Wetlands cause turf committee to turn from Competition Field to “Field C” for resurfacing

June 21, 2013
by Brett Klein

Three years into their efforts to bring artificial turf to the Greeley Competition Field, the Chappaqua Turf Committee has learned that the cost of wetlands mitigation at the site would add about $500,000 to the $2 million price tag.  Now, instead, committee members are looking to make over Greeley athletic field C in turf.

        The Chappaqua Turf Committee has been working for the last three years to construct a multi-sport turf field at Horace Greeley, one that will benefit the entire Chappaqua community and school district. The committee’s fundraising efforts have made the possibility of a brand-new turf at Greeley realistic, if not imminent.

        The committee’s first step in the process was to receive the necessary approvals for a turf field from the school district, said committee co-chairperson Dave Baum, after which the committee turned its attention to fundraising for the project.

Cost of drainage for wetlands was prohibitive

        The original plan called for the turf field to be constructed to replace of the current Competition Field, encircled by the track and site of Greeley home football games, select Greeley soccer and lacrosse contests. However, the committee ran into significant obstacles that prevented the Competition Field from being a viable option for the turf.

        The problem was that the design of the turf field to be placed on the Competition field required “a certain amount of water runoff into the surrounding areas,” said Baum, “which are classified as wetlands.”

        The water that would invariably run off into the surrounding wetlands needed to be filtered as it drained from the field, as per the requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection. These requirements called for the installment of a water filtration system to be included during the construction of the turf field.

        The addition of a water filtration system to the equation would significantly increase the overall cost of the project by about $500,000, Baum estimates. This caused the committee to look for alternative field locations. The new plan is to situate the turf field on Field C, perpendicular to the senior parking lot, farthest from the school.

More hours of play, plus time for grass fields to recover

        The town’s grass fields often suffer as a result of overuse, Baum explained. “We feel as if our young athletes are at a disadvantage,” he said. “The fields close very quickly whenever there is rain or adverse weather.”  Having a turf field in play will allow the district’s grass fields time to recover. 

        Baum and co-chair Steffi Green believe that with the addition of a turf field, kids will get more hours to play and practice.  “The children in our community can get out more often,” said Baum, “get more exercise, and even become a little more competitive.”

        “And there are certain sports that are much better when played on turf,” said Green. “Such as field hockey. That’s a turf sport.”

        In addition to the turf field’s increased accessibility, it is a safer surface on which to play for athletes and can prevent certain injuries that could not have been avoided on a grass field, according to Baum. The turf field will not have holes, uneven surfaces, or soft ground that can lead to serious injuries.

November groundbreaking

        According to Baum, the committee is hoping to break ground this coming November. If this timetable holds, assuming the necessary funds have been collected, Baum predicts that the turf field will be ready in time for the Spring 2014 athletic season.

        Until the construction on the turf field officially begins, the community-wide fundraising effort will continue spearheaded by the Turf Committee. Baum looks forward to a potential golf outing this Fall to raise money.

        To find out more about the Chappaqua Turf Committee, its mission and goals, or to donate to the cause of bringing a turf field to Greeley, visit www.Chappaquaturf.org.

Brett Klein, HGHS Class of 2012, is a rising sophomore at Villanova University where he writes for The Villanovan, the school newspaper.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

The turf field battle within Chappaqua started in the early 90’s and I believe this is the third attempt. I hope this one makes it past the nay-sayers because turf is an excellent alternative. The C field is an ideal place for this field. It will take the brunt of soccer, lacrosse and field hockey and leave the competition field in better shape for football. The community should consider lights on this field, not to play until the wee hours, but to extend the day by a couple of hours, especially in the late fall. The school can also consider this a revenue producer – NOT FOR THE YOUTH CLUB AND RECREATIONAL TEAMS, but for other groups. Close to parking, away from the buildings, I wish this committee all the best in getting this done.

By Martin Hewitt on 06/21/2013 at 8:24 am

Competition field is the only right place if we are doing one turf field.  It can be lit, and it has the bleachers.  Turfing field C is a waste of money. 

Spend the extra time, raise the extra money and do it right.  What’s the rush? We’ve waited this long, we can wait a little longer. 

By Do It Right or Don’t Do It on 06/21/2013 at 8:49 am

Almost fifteen years ago the Board of Education asked me to chair a Turf Advisory Committee.  The 70+ page document was presented and in front of the board and entire community I said that the competition field was the WORST place to build because of the stream that runs at field level behind the bleachers.  Turf fields only work well with tremendous drainage beneath them.  I do know that it wasn’t the first time the board and community had heard that.  Obviously it wasn’t the last ….oh well.  I’m glad to hear that Field C has enough perc to handle the runoff from the upper JV Baseball field.  When I was the President of the NCBSA and we improved that upper field we were told that the build-up to the baseball field was the reason that Field C always remains wet in the corners and it was another point why the field hockey area was an even better option.  All-in-all I hope to see a turf field somewhere in the school district before Ossining builds their fourth.

By Frank Francese on 06/21/2013 at 3:05 pm

I’d love to see the turf field @ Bell.  Throw some lights around it & our downtown comes to life @ night.  Having said that, drainage could make this suggestion impractical.

By Rob Greenstein on 06/22/2013 at 7:21 pm

Yes Rob,

We all know that the turf field at Bell is part of the Napoli plan that you endorse.  So if you can get the public to buy into a turf field there you are a step closer to the ill conceived Nappoliville.

Transparency Please

By Napoli on 06/24/2013 at 9:03 am

To the person using the name Napoli,

I’ve said a number of times that I support many parts of the Napoli plan – the turf field @ Bell is certainly something I support.

As far as a turf field @ Bell, here’s a link to a letter I wrote on this subject back in April, 2012. 

Will my YOUNG kids benefit from the turf field?

I’ve shown interest in many ideas that might help to revitalize our downtown business districts.

Truth be told that the real Charles Napoli will not be happy with my suggestion to bring the turf field to Bell field as part of the turf project since that is different than his plan.  And truth be told that the turf committee will not be happy with my suggestion to bring the turf field to Bell field since they prefer the high school.

But, I do believe that a turf field field – with lights – would help to bring nightlife to downtown Chappaqua, and I support getting it done one way or the other.

By Rob Greenstein on 06/24/2013 at 9:58 am

Shouldn’t we be demanding transparency from all our candidates?

Some complain no matter what Greenstein says or does.  Some even say he should be more transparent.  What a joke! 

Where are the calls for the DEMS to be transparent?  Has Buckley ever written a single letter addressing an issue?  Has Penny?  Has Wolfensohn? 

Actually Wolfensohn has, he addressed the cup cake scandal.

By Transparency is a 2 way mirror on 06/24/2013 at 12:15 pm

I don’t understand how this is coming to light now.  Those that contributed did so expecting that the turf field would be where the football field is now and with upgrades to the track and surrounding area.  Now it is a field off to the side that will not be the focal point of the athletic fields.  Almost feels like bait and switch to me.  Frank Francese says that the drainage issue was known years ago. What am I missing?

By Confused on 06/25/2013 at 10:48 am

A fake rubber field in any location is a huge environmental and economic mistake.

By Hoping it never comes to fruition on 06/27/2013 at 7:40 am

Don’t our kids have enough stress put on their time already in this town? If the turf field was going to unlock the competition field so that the town could come together for nightime football games, that seemed OK.  But when the turf project loses that, and only keeps the benefit of more field time for our kids, I say no way.  Our kids are so scheduled up with practices as it is.  Our rec leagues leave no room for a casual player who isn’t willing to commit both weekend days to their sport of choice starting in second grade.  Our kids in MS and HS don’t get nearly enough rest as they stress to get work done after practices. How many of you moms and dads out there are over-stressed running your kids to practices and events 7 days a week?  Greenstein, can’t u resist commenting on a topic for once?  The turf committee should offer every single person who donated funds if they are still in favor of the project if it is not the competition field?  If they are not, they should get their portion of whatever money is still in the pot returned to them.  And where were the town elders who should have known the competition field wasn’t viable based on the previous study?  Frank, I wish u would have spoken up a bit sooner.  If you did, i missed it.  BOE, I think you should consider whether or not you are still in favor of this plan if it changes.

By Turf = more stress on our kids on 06/27/2013 at 2:55 pm

my kid, an AYSO soccer player, is extremely unhappy over the latest change of venue for the turf field. she intensely dislikes playing on artificial turf. I agree with Turf= more stress on our kids. The turf committee now needs to get straight with their donors who donated in good faith for the football field, not the C field.

By bait and switch on 06/30/2013 at 9:02 am

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