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'Field Of Dreams' Presentation Hosted By Board Of Education

Boswell Engineering delivers presentation on the design and cost of the proposed 'Field of Dreams' during recent Board of Education meeting.

While voters will have the final say on a proposed multi-use athletic field—dubbed the 'Field of Dreams'-- to be built at David E. Owens Middle School (DEOMS), Kevin Boswell of Boswell Engineering made a presentation regarding its design during September's Board of Education meeting. This field would be a shared service between the borough and the New Milford Board of Education.

A PERC test was performed on the soil in June as a first step in determining if the DEOMS field can even be considered a viable contender. The results of that PERC soil test indicated that the middle school location would be an appropriate site for a turf field. 

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. 

According to Boswell, the plans include bleachers that can seat up to 800 spectators, a concession with accomodations for an ice machine, bathroom, visitor and home team meeting room.

Built into the design is a walking path that would circle the perimeter of the field for use by residents. 

Only two existing trees would be removed from the northeast corner; all other trees would remain.

Boswell said that the plan for the lighting system calls for six lights. Four lights for the football/soccer field and two lights for the softball field. According to Boswell, the proposed lighting system is considered to be the next generation and used by many municipalities and schools because "the direct light impact offsite will be virtually nonexistent." 

Boswell indicated that the plan includes adding 80 additional parking spaces to the existing 76, giving a total of 156 parking spaces--more spaces than New Milford High School currently has. 

One of the main concerns raised by residents was traffic during games. Boswell explained that it would be similar to what New Milford currently does to control traffic during games--surrounding entrances can be shut making spectators park away from the field if they do not get there early enough to get a parking space. 

Boswell said that if the bond gets approved, it would take 60 days to design the plans. The project would go to bid in March and be awarded in April. The work would be scheduled to start at the end of the school year with a completion date of October 2013.

Boswell will be delivering this presentation to the Mayor and Council. A date for that presentation has not yet been determined. 

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FACT: Boswell estimated 600-700 attendance at significant events, with 156 parking spaces to be shared between the Middle School & Staff, Field Staff, Athletes and Visitors during such times. Boswell based their parking space design to meet MINIMUM standards, at 3 people per car. Let's do the math- It doesn't add up- there IS NOT enough parking allocated on site ESPECIALLY when there is anything going on in the Middle School at the same time, which will always happen. FACT: the field is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood w/ limited parking to begin with- & even more limited ingress & egress to the site. Anyone that lives in the area will tell you that that the field is surrounded by dead end, narrow, residential streets, limited access all around, & access from Madison Ave is EXTREMELY limited- with or without police presence. When pressed for explanations to these obvious oversights we were told that "they hadn't looked into it yet, but upon first viewing, it looked ok"- & local residents in other towns deal w/ the overcrowding, inherent safety risks and burden placed on the neighborhood, so New Milford residents could just do the same... New Milford's youth and coaching NEED better working scenarios for our Sports Programs -We ALL want that, but building this engineered monstrosity and affording the cost to maintain it in the middle of a residential neighborhood- IN PERPETUITY- is simply not safe or realistic for this location & our town at this time.
John October 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM
When they say shared service does that mean that only the BOE and the NMAD can only use the field? If I work in the afternoon and want to use the field in the morning. is the BOE going to let me be on the property? How is this going to work for the residents who want to use the field? Would like for this to be spelled out.
Nicholas, can you help us to understand your comment and expand on any knowledge you have about when the site was used for dumping?
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM
It's quite interesting to read the comments that have been flowing following this story and the others that have run regarding this field. I've unfortunately sat by and watched people post anonymous comments that obviously have a personal agenda attached to them. Here are some fact-based observations, and please keep in mind that I am not telling people HOW to vote, but merely I would like those votes to be made with all the information out there. The UW property is not an option at this time. It is not owned by the town, there is no clear-cut decision on what the future of it is, and the development of this field at the middle school IS a viable option that can have almost immediate and much needed results. My children are not superstar athletes, but they enjoy participating in various sports and will benefit from this field. As a homeowner in town, I will benefit on the eventual value of my home by having a facility such as this. The modest tax increase (reported $62-70 per year x 10 years) is nothing compared to the value this brings, not only monetarily to my home, but to our community as a whole. Addressing traffic concerns... My estimation is that there are about 500 or so children (plus faculty and stuff) at Owens now with traffic coming in and out there daily with the average of 1-2 of those people per car. Yet no one has brought this up as an issue. People will walk to games... (Cont.)
Denise October 04, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Did you know (depending on the make of the car/suv) the gas tank can be filled up for $62-70, most likely $80 twice a month, depending on driving habits/needs.....
CB October 04, 2012 at 05:01 PM
This field does belong at UW property. Right now, we don't own it.But maybe we can. First we need to stop Hekmian. Second we need to stop Subrizi from rezoning. Then maybe we can get the land and put the field there. But we really need better fields. They are embarrassing now. And better fields will increase home values.
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM
People will ride bicycles. Traffic and/or parking will not be an issue. And what are we talking about here? Five home games for the high school. Four home games for the Junior football program. Those are the most attended events, and if anyone commenting has been to those games, they will see that there are no traffic issues, no parking issues. The bleacher setup at the proposed field is based on the existing one at NMHS. Those bleachers are half-filled usually? Traffic/parking... non issue. The rest of the sports are sporadic, not inter-town and attract fractions of the crowds. All fields in area towns are in residential neighborhoods, so let's all relax or move to Iowa if we want seclusion from such. On the subject of alleged dumping on this site. If you heard the engineers, they are not digging deep or excavating the entire site. Has anyone made this an issue while our children and students have been playing on this field for how long now? The bottom line here is this. Let's let the truths be told, not make up stories, mountains out of molehills and give the current children of New Milford a place they deserve, as well as future generations.
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@Denise. Yes I did know that. I also know that many buy a cup of coffee out at $2 a day or more, and we all spend money on frivolity and guilty pleasures. What I am saying is not that it's not a lot of money to some, but it is an investment in the community, our children and in the value of your home. Ask any realtor if such a facility would increase value as well as make homes currently sitting on the market for long periods more attractive to buyers.
David Bednarcik October 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I hope and pray for no more development in New Milford
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 05:19 PM
@David ... What about improvement?
Ulises October 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Mr. Davis, would you happen to know how much was paid to Boswell by the BoE, so far?
Susana McCarten October 04, 2012 at 05:30 PM
@ Dan. Well put! Very well put! Vote for the field and stop with the NMBY! I live on Williams field and put up with plenty! It's about time this town awoke from its slumber and realized how much we have let ourself go!
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Sorry Ulises I do not, but I'm sure you could place a call and find out as it's public record.
Thanks Dan. Thus far this thread seems to be free of off the cuff "agenda" based commentary. It would be great to see that continue. At the meeting, we did actually inquiry with Boswell about whether or not we could expect to see an increase in the value of our homes in NM based on the FOD. They were clear that there was NO basis to think it would increase our value. They have installed other facilities and have not seen an increase for property values. No research i have done indicates anything to the contrary, and i am sure Boswell would have been happy to provide such a stat if one existed. To the contrary, we start to see a probability of lower valuations for the neighborhood based on noise, traffic & parking conditions. And then of course, the financial long term risks and higher overall expenses in NM associated with developing a facility in our town that we do not have any experience maintaining- to start with, turf only has an 8yr warrantee, and at minimum, a replacement cost of @ 300 + thousand at least once a decade (after the geese ruin the first one right away). There are fewer complaints about the traffic flow currently at the school, because as it exists, the facility & design accommodate well for their needs. The new concern is- that a Field estimated to add 800 potential visitors to the site with only 80 additional parking spots is clearly under designed, & by design, requires more than the immediate neighborhood to pick up the enormous slack.
Barbara Giordano October 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM
This whole thing is ridiuclous! Too expensive for the tax payers and will be much to disturbing for the neighborhood. Better to do this behind the library. Just hope everybody votes it down in November!
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 06:06 PM
@Anonymous. While I do not recall that question coming up at that meeting (not saying it didn't, but I just don't remember), Boswell is not a realtor. I can tell you that I spoke with a prominent realtor in the area, that realtor did say they would A) expect an increase B) it would increase desirability to move to NM; and C) that it would help homes (last I heard 70+) that have been sitting on the market sell faster. Where is your data to backup that home values would go down? Addressing field maintenance: Yes that turf would have to be replaced at that price most likely in 10-12 years according to Boswell. He made no mention of geese "ruining it" so is that a fact that you have from somewhere else? Also, when was the last time you were at a football game and saw 800+ people in attendance? If it's in your humble opinion that's one thing, but please do not try to pass these items off as facts... thanks.
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 06:11 PM
@Barbara... Is it too expensive for ALL taxpayers? That should be decided or possibly as Councilman Berner has said we can get grants, why not grants or private donations for this. And why do it behind the library? Or at the UW property? Or even at the existing high school site or behind borough hall for that matter if it was possible (which it is not). Those are residential areas as well... maybe just not yours? All sites in our town and at similar facilties in other towns are in residential areas..
Ulises October 04, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mr. Davis, what's plan B if the voters vote against this referendum?
Barbara Giordano October 04, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I lived behind this area when it was just woods. Don't remember any dumping.
Dan Davis October 04, 2012 at 06:51 PM
@Anonymous: I love Google too. I found a story on a Long Island area Patch site (http://fivetowns.patch.com/articles/new-turf-fields-at-grant-park-to-open-this-weekend). "The synthetic fields will provide a savings in the future with reduced maintenance costs, according to DPW officials. A batting cage, a new playground and adult exercise equipment were also added to the park. The biggest improvement with the fields is significantly better drainage, according to county officials. Whereas the old fields flooded easily, synthetic fields can be ready for play about five minutes after the rain stops. The entire perimeter of the fields has a 12-inch draining system. Geese also don’t seem to like the fields, which should mitigate the old fields’ droppings problem." Question for our DPW is, does this save us in pesticides, fertilizer, man-hours? Wouldn't it be interesting if it's $30,000 a year (or that $300K after 10-year number)? You never know. There are numerous stories on geese not liking turf. There are also numerous products out there to deter them on both turf and grass. And just like you say people are against turf-based fields for various reasons, the same can go for the people who are pro turf. Just like any product out there, be it wine, foods, etc. Some say they're good, some say they're bad.
russ October 04, 2012 at 06:53 PM
While I believe we need improvements to our varsity football/soccer field explain to me why we need to turf two softball fields and a baseball field at the middle school? I personally think rec fields for softball and soccer are excellent, especially the fields behind the library. On top of that this project is a waste of taxpayer money. A football field\soccer improvement is all that is needed, build it or improve it, that's it. The rest of it is totally useless. And if you have to wait to see what happens to the water company property the solution is simple in my mind. Wait. Don't rush into a project with aspects you don't need. If those rec fields were so bad behind the boro hall why put lights over there? And on the subject of lights there are no lights at the library field for one reason. It is to protect the neighborhood. The same courtesy should be shown at the middle school and it's neighborhood. In closing...I want the football\soccer field That's it. I know the referendum is not binding. If this is deal of all or nothing. then you have to take nothing and vote it down. It's too costly and not as many benefits as you think.
You are right Dan, It seems the discussion part of it can go either way depending on your position. The question is then CAN NM AFFORD it if it doesn't go the right way? There are plenty of projects on hold in NM that don't seem to be able to be fully funded. How about our Utilities that flood constantly & cause brownout/ blackouts costing all NM residents plenty of time and expense- time and time again? That's a pretty important thing, no? That seems like a great place to start talking about improved home values, no? I mean, if we are spending money we don't have anyway, why not dream a little? Consistant power in NM! Go team! This FOD project that was proposed in APRIL at 1.9 million is now up to 3-4 million in October. How long before the real expenses associated with the long term usage and maintenance are fully realized and calculated? Do we really think its just going to be less than 100.00 per year, per resident, once the numbers come in for all of the 1/2 dozen questions that went unanswered at the meeting because they "hadn't looked into it yet"? And, to be fair, if the argument against local over crowding and parking issues is that "only a few people come to the home games anyway"- do we really need a project of this scope to accommodate the realistic needs of the program? I want higher attendance at our games. I want people to want to come to NM sports. I WANT BETTER FIELDS FOR OUR CHILDREN. This is not the right plan- its too big, its too expensive.
Agreed Russ- nothing wrong with waiting a little and see how other discussions work out for the town.. ------------ "Boswell said that if the bond gets approved, it would take 60 days to design the plans. The project would go to bid in March and be awarded in April. The work would be scheduled to start at the end of the school year with a completion date of October 2013. Boswell will be delivering this presentation to the Mayor and Council. A date for that presentation has not yet been determined. " ----------- This timeline seems entirely out of sync with our current community issues and ongoing discussions. Nothing against Boswell, he was asked to do prelim design, make this proposal, and he is just trying to sell a job for his company, but New MIlford residents know that this timeline is out of sync with our community- both financially and timing.
Thanks Dan. You are right about calling facts facts- so I will add Common Sense to our log in name. Property valuations did come up in the meeting, & the Boswell response was as I stated above. Lower valuations due to overcrowding & an over stretched infrastructure can be found in any town with the same issues. You are right, Boswell DID NOT mention that the geese would ruin it. He actually said that geese generally do not like turf, an opinion i can't seem to find a fact to back up. So, i'm just using common sense that birds, hundreds of them are there every day, months at a time, that have been migrating to the area for many, many years, are not going to suddenly alter their flight patterns immediately because it is inconvenient for the health of the field. I can only imagine what a mixture of their droppings & other debris in a non-organic synthetic turf environment will turn into over time. That can be googled as well. Plenty of stories of synthetic turf born diseases, not found on organic natural turf environments, that have to be dealt with, sometimes with VERY SERIOUS consequences. I'm not looking only for the negative Dan, i went into this with a clear mind- only pointing out REAL CONCERNS by real citizens of NM. Ultimately we need to make a good decision in NM, not based on fear, but on good, sound, responsible, data. We have to make decisions that are truly in EVERYONE'S best interest.
Nicholas D'Amelio October 05, 2012 at 12:13 AM
REALITY, FACTS, COMMON SENSE and New Milford Residents Working TOGETHER for REAL Solutions! The land that is now being used by the middle school was swamp land and during the early fifties people dump build materials etc. During the building of the middle school they filled the land with all sort of things. I believe I heard at a towns meeting that during the PERK test they found all sort of building materials. I also think, I hard that if they are going to build the field of dreams they are going have to remove some of the debris before they could put the drainage system in. I could be wrong put I am pretty sure that what they said. The other thing is as I was growing up here in New Milford in the early 50’s to the early 60’s builders would dump all sorts of materials onto vacant land. During the 50’s and 60’s, was when New Milford grew in population and went from farms to a bedroom community. They were building house and apartments in the area where the middle school is now during that period of time. I hung around there and I saw them dumping stuff. In fairness I do not know if there is a problem in the area or not. That’s why I said you check to see if there is a problem. I would hate to see them finding a problem and then the town will have to remedy the problem before they could continue with the project. It could be very expensive fix environmental issues.
NEW MILFORD RESIDENTS- Some things to think about- 1. Can we wait to see what happens to our property taxes after this assessment?http://www.newmilfordboro.com/attachments/170_Assessor%20Reassessment%20Letter.pdf 2. Can we wait to see if the United Water Property becomes developed or not? - perhaps the builders will sponsor our high school field at the high school? OR -perhaps we will get our land back, build our park, sports fields, improve our quality of life? 3. Can we put more money in our town's reserves for emergencies?http://www.newmilfordboro.com/attachments/183_approved%20minutes%204.2.12.pdf 4. Can we see what renovations to our firehouses will cost? http://www.northjersey.com/community/announcements/168723086_New_Milford_Council_seeks_members_for_fire_house_expansion_committee.html
5. Can we work on bringing up the academic performance of our schools? can we see data for 2011-2012, can we lend more support to Michael Pollizi inside the classrooms? http://newmilford-nj.patch.com/articles/new-milford-falls-in-nj-monthly-high-school-rankings 6. Can we fix the flooding issues in other areas of our town (projects already in development that lack complete funding) (ie. Hirschfeld Brook) 7. What will happen to the old fields?They still need to be maintained right?Why is track team not important? 8. Please read: http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/synthetic_turf/crumb-rubber_infilled/fact_sheet.htm (turf burns are portals of entry for community acquired MRSA infection, increased frequency of high surface temperatures)
Denise October 05, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Dan-Had I been able to stay in NM, however, I couldn't since I receive disability benefits & could not afford a mortgage & increase in taxes. The 2 combined were more than I get receiving disability. Unforetunately I never had children. Now I know why the Senior Citizens in town vote "No" on everything, since if they did have kids, they are probably grown & not involved in the schools......P.S. I grew up in NM & would have invested in the community had I stayed, after all my Dad was a VOLUNTEER in NMFD #1.
robin commerford October 06, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Yes, people will walk to the games, but what about those that live in the area?? Sorry, but I don't want a football field in my back yard! How is this going to increase my property value? My property value is down $90,000! I can't afford any modest tax increase for an athletic field. What about the field by the town's library.. That seems to be a less crowded area.
robin commerford October 06, 2012 at 12:46 AM
I totally agree with you Barbara. There are alot of elderly people in this neighborhood and they don't need crowds of people in their backyard. If it was true that there are not alot of games, why bother spending the money on a new field. This town has plenty of athletic fields, there is not much more to this town! I will def be voting it down in November!

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