MADISON, NJ -  Parents and other fans watching multiple youth sports at the Madison Recreation Complex (MRC) will soon have a more pleasurable experience. At the last Borough Council meeting, funding from the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund was officially released for the construction of a 250-seat grandstand at the MRC.

The bleachers will be located on the hillside of MRC1, the field on the left when viewed from the parking lot. They will seat 250 people and include a press box behind and towards the middle of the structure, with an additional area on top for unobstructed filming.

“The bleacher project is just step one of many more to come over the next 10 years as we continue to enhance our youth sports assets in town,” said Dave Carver, chair of the Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC).

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According to Carver, the RAC was created by a group of parent volunteers representing a number of youth sports programs in Madison to manage the effective utilization of our community’s active recreation facilities. With regard to the bleacher project, the RAC collaborated with the Madison Athletic Foundation as well as the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation committee to see it to fruition.

“The MRC was conceived and constructed as a first-class state-of-the-art athletic recreation complex that would be a significant asset to the Madison community, but there was limited seating for spectators,” said Chris “Dutch” Holland, a RAC member. “With the bleacher project, we now have an acceptable solution to this issue.”

For background, the MRC hosts seven sports throughout the year: boys and girls soccer, softball, field hockey, boys and girls lacrosse, and junior football. In addition, the high school uses the fields for several of its sports. In total, there are an estimated 2,600 users of the MRC each year. The RAC sports groups raised a combined $27,500, or 10 percent of the bleacher project, as mandated by the Open Space committee.

“Madison residents know the value of strong youth sports programs and have an enormous amount of town pride, and the MRC and its continued development is a natural extension of that,” said Carver.

Holland said that construction of the grandstand at MRC1 will begin in the spring with completion expected sometime in the summer so that the bleachers and the press box will be fully functional by the time the fall sports season begins. Holland also added that the structure will be fully ADA-accessible and compliant, allowing disabled spectators in wheelchairs to comfortably enjoy games.

Carver and Holland also said that MRC2 will receive bleachers around the same time as MRC1, but that the structures there will be portable instead of permanent and will seat 100 spectators.

“Bleachers are a great addition to MRC,” said a parent. “Finally, I won’t have to lug all of my folding chairs up a steep hill to watch my son play soccer.”

Other items on the 10-year RAC plan include better maintenance and management of all of our athletic fields, investing in a multi-sport indoor field house, and installing lights at a field to be determined in order to extend fall practice and game times.

"We're really excited that all of the youth sports programs came together and supported such an important initiative.  MRC is an amazing complex and deserves a permanent seating solution," said Jason Roelke a Madison parent and volunteer coach.

For more information on MRC, visit http://www.rosenet.org/298/Recreation-Department