Category Archives: West Front Street

>The Issue of Artificial Turf Fields In Middletown Was Officially Put To Rest With Resolution 10-310

>Last night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting brought the official end to the artificial turf field issue. The committee voted 3-1 to approve Resolution 10-310, which authorized that the unused bonded money that was meant for the installation of two artificial turf fields at West Front Street Park and Croydon Hall, be used instead to pay down existing bond debt.

In the audio clip below Committeewoman Pam Brightbill discusses why she reluctantly voted to approve the resolution, after which you can hear why outgoing Committeeman Sean Byrnes voted against it.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

The one curious thing about Resolution 10-310 is the fact that it is the only resolution that was discussed last night that has not made it’s way onto the Township’s website, for some reason it is missing. I am wondering if it has anything to due with the potential controversy that may surround it.

The controversy being that the original bond that was issued in 2006 which allocated funding for the turf fields specifically stated that these funds could not be used for any other purpose other than recreation, and with the nature of bond issues those funds cannot be used for the purpose offsetting operational budgets.

Using these bonded funds to pay off debt may not be legal,so until the resolution is made available to the public we’ll just have to wait to see how the Township intends to do this.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Croydon Hall, Middletown Township Committee, Pamela Brightbill, resolutions and ordinances, Sean F. Byrnes, Turf project, West Front Street

What Is Happening With The Bond For The Middletown Turf Fields?

On tonight’s agenda for the Middeltown Township Committee Workshop meeting there will be a discussion about capital improvement projects and existing bonds and what to do about them. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with the bonds the town is sitting on, namely the bond that was issued to fund the artificial turf projects for Croydon Hall and Trezza Field.

If we can all remember back to this past January when residents of Lincroft teamed up with members of the Pop Warner Chargers football organization when they found out that the long promised field restoration for Trezza Field (the home of the Chargers) was not going to happen, instead the funds for the turf project at Trezza Field was going to be diverted to West Front Street Park,caused so much trouble for Gerry Scharfenberger and Pam Brightbill earlier this year that they decided to cancel the turf projects all together in April.

The sudden decision to cancel the turf projects left everyone stunned at the time and questioning what was going to happen with the $2.6 million bond that was issued to fund the projects. The bond’s language as written was very specific, the funds couldn’t be used for anything else other than field restoration.

The following audio clip contains comments made by Middletown Attorney Brian Nelson, Middletown Township Town Administrator Tony Mercantante and mayor Gerry Scharfenberger during Workshop meetings on February 1st and March 1st,and seems to confirm that. The audio documents what the three men had been saying about the bonded money that was to be used for the construction of turf fields prior to the sudden announcement that the field project was going to be cancelled and the bonded funds returned.

Fast forward now to the last Township Committee meeting held on July 19th.

Lincroft resident and founding member of the citizens group SONIC (which opposed the turf project at West Front Street Park), Mary Mahoney, addressed the Township Committee about the unused Turf Bond that was to be used for artificial turf fields at Trezza Field, West Front Street Park and Croydon Hall. She wanted to know what was happening with the bonded money,

was there any plans to use it for anything else, how much of it had been spent and why wasn’t it retired as of yet to save the township interest payments on it.

She seemed to have taken the the Township Committee and those that make the decisions on such things by surprise. Listen to it below:

About 1:10 into her comments CFO Nick Trasente is heard saying that the bond funds could be used for other facilities, used to pay down debt or retired, which is contrary to earlier remarks made by Township Attorney Brian Nelson and Scharfenberger, who had stated at earlier meetings and can be heard above in the 1st audio clip, that the bond had to be retired if not used for turf fields and couldn’t be used for anything else.

So, what are Gerry and the boys planning on doing with the funds from this bond? It seems that they are trying to figure out a way to apply it to the budget in order to decrease 14% tax rate increase in this years municipal budget that has not been adopted yet.

If this is a concern to anyone then you should attend tonights meeting at Town Hall, it starts at 8pm. Get there early for a good seat.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Chargers, Gerry Scharfenberger, Lincroft, Mary Mahoney, Nick Trasente, Pop Warner, Sonic, Tony Mercantante, Trezza Field, Turf project, West Front Street

In Light Of The Mayor’s Decision to Cancel The Lincroft Sports Complex Lets Revist SONIC’s Letter

Now that the Mayor has declared the West Front Street and Croydon Hall sports complexes null and void due to the alleged economic condition, I thought it might be relevant to re post the letter that SONIC wrote to him and the Township Committee back in early February.

After sending Gerry Scharfenberger their letter, SONIC later went on to meet with the Mayor on Saturday February 12th to discuss the issues that were outlined in the letter during his weekly office hours.

The reasons SONIC opposed this development were reasonably stated with valid concerns.

What stands out most to me are the 2 paragraphs highlighted regarding SONIC’S questioning the timing of this expenditure during these current bad economic times. As well as their suggested solutions which the Mayor had promised to follow through with but never did.

It finally took the Governor’s convenient cut in aid (even though for many months the Mayor and others insisted that the cost of the new fields would not effect the current budget process), to get the Mayor to recognize what SONIC had been saying all along.

Expansion of Useage of the Field at West Front Street in Lincroft
February 11, 2010

Dear Mayor Scharfenberger,

I am writing this letter on behalf of a recently formed group of residents from the Lincroft Community who choose to be known as “Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character” or “SONIC” for short. This group is principally comprised of residents in and around the West Front Street soccer fields, however we are receiving support from residents and various groups in Middletown and Holmdel as a result of your announced expansion plans. It is our sincere pledge to work with you and the entire Middletown Township Committee with regard to the stated Mission of the Township, which as per Township’s own letterhead is to “Save a Life, Save a Neighborhood, Save Taxes.”

SONIC has no objection to improving these grass fields making them safer for soccer and other sports but we do not support the amenities to the sports complex. We strongly object to the plans for 70 foot tall lights, an expanded parking lot, chain link fence, public address system, snack bar and storage facilities. This represents an entirely different type and concentration of activity; permanently changing the character and integrity of the neighborhood. These changes or what was characterized as improvements are the main reasons why we feel so betrayed by you, our elected officials, in not fully disclosing your intent and the extent of this development.

The following is a list of the key elements that SONIC believes make the West Front Street site not suitable or appropriate for the intended expansion:

A Serious Traffic Hazard:
The intersection of West Front Street and Crawfords Corner/Everett Road, a county road, already is a heavily utilized traffic area. It serves as a main route into Red Bank, to various elementary and pre-schools, Brookdale Community College, CBA, as well as a route from Holmdel and elsewhere into the Town itself. Increased activity, such as Pop Warner football , will serve to increase traffic in an unbearable way, leading to a major safety hazard for those who reside and worship in the area and for the children living in and around West Front Street Park. Even with the expanded parking lot in the proposal, with the inevitable tournaments or back to back games there will be insufficient parking available. Where would the cars go but spill onto West Front St, Everett Road and side streets? Required or not, we request a traffic study be done by the county.

Drainage:
There will be drainage issues that accompany the current plan to install a drainage pipe through the easement between 109 and 111 University Dr. Natural springs and poor drainage already exist in this location.

Lighting and Sound System:
There is little to no natural buffer for the homes on Tuller Ct, Everett Road and University Drive to protect from the tall lights and P/A system. The homeowners on University Drive are very concerned with the removal of trees which may be necessary for installation of an artificial turf football field, sidelines, and additional buildings. This would further reduce an already insufficient buffer and affect our quality of life.

On Table 19 of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, of the 12 properties considered for a synthetic turf field, West Front Street Park ranked low in topography, available parking, drainage and size. Thompson Middle School and Nut Swamp School ranked considerably better in all criteria. West Front Streets overall ranking was the lowest of all available fields in the area with the exception of Nut Swamp Park.

In addition to the above issues as to why this site is inappropriate, we question the timing of this expenditure. With a projected budget deficit of $5.0MM for our Township this year, when residents are losing their jobs and others are struggling to get by on reduced incomes and reeling from increased property taxes, building a “multi-sport” complex appears extravagant. Not having a CFO and a Finance Committee in place to review all the options is, in our view causing unwise financial decisions to be made. Awarding a nearly $200,000 contract to CMX engineering before plans were appropriately vetted with those directly affected seems equally irresponsible.

Common sense and public duty requires you to act responsibly by pursuing solutions that leverage existing assets for the betterment of the entire community. One solution would be to apply a portion of the $2.5MM in funds the Township received from the bonds issued in 2006 for capital expenditures for Parks and Recreation in order to reduce the deficit and reserve a portion to improve the parking and grass condition of the existing Trezza Field. We already have two artificial turf fields in town and these are not just expensive to build but also costly to maintain. Would it not be better to resume discussion with the Board of Education to seek a Shared Use Agreement for the use of these fields? In reviewing the public correspondence between the BOE and MTC from June through September regarding the Proposed Shared Services/Land Use Agreement, we believe the BOE did their part to work this out. To claim that the BOE “lawyered up” as the reason for the failed negotiations is just not acceptable. Moreover, the President of the BOE has personally agreed to readdress this issue and the members of SONIC urge you to do so.

Accordingly, SONIC respectfully requests that prior to the February 16th Middletown Township Committee meeting a few of our members meet with you in your office to have an open and honest exchange of ideas, preferably this coming Saturday, since you will be available as a result of last week’s snowstorm. It is our hope and desire to resolve this issue for the benefit of the community as a whole and restore our trust in our elected officials.

Cordially,

On behalf of the below representatives of SONIC, et al

Sarah Hammond, Mary Mahoney, Jeffrey Blumengold, Stanley Gelfman, Trish Thomson, Jodi Molasani, Marianne Musella, and Peter Simpson


It’s too bad that in the end arrogance and bad planning on the part of Mayor Scharfenberger and others is what really doomed the sports complexes. If the Mayor and others would have stuck to the orginal plan to improve Trezza Field, the home of the Pop Warner Chargers, instead of insisting that the Chargers except West Front Street Park as their new home, both Trezza Field and Croydon Hall would be having new turf fields installed as we speak and opposition to the turf projects would have been muted.
Instead the Mayor, like a 3rd grader took his fields and went home, blaming the Governor along the way instead of looking into the mirror that would have shown the egg on his face.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Lincroft, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Board of Education, Sonic, sports complex, West Front Street

What Were They Saying Before The Decision To Cancel The Sports Complex

I went back to my archivist to see if he could grabbed me some audio clips of what everyone had to say about using the bonded funds for the artificial turf fields for other uses.

He sent me 5 clips of Township Attorney Brian Nelson,Township Administrator Tony Mercantante and Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger stating that the bond money has to be used for recreation or turf fields. These clips are from Committee meetings on February 1st, March 1st and March 15th .

Nelson and Mercantante address a person’s question concerning whether or not the bond for the turf fields could be appropriated for other use during the February 1st meeting.
Scharfenberger adds his two cents in the following three sound bites, the first two of which are from the March 1st Township Committee Workshop meeting where he is heard saying that the money for the turf fields could not be used for other projects but could be appropriated for a different facility. He later stated that the turf fields were part of Green Acres and there for needed to be discussed at an official public meeting that would be scheduled for the end of March.

The last clip is from the March 15th Township Committee meeting and is of Mayor Scharfenberger announcing that the resolution that would give the go ahead for CMX Engineering to finalize plans and proceed to mark up project bidding specifications for the sports complex at West Front Street was being pulled, but they were going to move ahead with the field at WFSP anyway just not with all the amenities.
Then all of a sudden at the informal March 23th Neighborhood Meeting at Croydon Hall, Gerry Scharfenberger announced that himself and those members of the Township Committee that were in attendance that evening came to a consensus decision to cancel the turf project all together due to concerns over state aid figures that he had just been informed of, and because of this the Township would recall the bond and return the money to the lender.
Using the decline in state aid as a cover story for cancelling the turf projects was just a convenient excuse on Scharfenberger’s end. Both he and Pam Brightbill, had been telling everyone for months prior to the meeting that the bonded funds for the turf fields had no impact on the budget and based on the article that appeared in the Independent, the Township knew a week earlier about the state aid cut, which they had been talking about for the past few Committee meetings anyway.
So will the audio shine anymore light onto the shady dealing that go on down at Town Hall? Not really, but they do give a little bit of insight into the thinking of for what and how the money that was bonded for the turf fields in 2006 could be used for even if it was contrary to the actual language of the bond ordinance.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Brian Nelson, CMX Engineering, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Township Committee, Neighborhood meetings, the Independent, Tony Mercantante, West Front Street

What Did Tony Fiore Have To Say About Trezza Field?


Middletown Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore, was not able to attend the March 15,2010 Township Meeting but was able to participate via phone call from Orlando Florida while attending work related business.

His comments were made after the business portion of the meeting was finished, during the Committee comments portion of the meeting just before the floor was opened up to the public.

He agreed with much of what Committeeman Sean Byrnes had to say about COAH and the rezoning of the Avaya property in Lincroft then went on to address the concerns over Trezza Field.

At approximately 2:35 into the audio Fiore starts to address Resolution 10-121 (Resolution 10-121 was going to authorize CMX Engineering to finish design plans for the West Front Street sports complex and develop specs so that the project could go out for bid) and the reason why the Committee pulled if from of the agenda and did not vote on it.

At approximately 5:05 into the audio Fiore talks about how, if differences with the BOE can’t be worked out and if there was a possibility that some improvements could be done at Trezza Field then it could be done from the “…design from “OUR” engineers or the perspective of “OUR” professionals come through, we may have to go down that road…”

With that type of thinking in mind prior to Alan Vrable’s presentation and the many other people that spoke in opposition to the project, one would diffinately get the idea that no matter what plans or ideas residents came up with, Fiore and crew were not, could not or will not throw their professionals under the bus by stopping the work that would be going on at West Front Street.

But the question remains, what will the Township do about Trezza Field? Will they or wont they take the Chargers/Sonic design plan for Trezza Field seriously enough to stop sports complex from going forward at West Front Street and be redirected where it was orginally intended to be, at Trezza Field?

We should hear something soon.

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Filed under Chargers, Lincroft, Middletown Township Committee, Pop Warner, Sonic, sports complex, Trezza Field, West Front Street

Comments Made By Sean Byrnes During The March 15th Township Committee Meeting: The Budget, COAH And Trezza Field

When it came time for Committee comments after the business part of the March 15th Middletown Township Committee Meeting, Committeeman Sean Byrnes had a lot to say.

Sean Byrnes address his support of the efforts that Governor Christie was making towards potentially solving the State’s budget crisis and how he hoped that Middletown would be able to address it’s own budget problems. Byrnes went on the discuss the potential changes to the COAH laws and hoped that once COAH was redefined Middeltown would be able to zone back recent rezoned properties around town to their prior pre- COAH zoning, most noticably the Avaya property in Lincroft.

Byrnes then went on to address the issue of turf fields in town and his potential support to relook at the fesiblity of expanding Trezza Field, the current home of the Pop Warner Chargers, instead of supporting the planned sports complex at West Front Street that has been loudly opposed by the Chargers and the citizens group SONIC.

As you can imaging, Byrnes gained a rousing and vocal show of support for his comments by the members of the Chargers and SONIC that were in attendance.

His comments about Trezza Field start about 4 minutes into the audio clip below for those that are interested in hearing what Sean Byrnes had to say.

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Filed under COAH, Lincroft, Middletown Township Committee, Pop Warner, Sean F. Byrnes, Sonic, Trezza Field, West Front Street

Audio: Vrable Solves Middletown’s Problem During Township Committee Meeting

By now everyone that is interested in or effected by the proposed sports complex in Lincroft that the township wants to build is familiar with the events that transpired during the Middletown Township Committee meeting on March 15, 2010.

You know that the meeting was loud, raucous and at times on the verge of being out of control if you were lucky enough to be there. If not, I have a series of audio clips from the night that I will be sharing over the next couple of day that will let everyone know exactly what they missed.

The audio clip that I have posted is of Lincroft resident Alan Vrable, who was speaking on the behalf of both the River Plaza/ Lincroft Chargers Pop Warner Football team and SONIC (Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character).

Vrable presented a detailed, engineered plan to the Township Committee that show beyond a reasonable doubt that Trezza Field ( the home of the Chargers) could in fact be resurfaced and expanded into a multi-purpose sports facility with little impact on the wetlands, that Township engineers have given as a reason why Trezza Field could not be upgraded in favor of West Front Street Park.

This is the first of 6 audio clips that I will be posting between now and the weekend from Monday nights meeting.

The other clips include comments from Sean Byrnes, Tony Fiore and Jim Cody questioning Pam Brightbill, which isn’t to be missed. It was classic!!

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Filed under Alan Vrable, Chargers, Lincroft, Middletown Township Committee, Pop Warner, Sonic, sports complex, Trezza Field, West Front Street

APP Monday Night Follow-Up: Middletown Examining Residents’ Plan For Ballfields

I was happy to see that Kevin Penton and the Asbury Park Press wrote a follow-up article that appeared in print today about the events that transpired during Monday night’s Middeltown Township Committee meeting.

Today’s article gave a better depiction of the events that went down Monday night then the first article that was published yesterday.
In this article Penton has quotes from Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, who many feel is the real person behind the West Front Street field proposal.
In the article Mercantante is quoted as saying “If it fits, it fits, but that is yet to be determined.“, which was in reference to the multipurpose field, two baseball fields and 221 parking spaces depicted on the plan which was presented by Alan Vrable on behalf of the River Plaza/Lincroft Chargers Pop Warner Football team that plays it games at Trezza Field, to the Township Committee.
Vrable told Mercantante and the Township Committee that the plan for Trezza Field was based on the 2007 T&M Engineering wetlands study, the same study that the township used to determine that Trezza field was not a viable location for the field upgrade and which made the Township decide to build the sports complex at West Front Street instead.

The article also went on to state:

“Middletown’s analysis of the residents’ plan will include a cost estimate for earth disturbance so parking spaces can be added to Trezza Field, Mercantante said. The residents’ plan eliminates a playground and a basketball court that are currently at the site, he said.” …

And concludes with words from Mayor Scharfenberger about how the Committee would take a serious look at the plan and determine if the plan was a viable alternative or not.
On the surface you may want to take what Mercantante and Scharfenberger had to say at face value and give the the benefit of the doubt, but after thinking about the quotes I was left to think that this just may be lip service.
Mercantante didn’t seem convinced that the plan would work and seemed to question the fact that the plan as presented by Alan Vrable eliminated a playground and a basketball court in favor of parking.
Would eliminating a playground and a basketball court be considered a viable alturnative by Mayor Scharfenberger? I don’t know.
Also I would like to point out that in both of Kevin Penton’s articles on the meeting he quoted Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore who was not there but was on the phone from Orlando Florida attending a work related continuing education class, about how the closing down of CMX Engineering was just a little speed bump in the road and that it wouldn’t hold up the process of deciding about the installation of the fields.
But what stood out to me during Fiore’s comments wasn’t what he had to say about CMX but what he said about the field installations in general, which was that the Committee would listen to “OUR” engineers and “OUR” professionals when determining what would be the best location for the installation of turf fields.
With this all being considered, I wonder if Mercantante, Scharfenberger and Fiore meant what they said, because if they do except the plans that were presented on the behalf of the Chargers than they would be admitting that their engineering firm gave them bad advice or is incompetant and they would be throwing them under the proverbial bus if they don’t proceed with the exsisting plan for building the sports complex at West Front Street.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, kevin penton, Lincroft, Mayor Scharfenberger, Pop Warner, sports complex, Tony Mercantante, West Front Street

RedBankGreen: MIDDLETOWN FIELD DEBATE HEATS TO A BOIL

Reporter Dustin Racioppi from RedBankGreen.com also attended last nights Middletown Township Committee meeting, I think his article did a better job at capturing the overall atmosphere and feelings that were present in the room, more so than what was published in the Asbury Park Press. He also has a few good pictures worth checking out.

Below is his take on how things went last night:

Podium pounding. Yelling. Fingerpointing. The only things missing from Monday night’s Township Committee meeting were pitchforks and torches.

To say the least, the residents are getting restless.

About 200 of them turned out to hear how the town intended to go forward with contentious plans to upgrade two athletic areas to artificial turf and add more fields to them in order to accommodate more sports. Many came to voice their concerns, some to give the committee a stern talking to and others just to grandstand.

It wasn’t for naught.

Because of a potential sale of the project’s engineer, CMX Engineering, the committee decided not to move forward just yet in finalizing plans to upgrade fields at Croydon Hall and West Front Street Park.

The governing body also nixed its plans to add lighting, a public announcement system and concession stand at West Front, which have long been a bone of contention among neighbors.

Still, a certain level of outrage remained concerning West Front.

A number of residents in the Lincroft section of town — at least 400, if you go by signed petitions gathered by resident Mary Mahoney — are against the town’s plan in one way or another. Some believe that although the committee resolved not to add the amenities now, it may try to do so in the future.

A seemingly larger number are still angered because they’d rather see Trezza Field, the longtime home of Pop Warner’s Chargers, get the improvements.

Originally the committee wanted that, too. But plans drawn up by T&M Associates to add baseball fields, multi-use fields and parking to Trezza Field proved to be an unwise choice for the town, primarily because of limited space and surrounding wetlands, said Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger. As a result, the focus shifted to the fields at West Front Street.

Since then, residents have decried the plan, saying it will increase traffic and otherwise alter the area’s quality of life. And at the meeting, Allen Vrabel tried to prove that T&M was wrong, when he took his five minutes of the public comment portion to break out a schematic drawing from an unnamed engineer and pass out copies of it to the crowd showing that the fields will fit at Trezza with sufficient parking and without impinging on wetlands.

The crowd erupted with hoots and applause.

“What you’re proposing is like putting a square peg in a round hole on West Front Street,” Vrabel said. “These can go out to bid tomorrow.”

Vrabel’s comments opened up the gates for the public to skewer the committee, which took it with aplomb — particularly Scharfenberger, who got an earful from Barbara Thorpe.

Thorpe, who scolded Scharfenberger for not paying close enough attention to her, argued that now isn’t the time to spend the estimated $2.5 million on these upgrades.

“Your priorities are all screwed up,” she said to Sharfenberger. “I don’t know what planet you come from or live on, but you are oblivious.”

The $2.5 million to support the field upgrades comes from money set aside in a 2006 bonding package, and is specifically approved for the fields, Committeewoman Pamela Brightbill said.

More pressing at the moment, though, is the fate of CMX. Scharfenberger said he’s not sure of the specifics or how a sale could potentially affect the timeline of the field work, but said the town is looking into it.

“There’s lots of variables. We’re sort of in limbo right now,” he said.

Scharfenberger said the committee is going to also look into the feasibility of Vrabel’s proposal.

“We’re going to look at this very seriously. We wanted to put (more fields) at Trezza, but conditions, as we explained, precluded that,” Scharfenberger said. “We’re going to consider everything that is viable.”

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Filed under CMX Engineering, Lincroft, Pop Warner, RedBankGreen.com, sports complex, Trezza Field, West Front Street

What’s The Latest News On The Lincroft Sports Complex?

So what’s the latest news swirling around the proposed Lincroft Sports Complex? In each of this weeks editions of the Independent and the Two River Times are articles dedicated to the happens at the most recent Middletown Workshop Meeting that took place on March 1st. Both articles are well written and represents what took place pretty well.

The Independent focus was on the on going negotiations between the Board of Education and the Township over a shared service agreement that would allow the Pop Warner Football League to play games at Middletown High School South before getting into the meat and potatoes of the nights events, while the Two River Times jumped right into it.

Here are excerpts from each article:

The Independent Talks between the Middletown Township Committee and the Board of Education will reopen to discuss allowing local sports associations to use fields at Middletown High School South.

A preliminary design plan for West Front Street Park was placed on the Middletown Township website for the public to review. The existing soccer fields would be replaced with a synthetic turf field.

Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger and Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore announced at the March 1 Township Committee meeting that they would be meeting with members of the board to discuss field usage on public school property.

“We sent a letter to the Board of Ed. today officially asking to allow the Pop Warner leagues to use High School South for their games,” Scharfenberger said. “I think that would go a long way to solve a lot of the problems and would be the best solution for all the parties involved.”

He added, “I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

The township has proposed a plan for West Front Street Park, off Crawfords Corner/ Everett Road, to replace the existing soccer fields with a synthetic turf field designed for football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse to be used by the public and local sports associations.

The proposal also calls for the Croydon Hall Complex, located on Leonardville Road, to have its football field replaced with an artificial turf field. A total of $2.5 million in unspent recreation funds would be used for the two projects.

The letter reads, “Specifically, the Township would like to request that the River Plaza/Lincroft Pop Warner Football program be permitted to utilize the football field and associated facilities at High School South for their five to six annual home games that take place on Sundays. Practices and other activities would still be able to take place at their current field while the West Front Street filed is resurfaced with turf for use by other leagues, but the need to utilize lighting, a public address system and concessions is lessened.”

Laura Agin, Middletown Board of Education president, said negotiations are under way.

“We’ve worked with the Township Committee and with shared services,” Agin said on March 4. “We’ve had concessions with them about the fields, and I think we will continue to work with them.”

However, a group in the Jersey Shore Football League weighed in on the controversy at the March 1 meeting….

The Two River Times Controversy continues to swirl around a proposed plan by the Middletown Township Committee to construct a multi-purpose athletic field at the intersection of West Front Street and Everett Road in Lincroft.

Residents from the potentially affected area once again came out en masse to voice their opposition to the proposal as it currently stands and urged the committee to reconsider constructing the field at a different location.

However, this round of rhetoric included supporters of the proposal primarily from active Pop Warner families, athletes, coaches, and members of the Middletown Athletic Club.

The most telling message sent to the committee might have come from Kevin O’Reilly, Vice President of the River Plaza Chargers, whose future home has been an ongoing topic of conversation among the committee members, the board of education, and area residents but has not, until Monday night, included the River Plaza Chargers organization.

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger opened the meeting by allowing those in attendance to speak to this issue but not before he addressed the crowd with an update from the committee’s perspective.

“We sent a letter to the Board of Education today officially asking them to allow the Pop Warner league to use High School South for their games. I think that will go a long way to solving a lot of the problems and be the best solution for all parties involved,” Scharfenberger said.

Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore also offered an updated position on the issue.

“My position (at the previous meeting) was to find a way for River Plaza Pop Warner to play five or six games at High School South. From what I understand it’s not feasible to redo the facility at Trezza Field (the Chargers current home field). It’s my viewpoint, if we are able to work with the Board of Education and potentially make improvements to their field we would not have to have lights or a P.A. system at West Front Street,” Fiore said.

Fiore added that the idea would be that the Pop Warner teams practice at Trezza and play their games at High School South. Fiore also noted that the existing soccer fields at West Front Street would still be resurfaced and improved but without lighting and a public address system.

“I think that pretty much satisfies everything I’ve heard over the last month,” Fiore said.

Not according to O’Reilly.

The River Plaza Pop Warner league sent a letter to the Township Committee outlining eight needs of the league to continue operating regardless of its location. One of those needs was a fully functioning snack bar. Additionally as important were adequate restroom facilities.

According to O’Reilly, the Pop Warner league exists solely on the revenues generated by the operation of the snack bar of which High School South does not provide.

“I wish you people would speak to us because Middletown South doesn’t work,” O’Reilly said. “We play on Saturday, we play on Sunday, we play on Monday, and we also sometimes play on Wednesday and all of our revenue is from the snack bar.”

The money generated by the snack bar, which can range between four and seven thousand dollars each game day goes toward operational costs to run the league according to O’Reilly.

“To redo the helmets is thousands and thousands of dollars,” O’Reilly said….


So what have I heard over the past few days? As I said, it has been quite but here are a few things:
The meeting between the Mayor and Deputy-Mayor with the Board of Education on Thursday March 4th didn’t go as well as the Independent may have made it out to have mainly because the Pop Warner Chargers have made it loud and clear that playing football at High School South would not benefit their organization at all.
Contrary to what Mayor Scharfenberger and others who represent the Township say a wetlands study of Trezza Field, the home of the Pop Warner Chargers, was conducted back in June of 2007 by the Township’s engineering firm T&M and it seems to confirm everything that the football people have been saying all along, that Trezza Field can be expanded and resurfaced as originally planned. The Chargers, with help from their own engineer, came up with a new site proposal for Trezza Field and shared it with Mayor Scharfenberger earlier in the week. The site proposal will be introduced to the Committee Monday night at the next scheduled Committee Meeting.
And members of SONIC are still gathering petitions signatures against the sports complex to be presented at Monday night’s Township Committee meeting. SONIC members will be out in force that night to once again voice their concerns.

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