WEST CALDWELL, NJ — A drafted concept plan for improvements to Harrison School Field in West Caldwell was presented to the mayor and council earlier this week project manager/senior associate Kevin Boyer of Maser Consulting.

His proposal included the costs for new turf, lighting, drainage, additional ADA parking and sidewalks, a concession building that will also house restrooms, retaining walls and striping for a hockey and lacrosse fields and regulation soccer field as well as two smaller soccer fields.

Boyer noted that the cost of the turf purchased through a state cooperative would be approximately $700,000 to $900,000. The additional site preparation and other costs would total approximately $1.7 million, he said.

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Councilman Stanley Hladik pointed out that the plans do not currently include bleachers, but Boyer confirmed that there would be room to incorporate them into the project. 

Councilman Michael Docteroff inquired about the potential for access to Memorial Park, to which Mayor Joseph Tempesta responded that there was a “natural-worn path over the years and can be added at a low cost.”

Caldwell Mayor John Kelley, who attended the presentation along with council members Jonathan Lace and Frances Rodgers and Caldwell-West Caldwell Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg, proposed several questions about the proposal as well.

Specifically, Kelley asked to know more about the firm’s experience with designing fields, what types of clients have been previously retained and what materials are being considered.

Tempesta stated that there is an open space grant that can be applied for, and Councilman Stanley Hladik addressed the timeframe for moving forward.

Practically speaking, Hladik said, the upgrades and construction should be completed by April 2021. However, Tempesta noted that funding “can spill into another budget year.”

During the Borough of Caldwell council meeting later that night, Kelley spoke about the proposal, stating that “shared services are an ideal way for neighboring communities to recognize substantial savings by pooling their resources.”

“Our recreation department is an example of Caldwell and West Caldwell working together,” Kelley said as an example, but was skeptical when it came to the Harrison School turf renovations.

He stated that Caldwell currently has other “pressing infrastructure needs” and that the governing body of Caldwell would be “hard-pressed to explain to taxpayers the decision to participate in an investment into a turf field at this time.”

“Instead, I believe the [board of education] and West Caldwell should defer this investment to a future budget year,” said Kelley.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Caldwell meeting and the other infrastructure needs being addressed.

In other news, the council also adopted ordinances that allow for capital improvements along Smull Avenue, Clinton Road, Dalewood Road, Westview Road, Evergreen Road and Lougheed Avenue.

Another ordinance that was adopted on Tuesday addresses flood plain and storm management.

The next township council meeting will be held on March 17.