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Polizzi's Position on the Middle School Turf Field Proposal (Letter to Editor Pt.2)

Regarding the turf field at the middle school Superintendent Polizzi says, "The decision comes down to the kind of legacies a community is willing to leave for its current and future generations of children."

Let’s shift to the turf field proposal for the David E. Owens Middle School. It is hardly the Field of Dreams. It is an alternative to the United Water Company property concept. 

The DEO field represents the best in the local partnership between the Borough and Board of Education given the availability of the acreage owned by the BOE.  The Board of Education has been very public in its support of the proposal. On April 16, 2012, it approved a resolution “to enter into a shared services agreement with the Borough of New Milford in regard to planning and development of a turf field complex to be located at David E. Owens Middle School.” 

As far as the BOE is concerned, it is an equal partnership established around mixed use of the field by the school district and the Recreation Commission.  Important to bear in mind here that the BOE still represents the interests of the community. It is not interested in glomming up play time to the detriment of the Rec Commission, or controlling field use, or usurping municipal assets to maintain the fields. 

To date, there have been a relatively limited number of conflicts in terms of field use. Going forward, New Milford High School teams would be given priority use of the field for home games. This is not dramatic by any stretch of the imagination. This football season, for example, there were four home games and one tournament game scheduled. Most rec games are played on weekends when school teams are off.

Right now, the existing DEO field is used primarily for soccer. The turf field design opens the field up for soccer and football. All of this will be spelled out in a field use agreement and will be coordinated between department of recreation officials and the school athletic director. It is not a complicated process. In fact, this is done routinely already. The interest is in overall field use for the greatest number of kids.

There is talk about flooding and drainage. I wish more residents attended the September 19 presentation by borough engineer, Kevin Boswell, who clarified the scope of the project and dispelled the many myths surrounding its development. If anything, after the ground engineering undergirding the field itself, drainage for that area will be significantly improved. 

The mayor and council were informed about that presentation, and three councilmen did, in fact, attend. They and numerous other concerned residents asked many questions which were addressed with clarity and detail. What remains of paramount importance to the BOE is that it and the community have as much factual data as possible primarily so that the BOE and the public can make responsible, educated decisions regarding the non-binding referendum on the November ballot, but also in terms of what is in the best interest of the public school families.  

Mr. Boswell addressed concerns including lighting, parking, traffic, noise and a variety of other issues. His responses pleasantly surprised many attendees.  Geese, by the way, are attracted to grass—not artificial turf. 

As an aside, I live four houses from one of my town’s recreation complexes and just through the woods about a quarter of a mile away from another. They are not nuisances, inconveniences, or interferences with my family’s lifestyle. I actually like the sound of kids playing and the cheering of spectators. But that is just my very subjective personal take. When the borough hosts tournaments, we can live with the increased demand for parking. It is only temporary. The rec commission can also live with the revenues generated from hosting events, and New Milford would be proud to be able to host similar events that draw positive attention to a community on the move.

The DEO proposal may not be perfect, but it is a practical and arguably affordable solution to a decades-old local debate. It is true; taxes will increase.  That’s why taxes exist—to pay for community services, perks, quality of life factors that enhance communities for the long term, including property values.  Again, the decision comes down to the kind of legacies a community is willing to leave for its current and future generations of children.

—Michael A. Polizzi, Superintendent, for the New Milford BOE

Ulises October 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
•Zinc hazard: A Connecticut-based environmental advocacy group, Environment and Human Health Inc. (EHHI), has been sounding warnings about artificial turf fields for a number of years and found support for its contentions in a preliminary study in 2007 by researchers at the Connecticut agricultural experiment station which examined the contents of "crumb rubber" and concluded that several potentially dangerous chemical compounds could escape into the air or leach into water under certain conditions. Levels of zinc found leaching into water were inordinately high. A study by University of North Carolina found a possible link between continued exposure to zinc and cardiovascular damage. •Other harmful chemicals: according to EHHI, shredded rubber could contain other toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and selenium. •Toxic run-off. When an artificial field drains after a heavy rain, the run-off (which may contain lead and infill material) could leach into and contaminate a community's ground and drinking water. <continue>
Ulises October 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
•Increased MRSA risk. Open skin lesions (so-called "turf burns") put athletes at increased risk of MRSA. Studies have shown that athletes who use synthetic turf are seven times more likely to receive turf burns than those who play on natural grass. These open lesions are often the source of contracting and vehicle for spreading dangerous infections. In fact, a 2003 study of MRSA infections among St. Louis Rams football players found that all eight MRSA infections began at turf burn sites. •Bacterial breeding ground. Medical experts have found that staphylococci and other bacteria can survive on polyethylene plastic, the compound used to make synthetic turf blades, for more than 90 days. Blood, sweat, skin cells and other materials can remain on the synthetic turf because the fields are not washed or cleaned. •Adverse affect on asthmatics. Breathing in dust of ground-up tires could exacerbate breathing problems for asthmatics. •Once artificial, always artificial. Once a community goes with artificial turf, it has no choice but to install another artificial turf field when the first one needs to be replaced because once plastic replaces natural grass, it kills any living organism in the subsoil making it impossible without years of soil remediation to grow anything on that surface.
smiley October 17, 2012 at 08:21 PM
If you're planning on draining the water into the Hackensack River, that river is already in the cellars of all the houses that border it. It might be more accurate to state that the water will be drained into the homes on Columbia Avenue.
Pat October 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
When it comes to carbon footprints, there’s simply no comparison between natural grass and FieldTurf artificial grass and synthetic turf systems. FieldTurf is lead free and 100% recyclable. Eliminates impact on water resources Eliminates the use of billions of pounds of harmful pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides, used on natural grass, that can run off into ground water Significantly lowers the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels needed to produce lawn care chemicals Eliminates fuel-powered mowing, aerating, and re-seeding . Gas-powered lawn mowers alone can cause as much pollution in one hour as 10 cars. FieldTurf systems save millions of gallons of gas a year. Eliminates grass clippings that are among the biggest landfill contributors to the greenhouse effect. During the summer months, clippings alone can account for nearly half of a community’s waste. Drastically lowers the use of paper and plastic products that support maintenance Removes millions of tires from landfill sites each year Can contribute toward numerous Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits Is less likely to provoke asthma or allergy attacks Is not a breeding ground for the MRSA (staph) bacteria
NM Resident October 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Re: Pt. 2 Pandering From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Pandering is the act of expressing one's views in accordance with the likes of a group to which one is attempting to appeal. The term is most notably associated with politics. In pandering, the views one is verbally expressing are merely for the purpose of drawing support up to and including votes and do not necessarily reflect one's personal values. Pandering is essentially a reaction of panic in elected officials who must either tailor their views to public opinion or risk losing their existing or potential seat.[1] ------- WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU Polizzi IN THE FEW SHORT HOURS BETWEEN PART I AND PART 2? You came so close to helping unite a DIVIDED community & encouraging ALL New Milford Residents to band together and fight for the best case scenario. For a moment, we were all very proud to have you pull it together and eloquently describe a future possibility for all residents. DOE, FOD, SOD, Public school, Rec for or against, we all know the best case scenario for NM flooding mitigation, community space, property values, recreation & sports fields are with the UW property. You reminded everyone that the dream was not dead. IN PART 1- YOU WERE EVERYONE'S LEADER. Our sympathies go out to ALL New Milford residents on this day for having to watch you sell yourself out in Part 2.
Barb A. October 18, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I feel Mr. Polizzi's letter to the Patch comes a bit late in the process. To send a letter now, right before the election and vote on the Field of Dreams is to me a bit reactive. Tax dollars to enhance communities for the long term? Isn't that why Mr. Polizzi promoted the creation of the New Miford Education Foundation? I am sure since the inception of the New Milford Educational Foundation, Mr. Polizzi has worked on creating a wish list and would have most defininately put the Middle School Field at the top of the list? Am I wrong to assume that? Perhaps the NM Educational Foundation can contribute money or hold additional fundraisers for "Field of Dreams" at the middle school. Why should taxpayers always have to foot the bill? I thought the purpose of the NM Educational Foundation was to provide for those "extra" items the school budget could not. As a taxpayer I feel the Field of Dreams is an "extra" and I'm not in favor of my tax dollars being spent this way. If we need a field every now and then, lets go back to Dumont as they offered their football field to New Milford High School football team to play Harrison at no cost to New Milford.
tony mac October 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Mr polishing, Do you live next to a football,soccer, baseball, softball field? Would you want congestion every day of any sports season? Would you approve of the noise as well? Gam are not played every day or night of the week. But practices certainly may very well fill up the schedule. Sorry. Find a better location!
concerned parent October 18, 2012 at 01:32 PM
This field is a necessity for our community. So far this football season one New Milford Junior Football home game and one NMHS home football game could not be played in town due to rain the day before. My daughter cheers for junior football and I have visited some very nice fields, most of which are located in residential areas. We live in an area where we have to deal with traffic on a daily basis, so people parking in front of my house once in a while to attend a sporting event would not be bothersome to me. I know economic times are tough, but this field can add value to our community. Our children deserve a field that makes them proud.
CB October 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I agree with everything you said but it belongs next to the high school. Step one is for us to get that land and step two is to put the field where it belongs.
NewMilfDadMakinEndsMeet October 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I beg to differ. I live all too close to the proposed FOD, and would not enjoy opening up my private driveway to anyone attending games. I have 4 children. I prefer knowing they are SAFE playing in our own driveway versus sports attendees from in or out of town. And what additional funds will it cost to move our beloved HS football team to the field for training daily during season? And for games? Additional busing? bus drivers? Why not build them a heated/air conditioned warm up room. How about a starbucks for the attendees while we are at it. A special brick house just for our cheerleaders to change, and a state-of-the-art scoreboard like those horrendous things we see along Route 4? Or maybe my money should go towards efforts to rid this town of this extremely political Superintendent? Oh and please don't even dare ask for my "name" or why I am "hiding" behind a false one. There's nothing false about it. My 4 children attend Mr. Political's (aka Polizzi's) school system, and I dare not have them ostricized for their Father speaking his mind against the placement of this field! Shame on your Joe L for wanting this is your neighbor's front and back yards.
concerned parent October 18, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I would love to see the field built next to the HS, but the main problem neither New Milford or The BOE own the property.
Sam October 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
To be quite honest I'm really pissed off about the gross mismanagement of funds in this school district. How do you justify giving the physical education department IPADs? What do they HONESTLY need IPADs for? The cheapest IPAD currently available is $500. DEOMS has at minimum 2 of these units. Couldn't this money be better used? How about some new fans in the cafeteria because it always hot as hell in that room? or some paint on the walls to brighten the place up a bit? I'M VOTING NO ON THIS F.O.D. AND ANY OTHER D.O.E. SPONSORED ITEM.
NM Resident October 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
New Milford Residents- Don't let anyone convince you that the UW Property discussions & the proposed FOD at the DEO MS Referendum vote are two separate conversations. They are not. CHRONOLOGICALLY the referendum vote comes first- & the results of that vote will impact our town for a very long time. Vote NO for the FOD DEO referendum, and we will all see the support for the proper community development of the UW property skyrocket. The BOE and other officials will be tripping over themselves to throw their support behind SOD. The UW property can handle so MANY of the needs of our community (Flood Mitigation, Sports, Community recreation) and build real value for our town- better than any of the other solutions currently proposed. A NO vote on the referendum will keep the pressure on our elected officials and show a united community working together. A yes vote for the DEO/ FOD will divide our community stance against the misuse of the UW property. As stated by Boswell- a yes vote in Nov will quickly ramp up the plans for development at DEO, it will be built, be controlled by the BOE and not the residents of NM, and our elected officials will start to ignore the will of the residents of our town- again. If in the end, the UW property goes against the wishes of the majority of New Milford residents, the FOD /DEO proposal can always be readdressed. Don't let those with an agenda rush this decision for us all. This is about the future of our town-
Lori Barton October 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
New Milford doesn't own this property YET. Come to the zoning board meetings, question the "experts" that the developer provides and help SOD defeat this application. Then there is the possibility of New Milford owning this property. SOD needs your help. We can't do this with only a few townspeople. This is the single most important issue to occur in New Milford in over 50 years. PLEASE COME TO THE ZONING BOARD HEARING TONIGHT AT 7 PM.
CB October 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM
You make perfect sense.
Tomodachi San October 18, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Konichi wa just move.
David Bednarcik October 19, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Please vote no for this. Why not just use the United water property?
Tomodachi San October 19, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Do you have children? I think not.
Tomodachi San October 19, 2012 at 02:44 AM
You are a zoning board member and a very devoted youth activity person. Your words should be silent. Please.
concerned parent October 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM
If the DEO field referendum is passed, we can have a new field in a relatively short period of time. We may be able to stop Hekemian from building the proposed development, but I don't see them turning the property over to the borough of New Milford. People are complaining about a $73 tax increase to build the middle school field, if Hekemian was willing to sell the property to New Milford, how much would taxes increase? I see this fight taking many years, if a field is built next to the High School my kids will probably be grown by the time it is finished. We need a new field now. As it is raining today I hope football can be played tomorrow in New Milford.
Dan Davis October 19, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Well stated Joe... Is approximately19 cents a day TOO MUCH of an investment for our town, children, and yes, adults who will be able to use this field. As the Superintendent said, maintenance and other costs can be offset by hosting tournaments at the facility.
NM Resident October 19, 2012 at 04:45 PM
There are many grants that can be applied for to buy the UW property as well as additionally build out flood mitigation and community spaces, fields. I also think an important point is that NM residents would be more willing to consider spending their tax dollars going toward a project that will build real, long term value for the WHOLE community (not just sports programs) for the long run. We all appreciate the need for BETTER fields, but, please realize, Football is not the only driving factor in our community decisions. The DEO MS field buildout proposal is not a quick, short term solution- IT IS A VERY LARGE PROJECT that the town will have to support, and deal with the consequences of FOREVER.
concerned parent October 19, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Once again football can not be played in New Milford tomorrow due to today's heavy rains.
Christine Demiris October 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I have never commented on anything I have read on the Patch, purposely made a practice of not because of my position, however I can unequivocally state that absolutely no official notice of this presentation was ever received by the Mayor and Council through the Borough Hall.
David Bednarcik October 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Christine what is r position
Tomodachi San October 21, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Ms Demiris is New Milford Boro administrator.
_lenni_lenape October 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Board Administrator Demiris, It was my understanding that the NMBOE notified the members of the mayor and council individually about the presentation, if this were not the case then how did most of them magically show up? This is not Sir Arthur's Castle where royal decree must be passed from us commoners up to you royal gentry at town hall. The BOE calling human beings should be sufficient as they are elected officials, not noblemen and noblewomen. Maybe the town of new milford had it wrong all this time and its your standing on ceremony and being above the rest of New Milford that had the town miss the opportunity to buy the property next to the high school? Or did they not give you official notice???
DudleyDoRight October 21, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Some of the council members have kids in the local school system. They probably heard about the presentation from notices sent home with their kids.
NM Resident October 22, 2012 at 03:31 PM
FOD, Please take a step back and realize the original UW/ FOD location has promise again. Perhaps with current local news (lurings) it is not too much to ask for DEO/ FOD advocates to be more sympathetic, even more caring, to the local DEO neighborhood residents who are expressing concerns about having thousands more transient cars parking around their homes over the course of the year. Seems to me whenever anyone who lives in the local area expresses these concerns (parking/ crowded streets, overcrowding) they are attacked with rhetoric about "NIMBY" and "how they don't care about the needs of the football kids of NM" or about how public streets are not owned by the resident, and therefore open game for whatever the FOD needs. Seems to me, the opposite is actually true and these local residents care a great deal about their kids and their neighborhood. I think the FOD advocates are doing their best to provide for the kids and have good intentions, but they could take a step back and realize the UW property, The ORIGINAL location THEY proposed for the FOD, could be back in play for the residents if everyone works together. The DEO/FOD proposal isn't going to disappear if it doesn't happen before the UW property is fully resolved- right? Let's all care about ALL of our neighbors and ALL of the KIDS and families of NM. The UW property is in a much less residential neighborhood, and has much better access in and out that can be monitored and controlled.
irene sette October 25, 2012 at 10:17 PM
please vote NO, for this I agree, however the United Water land should be left alone as well. There is now need to bulid another shpo rite, where are the seniors going to shop? how will they get there? Also, there is too much flooding in NM now. Leave the united Water land alone. If we really need a football field, let the parents pay for it. I pay enough school taxes. Why should I pay school taxes without kids, when a family with 4 kids pays the SAME amount of school taxes, and someone with one kid pays the same. If you have kids, you are using the schools, & fields, then you should pay MORE school taxes. I pay more than my share, let the parents pay more. It's like asking someone to pay for tolls, when they don't drive! Enough is enough, lets start having the scale balanced.

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