Westfield Receives $50K Toward Replacing Houlihan/Sid Fay Fields
The money is a matching grant from Union County Recreation Kids' Trust Fund
The Town of Westfield has received a $50,000 matching grant from the Union County Kids' Recreation Trust Fund to go toward replacing the Houlihan and Sid Fay synthetic turf athletic fields.
Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella announced Thursday, Oct. 18 that a total of more than $1.15 million in matching grants from the trust fund will be distributed to municipalities throughout Union County that are looking to upgrade or build playing fields, including hockey rinks, soccer fields, baseball fields, swimming pools, and other recreational facilities for children and families.
On Sept. 11, the Westfield Town Council passed a resolution allowing the recreation commission to apply for the matching grant in the amount of $387,500 for the repair of the Houlihan and Sid Fay turf fields. Had Westfield received the full amount, the other half of the money would come from the town and the recreation commission's trust fund which is comprised of user fees.
The estimated cost of replacing the entire field is approximately $780,000 to $790,000, based on an estimate from a professional engineer, Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea explained, which is why the town applied for half that amount.
The million-dollar Houlihan and Sid Fay fields, located at the corner of Rahway Avenue and Lamberts Mill Road, were installed at the end of 2005. While the fields' life expectancy is approximately 10 to 12 years, Gildea said that because of the extensive use the fields have endured they are in need of replacement within the next year or two.
"Kehler Stadium was installed at the same time as ours but their use is much lower than our use because they have it much more regulated," he said. "The good news is our field is being used. Bruce (Kauffman, director of the Westfield Recreation Department) has talked to some manufacturers and depending on who we actually go with, what we actually do and how we fund it will determine the cost. We're looking to do something in the next year or two. The use is not going to go down. It's only going to continue."
Gildea said Mayor Andy Skibitsky picked up the check from the county on Saturday and over the next several weeks the town council and the recreation commission will consider options for the fields' replacement.
"The recreation commission will have to meet and decide what the next steps are," Gildea said. "The funding will partially come from the town, the recreation trust fund, and the county. But now we have less money from the county so we may decide to apply for the grant again. We may decide to fund it from other sources. We may try to do something from the capital budget next year. There's a lot of uncertainty but the good news is we got money, not as much as we asked for, but we got money."
Established in 2004, the Kids’ Recreation Trust Fund helps municipalities upgrade their recreational facilities for children. The program is part of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, established in 2000 by popular referendum.
"Over the years, our County’s residents have played on or enjoyed dozens of fields, and athletic facilities that have been rebuilt, refurbished, expanded, or built new under this program,” Mirabella stated in a press release. “The Kids Recreation Trust Fund has made an incredible difference in our quality of life.”
The Kids’ Trust Fund consists of matching dollar-for-dollar grants that are based on proposals from Union County municipalities to upgrade their recreational offerings. The following is a list of municipalities that received grants:
2012 Kids’ Recreation Trust Fund Matching Grant Awards:
Berkeley Heights: $30,000---PAL, clay ball fields, fencing, dugouts.
Cranford: $50,000---Roosevelt Park resurfacing, Orange Ave. filter system.
Elizabeth: $150,000 – Erxleben Pool.
Fanwood: $62,000 – Forest Road Skateboard park.
Garwood: $50,000 – Athletic Field complex, two ball fields, soccer field.
Hillside: $74,000 – Rehabilitation to Margaret M. Roche facility.
Linden: $150,000---Charles Street playground, resurrect Bacheller Ave. and McGillvay.
Mountainside: $31,500 – Echo Brook Tennis Courts, storage unit, drainage system, backstops.
New Providence: $50,000 – renovate New Providence Community pool.
Plainfield: $37,500 – repair basketball courts, Seidler and Mathewson fields.
Rahway: $24,903.50 – renovate playground at Roosevelt Elementary.
Roselle: $150,000 – Chandler and Cristiani Park, active and passive recreation renovations.
Roselle Park: $14,754 – ADA compliant for recreation and equipment areas for Aldene Park.
Scotch Plains: $25,000 – various field improvements.
Springfield: $50,000 – athletic field and complex, ballfield improvements.
Summit: $50,000 – dugout pads, tennis court, bleachers, drain and landscaping.
Union: $100,000 – picnic gazebo, tennis courts, clay for ball fields.