The South Brunswick Township Council voted to accept a bid during a special meeting last night for the installation of artificial turf on the football field at Rowland Park.
The contract is expected to be awarded to low bidder Applied Landscape Tech., of Montville, who will begin work converting the existing natural grass field to a multi-use artificial turf football and soccer field.
"The reason we had a special meeting was to try and get work started as soon as possible so the field can be used this fall," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz.
At a meeting in February, the council passed a bond ordinance for $432,250 for three turf field projects, two baseball fields and the multi-use convertible field, with Middlesex County providing matching funds. But the total cost of the project exceeded initial projections.
Funding for the project will come from the open space trust funds from both the county and township, so there would be no impact on the South Brunswick municipal budget. Both trust funds allow money to be used for the development of facilities.
Township officials are awaiting word from Middlesex County as to whether matching funds are available to provide for the estimated $1.5 million total cost for converting all three fields. Township Manager Matthew Watkins said last week that the county would be willing to match whatever funds the township puts up to complete the remaining fields.
The lack of other options for football made converting that field the top priority.
"It was so crucial that we get this bid awarded because of the timeliness with football beginning in the late summer," Schmalz said. "We've already met with the baseball groups in town and they understand the fields at Rowland may be down during the summer while the turf is being installed. So they made arrangements to schedule games at other facilities. But Rowland Park is our only football field so we need to get that done by the time the season starts."
At issue with the low bid was that the contractor turned in an application that didn't carry a warranty for the turf, but the company supplying the turf does carry an eight-year warranty. The council ended up awarding the bid since the company that supplies the turf does carry the warranty.
A resolution will be voted on at next Tuesday night's council meeting to officially award the bid.