South Brunswick and Middlesex County will be splitting the cost of adding two more turf baseball fields to Rowland Park from open space funds.
At last week's Township Council meeting, a resolution was passed to go out to bond for the $760,000 project, with South Brunswick covering $361,000 from the Open Space Trust Fund.
"We've had experience with this from the turf soccer and lacrosse field on Culver Road at Tall Timbers Park," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz. "These fields allow for continuous play, water is easily drained and they're very low maintenance. It's been a huge success and that's why we went for two more fields."
In 2011, the council passed a bond ordinance for $432,250 for a turf baseball field and a multi-use convertible field, with Middlesex County also providing funds for the estimated $1.5 million total cost.
The new fields are expected to be a cost benefit to the township in the long run, according to township officials, as turf fields don't need the constant upkeep as do natural grass athletic fields. The turf fields only need to be worked on for about one hour every couple of months by a machine that fluffs up the turf material.
"There will be quite a bit of cost savings over time by using turf fields," said Recreation and Parks Director Tom Morris in 2011. "You don't have to cut the grass, you don't have to fertilize it and you don't have to water it, which over the years will save a considerable amount of money. It's hard to determine what the savings will be per field but it's substantial."
The township will now go out to bid on the project with no time frame for the start and completion dates of the work available yet.
"We have the experience now that turf fields improve playability, they're low maintenance and the fields are safer for the children that play on them," Schmalz said.