ROXBURY, NJ – A $1.6 million plan to bring artificial turf and other improvements to Horseshoe Lake Park got the go-ahead Tuesday from Roxbury officials.

The plan calls for resurfacing, with artificial turf, Field 1 at the Succasunna recreation complex and replacing the adjacent softball fields with a new irrigated sod multipurpose field that will have a scoreboard and bleachers.

The Roxbury Mayor and Council gave the township recreation committee approval to look for a design consultant for the project. Officials said construction could begin as soon as this fall.

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The improvements will be funded by the township’s Recreation Trust Fund and a 15-year bond that would be paid off with fees charged to users of the complex, said Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd and Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall.

They stressed the project will not raise property taxes. However, to help liquidate the debt there will likely be a $5-per-person increase in user fees, said Hall and Shepherd. That fee currently is $10 per person.

In a presentation to his colleagues, Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall said the turf field is an acute need for the township. He said it will take stress off the Roxbury High School turf field, which is being over-used and suffering from accelerated wear.

“I can’t begin to tell you the success we’ve had with turf field at the high school,” Hall said. “It is so over-used … it’s just completely overused. We were supposed to have a 12-year to 15-year lifespan. If we get 12 years of out that, I’ll be very surprised.”

The 2015 opening of the Landing Park Recreation Complex’s softball fields enabled the plan to remove the softball fields from Horseshoe Lake and add a new sod multipurpose field. Hall said the new field will help take the strain off the park’s other grass fields, possibly allowing them to stay closed on a rotating basis so they can rejuvenate.

Shepherd said there is about $550,000 in the Recreation Trust Fund. About $100,000 will be used to hire a design consultant, he said.

The $1.5 million bond will entail about $125,000 per year in debt service payments, money that will come from the trust fund and ongoing fees paid by users of Horseshoe Lake Park who bring in about $70,000 annually, Shepherd said. The $5 fee hike would increase that to about $93,000 per year, he explained.

Hall said he thinks the projected cost estimates are “inflated” and believes the project will cost less than $1.5 million. He said the recreation committee would also like to be able to afford some “add-ons” to the base plan.

These additions would include creating another irrigated sod field next to the turf field and the proposed new field, adding more parking by the turf field and erecting a digital sign on Eyland Avenue.

"It sounds like you've taken steps to make sure this won't be a (financial) burden on the community," said Roxbury Councilman Robert DiFillippo. "That said, I cant think of another better use of money in this town. Horseshoe Lake is an absolutely fantastic facility and it requires constant review to make certain it remains that way."

To see a copy of Hall's presentation, click here.pdf