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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

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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