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Tough Questions Ahead for Council in Turf Decision

Members of the Turf Committee will present their research during a special hearing on March 12 – but could there be costs that weren’t included?

This version corrects the date of the presentation, which will take place on March 12.

Led by Mike DeFeo, members of the appointed Turf Committee will present their recommendation to the Town Council, recommending turf installation at Fontana Field outside Southington High School.

But could there be more costs than the turf committee anticipated?

Members of the committee spent the better part of three and a half months working on a turf review which determined that the town could over the course of the next decade compared to natural grass if the town were to switch to turf. The move would also provide an increase in use at Fontana Field and could help the town save more depending on additional revenues as a result of the field.

But a leaked comment from insiders involved in the turf installation at Cheshire Academy reveal potential costs that may not have been included in the exploration done by the turf committee.

The question-oriented statement includes details of the turf installation project at the Cheshire prep school, saying there was a $30,000 additional cost for design, increased maintenance costs as a result of a much higher field use, increased costs to students to acquire appropriate footwear for the field and cost increases for track maintenance as part of the project.

Click the link to see being presented to the council on March 12.

Today we want to know – do you support turf installation at ? What would it take to sway your decision?

Patrick J February 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM
"Better the devil we know than the devil we don't know." An old saying but probably true. This "independent" committee has wanted this project to go through from the beginning. The margin of savings they represent is just large enough to sway the crowd in favor BUT as is obvious the information probably accentuates the positive and hides the negative. New footware!? Sheesh, you don't need that with grass. Who's paying for that and how much is that going to cost just for the kids using the field now. And that's just one point not considered. And more cost to maintain the track?! Why don't we spend good money to fix the track -- that's the thing that's in bad shape; but that's not football, right Fontana? By the time you add the true costs up, the traditional grass looks just fine. Work on a new lawncare contract because spring's around the corner!
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM
It looks like another dog and pony show coming tonite. This field is going to cost us double before it is done. Fix the grass!
Tony Casale February 27, 2012 at 01:02 PM
The Turf Committee will not present tonight, they have been re-scheduled to next month. The sewer assment takes the spotlight this evening.
John Moise February 27, 2012 at 01:04 PM
The turf discussion at the Town Council has been postponed to March. There is too much on the council's plate. It would not look good to approve 1 million dollars for turf on the same night the council votes to increase sewer rates and maybe find out the grand list had a minimal increase. Not to mention the revaluation that shows property losing its value. I hope the council does their due process and reviews the exact cost on turf before they move forward.
Pensive February 27, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Simple question: "Would you spend YOUR money to replace YOUR front yard with turf?"
Arthur Cyr February 27, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Mr. Moise was suppose to post some of his research on this subject, but we're all still waiting. Was a private prep school the only location that had different costs? Wasn't it also installed in Glastonbury and Portland facilities? Did the Cheshire prep school have the same contractor that gave Southington a preliminary design and cost estimates? Are we really comparing apples to apples? Some people posting here keep using the $1 million figure, but weren't the total costs presented more like a total of $850,000? Seems like some people on both sides are both exaggerating some numbers. Another month before this gets presented to the Town Council is a plus for all sides to get the facts out to the public.
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Thanks, Tony.
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Glad to see a voice of reason on the topic. It may not be 1 million on the proposal but I will bet that it runs over budget. Let's hope that it is handled better than the Hatton school project was.
Arthur Cyr February 27, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Jim Bard - Thankfully this Town has gotten much better in planning and completing major projects since the Hatton school mess years ago. The last four school projects went well, under budget and completed on time. That has a lot to do with the better committees that oversee those kinds of projects. We can also not base our future plans solely on a past failure. Rather than still talking about Hatton, lets remember how well Plantsville and South End projects were done in the past two years. We have also had major changes in personnel in this town in the past two years.
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Thanks Art!! You are a great help!! Forget the Bad, remember the good! Got it.
John Leary February 27, 2012 at 05:17 PM
A recent article in the New Haven Register is reporting that a group of parents received approval from Woodbridge BOE last month to begin fundraising efforts to raise $1 million for an artificial turf field at Amity Regional High School. Article also states that annual maintenance costs will be $15K per year.
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM
"CHESHIRE — A Rockland, Mass., company has been chosen to install an artificial turf football field at Cheshire High School and to replace the running track that surrounds it. The Town Council voted 6-2 last week to select R.A.D. Sports for the project, which is expected to begin next month. The company will receive up to $1.04 million for the work, which includes installing a new drainage system at the football field. The overall cost of the project will be $1.38 million once all the work is complete." check the linkPasted from <http://www.newhavenregister.com/articles/2011/07/31/news/metro/doc4e35eae1be13d359318381.txt>
Arthur Cyr February 27, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Cheshire - Isn't that also the location that got a $525,000 grant to offset the numbers above? As I recall, the Cheshire facility also needed to replace the track for $185,000 - $190,000. Depending on the existing facility and whats needed, some projects cost more to complete, while others cost less. Also saw an article about Amity High School moving forward with a artificial turf project. They also project yearly costs savings of $20,000 vs. grass.
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 07:20 PM
You are correct Art don't forget to mention this too. "All together, the Turf Committee donated more than $270,000 for the project. Coupled with a $525,000 state grant for the field, it was enough to move the project forward." If Southington had $795,000 towards our project nobody would be saying a peep. copied from http://www.cheshireherald.com/node/4404
Norm Charette February 27, 2012 at 07:22 PM
The prep school project was a start to finish ground up project. They took a grass area and turned it into a playing field and track. In essence that is what needs to be done at the high school. Cheshire added drainage as it was not present. I am not sure of the contractor used on this project but I will find out.
Norm Charette February 27, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Yes Art you art correct a grant was awarded for this project.
JIM BARD February 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Amity is not moving forward on a turf project. They are allowing a community group to raise funds for a turf field. Surprisingly they are looking to raise 1,000,000. http://bethwood.patch.com/articles/turf-wars-avoided-at-amity
Pensive February 28, 2012 at 12:32 AM
It seems that the annual savings vs the cost is a meager return-on-investment. Council: HEED NEED RE-SEED.
Tony M February 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I keep reading about Artificial Turf and have yet to read about the under surface for it. Will someone please enlighten me. Doesn't it have to be laid on a concrete or cement base? Also what about injuries? I have heard that more serious injuries are caused on artificial turf. I could be wrong.
Tony Casale February 28, 2012 at 02:01 AM
The subsurface is a composite of sand and a silica based product, but the exact make up depends entirely on the vendor you choose, each manufacturer uses a different combination.
Jason Vallee (Editor) February 28, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Hi Tony, We started to get into it a bit here: http://southington.patch.com/articles/turf-questions-where-the-rubber-meets-the-sand More details will be provided on what's underneath if and when the town hires a company and chooses the base type. Thanks for your interest.
Philip D'A February 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM
The Town Council's whimillin' about the decline in the grand list and 2-3% increases in budget requests (the larger from Education -- where else?), and what that's going to do the the mill rate and taxpayers' family budgets. It seems to me that this is a project that should be DoA when the meeting does occur. And I don't believe for a minute that the delay was due to Council workload. It's merely a tempo, a delay, so that all the cons can be aired so the promoters of this white elephant can come up with some lies to work around them when it does come to meetin'.

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