports and leagues go to the Township website at www.livingstonnj.org. Click on Senior, Youth and Leisure Services in the left hand column. Click Sports for more information on Youth and Adult activities, and Field Information. Alternatively, call 973-535-7925, or visit SYLS at the Senior/Community Center, 204 Hillside Ave, Livingston. Offices are open Monday thru Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.