'Field of Dreams' Goes to November Ballot
Council authorizes 'Field of Dreams' to be put as a referendum question on the November ballot; estimated cost of field to taxpayers between $62 and $70 per year.
Voters will have the final say on a proposed multi-use athletic field—dubbed the 'Field of Dreams' — which could cost up to $3 million to build at David E. Owens Middle School.
The council adopted a resolution Monday authorizing a referendum be placed on the November ballot.
With costs estimated to be between $1.8 million (for clearing of site and the installation of a synthetic turf field) to $3 million with the installation of lights, bleachers and a bathroom, the multi-purpose field would be a turf field that would include a soccer, football and baseball field, in addition to two softball fields.
In order to have the referendum appear on the November ballot, the county must have the resolution by August 17. Because the council does not have another meeting scheduled before then, they had to vote on the language at Monday's meeting.
Until the project is approved and officially goes out to bid, the costs are estimated based on current market trends and the auditor's report. Should the project go out to bid, the costs could be lower, officials said. Grants and possible corporate sponsorships are also being explored to reduce the costs.
The annual cost to homeowners is estimated to be between $62 and $70 per year for 10 years on an average house valued at $410,000.
A PERC test was recently performed on the soil at David E. Owens Middle School field as a first step in determining if that location can even be considered a viable contender in the search for an athletic field of dreams. The borough engineer, Margita Batistic with Boswell Engineering, previously reported to the mayor and council that the results of PERC soil test indicate that the middle school location would be an appropriate site for a turf field.
During Monday's meeting, the council agreed that the language of the referendum should reflect that only an amount up to $3 million would be authorized for the proposed project — any projects that exceed the cost of $3 million would be put off.
The mayor and council will further discuss costs associated with building the field at the August 20th public meeting.
Resident Mary McElroy supported the referendum saying that it gives people the opportunity to say whether or not they want to pay for it.
"If you feel it's an investment to the town, you can vote 'yes,'" McElroy said. "If you don't feel it's an investment, you can vote 'no.'"