The initial proposal, introduced in June 2021, had an estimated cost of $18M. In September, 2021, following resident feedback, the project was scaled back by nearly half, with the revised plan covering 60% of the initial surface area, with an estimated cost of $9M. It should be noted that the approved plan keeps 40% of the space with natural grass.
The current bond ordinance that will be on the referendum is for $11.8M. Following is a detailed breakdown of those estimated costs, along with the changes from the previous $9M estimate:
$7,500,000 – Turf installation and new stormwater management system
Previous estimate was $5,575,000. This increase in this portion of the bond funding provides the Town with additional investment capacity, as needed, for two of its top priorities for the project:
• Sustainability: To select the best and most environmentally friendly turf and infill products as the marketplace continues to evolve.
• Stormwater management: To design the best resiliency in terms of stormwater management for this project and to be compliant with the forthcoming new NJ Inland Flood Protection rules that had not been underway at the time of the original estimate. It should be noted that all professional engineers who have been involved believe this project will materially improve the stormwater management on this site.
$1,500,000 – Sports field lighting and associated utility work
Previous estimate was $1,225,000. This portion of the bond funding enables the Town to choose the most advanced lighting technology on the market with negligible spillover. Professionals who have spoken on behalf of opponents of this project have acknowledged that modern lighting technology is “as good as advertised” in only lighting what is intended to be lit.
$500,000 – Facility upgrades
Previous estimate was $373,650. This portion of the bond funding enables the Town to include additional and replacement sidewalks for safety purposes, as well as robust landscaping/buffering to diminish the impact of light and noise, field equipment, fencing, and a new band tower.
$600,000 – New restroom facility and associated utility work
Original estimate was $300,000. This portion of the bond funding is needed to provide the restroom facility for the proposed use, along with the utility work necessary to accommodate the new facility.
$550,000 – Design, Survey, Geotechnical work, DEP and other necessary permitting and Construction Management for the entire project
No previous estimate, as this was not included in the original analysis scope, but the Town has since publicly bid these services and confirmed the associated costs. A project of this scope requires professional engineering expertise to achieve the best outcome and to properly comply with all state regulations.
$1,150,000 – Construction contingency and financing costs
Previous estimate was $1,121,000.
Less $565,000 down payment
= $11,235,000 total debt authorized
The $11.8M in authorized bonds is likely more than the anticipated final project cost to ensure maximum financial flexibility so that the most environmentally sensitive materials, updated stormwater mitigation measures, and adequate screening landscaping for the neighbors can be considered. Any unused authorized funds will be redirected to future uses – in this case, supporting concurrent grass field initiatives.