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Poll: Is the Turf Plan at Cardinal Stadium a Good Idea?

How do you feel about the proposal to lay turf in Cardinal Stadium?

Youth sports groups in the township have been raising funds for the possible turfing of Cadinal Stadium, and have raised $425,000, .

The district is already planning to replace the track in 2013.

Paul Pender July 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
When will our supposed school board reign in the spending. For supposedly being smart people, they do a lot of dumb things. Thats right. Its not their money, they don't care, because its for the children. No its for monuments to themselves. Ohhhh, look what I got built. I'm special. SMH
madMAX July 25, 2012 at 05:05 AM
The township and youth sports say they will pay for half of the cost to install turf on the field but who is going to pay the bill when the turf needs to be replaced in a few years. Putting turf in now means you will not only need to pay for it now but will need to pay for upkeep and hundreds of thousands of dollars for replacements. Short term thinking like this will hurt our district in the future.
Jake July 25, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Since i no longer have children in the School District, I should be on the side of the against all improvements crowd. On the contrary, the success of the School District is very important to our family and all families in in Upper Dublin. The new turf will be used and appreciated by more people and sports programs in the community, and will actually save maintenance costs, be safer, etc. I am hardly a local liberal, and for the most part am against spending. But as a business owner, i realize that investment is very important to the longevity of a successful community.
Joe Koenig July 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
@Jake: It is unfair to paint me or others like me as against all improvements. Maybe "Thou doest protest too much". Taxes have risen tremendoulsy over the past 7 years. To those who say the schools reputation keeps home values up, I say that when taxes rise, the potenetial residents look elseware to relocate. In addition, those on fixed incomes or for that matter those of us that have not seen increases in wages are feeling pressure to stay in the Township. When there is a mass exodus of residents, values will drop, it's just the nature of the marketplace. Finally Jake, what makes turfing the football field and improvement. It's only a change that presents new challenges and costs.
Stop with the Taxes July 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Other than Bob Danaher saying the new fields will have 100s of hours of community use, is there any study to back this up? You also got to love how this is coming up in August when people are away on vacation, the SPARC complex was approved the same way, no study to justify the spend and a summer fast approval. The school district has 2 turf fields available. They spent over $2,000,000 for construction at SPARC and is committed to pay an additional $650,000 in six years when those fields need to be replaced. The Township is also committed to pay $650,000 for replacement at SPARC at the same time. Mr. Danaher committed that the youth sports teams and other users of the SPARC fields will come up with an additional $650,000. If they don’t the township/school district will make up the difference. These existing fields have plenty of available slots for usage by the community. Why not use them?
Stop with the Taxes July 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM
So what do we get with a third field? Another $1 million in expenses for the school district and a future debt for replacement in 10 years. The UDJAA is committing $375,000 but why? Only 5% of their members would potentially use this field and they already paid for and are using the SPARC fields. Why would they want to have another field? If their members use this field then they don’t need the other one. Why do they generate $120,000 in profit from fees per year anyway? Are their 2,000 members really overpaying that much? This is a huge waste of money given that we already have 2 fields. Yes it would have been nice if the HS stadium was turf but that horse left the barn when we built SPARC. Maybe if a need study was done before the SPARC decision we would have invested the money in the right locations. Quit throwing money out the window, spend it on things we need or better yet don’t spend it at all.
Don M July 25, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Jake, with all due respect, there are many projects that warrant an investment to ensure longevity. This project is merely about one-upping another school district with turf instead of grass with no tangible benefit to our students or community. You want a technology center or library to enhance learning, I'm listening, but this proposal adds no value to our district. BTW, let's also be clear about the wording of this article... this isn't "community" money, it's $100,000 township tax dollars and $425,000 stolen from a youth sports organization whose young members continue to suffer through inadequate and washed out fields and equipment but whose registration fees are diverted to pay for this gift. Safety and investment into developmental years of our youth should be considered ahead of polishing the shining city on the hill.
Stop with the Taxes July 25, 2012 at 04:28 PM
One final note. The Turf field for the stadium was a part of the $119 million school project as an alternate. The school board decided that we did not need that field and did not build it with the school. Now we need it??? What changed?
My two cents July 25, 2012 at 09:06 PM
If the group that wants the turf can find a company with deep pockets to underwrite the cost of install and use the raised money to cover the going forward reserves that would be one thing. As it stands now we have asked teachers for pay cuts, reduced our reserves,raised taxes,cut activty budgets at the highschool and are STILL LOOKING TO MAKE MORE CUTS. How than do we justify money For turf? Everybody wants tne best for our kids but sometimes you just have to say NO.
Steve hirshenhorn July 26, 2012 at 01:58 AM
This is a waste of taxpayer and youth sports money that would benefit few. I'd like to know what school board member's brainchild this was since i haven't heard any school board member propose returfing Cardinal Stadium publically to the Upper Dublin community. SInce when does a private citizen have to carry water for the school board and district administration? We've had our property taxes raised by over 20 percent in the last four years and I'm sure another incrrease is coming next year with this board. UDSD and the board must come to the realization that they need to stop recklessly spending money needed for more worthy projects that should benefit a far greater number of UD families.
Fred Kaplan July 26, 2012 at 02:10 PM
The school district already has funds appropriated for capital improvements, so there will be no effect on the operating budget. The township does not have enough fields to support both the school and community teams, so in lieu of building more parks, in space we do not have, a turf field at Cardinal Stadium will enable greater year-round usage than grass. The community sports teams are paying a significant amount of the costs to support their use. The turf field will also enable UD to attract fee-paying events such as tournaments that will put money back into our sports clubs.
Stop with the Taxes July 26, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Fred come on. Yes the school district floated another bond. They have $2.7 million to spend on over $8 million of defined need. They still need to build a bus garage that was promised as a part of the HS bond. This is more about where to spend the $2.7 million when you have $ 8 million in defined need. Do we fix windows at Fort Washington, or the roof at SRMS or put in turf? How can you say the township does not have enough fields? SPARK goes unused on many days and we have plenty of fields. The Soccer program uses the grass fields just fields for most of their needs. I would agree we need baseball fields but that does not apply to this request. The township currently has a program for fee-paying use of SPARK. Most external groups have found the charges to be way too high so the fields go unused. Other communities charge much less and get more use of their fields. Any money collected goes to the township general fund not the youth sports teams. Do you know that for the past two years the school district generated less than $15,000 in net profit for rental of ALL buildings for any use including the pool, guys and classrooms. If you consider that the school district pays an administrator over $90,000 a year, which was a newly created position when the HS was built, to manage these rentals we actually lose money trying to rent the facilities.
My two cents July 26, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Vague and wishfull thinking. How much does the school district have for capital improvements? How much is allocated? What other projects directly related to education would suffer if the district uses those funds for a turf field. In terms of not enough fields let's count them... Moundak,camphill,lochalsh,franklin,sandy run,edwards,high school,middle school maple glen. I may have missed a few. Not to mention that redoing the field in expensive turf does not add a field it just makes it better. Perhaps the money would be better spent improving the building at sandy run ,buying computers or scienece labs. If all else fails but more ground for fields that can just be mowed. Like the old farm at welsh and dreshertown rds.
Curmudgeon July 26, 2012 at 03:01 PM
While the non-scientific poll seems to have the turf unpopular, all of a sudden the let's spend all we have and more group headed by the same people have started to vote. DON'T LET THEM WIN THE NEXT SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION WITH THEIR SAME 300 VOTERS!! I'm waiting to see how overbooked the new High School Theater is. I'm sure there will be a waiting list to hold events there. Another overspending project, but it looks great!!!
Fred Kaplan July 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM
As a board member of the soccer club, I can assure you that there are not enough fileds. We often must schedule three teams practicing simultaneously on one field. Imagine three basketball teams practicing on one court with only 2 baskets - certainly not workable. You are just plain wrong if you think that we have enough fields to accomodate all the kids who play soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and football - for school and community teams. Talk to the schedulers.
My two cents July 26, 2012 at 03:40 PM
How does spending one million dollars on an EXISTING field solve that problem?
Stop with the Taxes July 26, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Fred if the soccer team needs fields then why do they not use more of the SPARK fields? There are many days in the fall they are not used. If you need fields then why is the UDJAA board offering to put up money for the turf field when they don’t even need it as their programs already use SPARK. What money is the UDSC putting up? It looks like you have not filed tax returns in a while but your 2009 return showed you had net assets of $233,000 at the end of the year. I assume there is more now. How much is the UDSC willing to pay for the turf field? How much did they pay to build SPARK? If you need fields why did your board not attend the township or school board meetings where this was discussed? Action, or lack there of, seems to show that the UDSC only needs fields if some other organization pays for it. Where are those missing tax returns?
Stop with the Taxes July 27, 2012 at 03:51 PM
One more comment on the field. Does this school board realize that the space available inside the track is too small to support a regulation field for soccer and lacrosse? Has their Athletic Director told them? The PIAA has specific dimension requirements for fields, they grandfather in older fields that might not have the space but new fields should follow the current dimension requirements. The track runs right up against the stands so it cannot be moved to provide more room on the field. The current field is not wide enough for those sports and when they play at the Stadium, which they don’t do much anymore, they play on a non regulation field. To see what I mean go look at the two SPARK fields. The upper field is lined for Girls Lacrosse and Soccer and is much wider than the lower field which is not lined for those sports. That is why they do not play soccer or girls lacrosse on the lower field. Anyone who knows boys lacrosse knows they play on a small field at SPARK. The youth sports don’t care about a regulation field which is why they are pushing for the field. Why would the School Board put in a turf field which does not meet the PIAA dimensions required of new fields for most of the potential users? The Field will not fit.
Mike July 28, 2012 at 01:04 PM
It is disturbing when grown adults can't have an active dialog about a topic like this without getting personal and nasty. It is also important to make sure you try and get your facts right without firing from the hip and making it up as you go. There are not enough fields in Upper Dublin to support the sports programs of both the high school and the community. The good news is that more kids want to participate and that's a good thing. The bad news is that we have to cram multiple teams on fields, limit practice time, or play on fields that are becoming unsafe due to over use all year long. Grass fields are not meant to be used all year long seven days a week. It is the reason so many of them are in such bad shape right now. The grass fields need to be reseeded annually and taken out of service for periods of time so they can recover. This is especially true because we have no irrigation. The stadium is only used a couple of dozen times every year. The school football team can't practice in the stadium because it would beat up the grass field so badly that it would create an unsafe environment for games. Instead they now need to practice in the outfields of the baseball fields, and tear those up, because they and several other sports teams have to take turns, on alternate days, practicing on SPARK. There clearly is not enough field time on SPARK for either the high school or the community groups. In addition the middle school fields are a disaster and need repair
Mike July 28, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The comments above are statements of fact. So defines the problem. What is the solution? It is sole reason why the township, school, and community groups are even considering turfing the stadium. It has nothing to do with keeping up with the Jone's. As with most difficult problems there are no easy solutions, especially in terms of cost. It should be clear that any monies remaining from the high school bond issue must be used to facilities. It clearly cannot be used for plugging shortfalls in operating expenses. So lets not discusss how many teachers this could save. The track is apparently in very poor condition and is becomming an unsafe hazard. Clearly looking at turfing the field at the same time would make the most sense from an economic standpoint. It would make no sense to put in a new track and then sometime in the near future look to bring in all kinds of heavy equipment to do the turf. A turf field would involve excavating to take water from under the field, which would have to be run under the new track. If the track wasn't such a burning issue right now, I don't think the turf would be either. The reason our facilities are in such bad shape, including fields, is because of many years of neglect. If you don't do maintenance eventually you have facilities that are beyond repair. To blame this school board for the many years of neglect by prior school boards is terribly unfair. They need to be proactive or we will be replacing all of our facilites .
Joe Koenig July 28, 2012 at 01:38 PM
@Mike: I'm not sure where anyone has gotten personal and nasty. We are expressing our opinions with regard to the spending and LACK OF FUNDS!! Increasing taxes is out of the question. Sometimes regardless of the merits of an arguement, the answer is still NO. I'd like to drive a Ferrari, but at hat other cost?? We'll have to do with a Chevy right now. Please address Roger's premist that the fields would not be regulation.
Stop with the Taxes July 28, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Mike some history, when the township waited until the last minute to propose to build a pool off the high school pool they said they had to act now to take advantage of the HS construction. The Township spent over $150,000 in planning but at least were willing to do a study on need. Why did they wait to do the study who knows, The study showed the need was not there to spend over $3.5 million, the pool was not built and the $150,000 went to waste. Or how about the time the Township wanted to build a wireless Internet network to compete with Verizon and Comcast. Again we dragged our feet on doing a study and then spent $180,000 to meet a deadline. The study showed the plan was idiotic and we wasted the $180,000. So what did I learn, don't let the special interest groups lack of planning convince you to waste money.
Stop with the Taxes July 28, 2012 at 03:35 PM
So you say we need fields, Ok show me the numbers. The youth sorts teams have know they was going to be a plan to turf the stadium for over 6 years, so where is your study? We built SPARK with no study for that type of park or an overall determination of the needs of the community. If you recall we had to "act fast" to make a decision on SPARK to leverage the HS construction. So we got a nice park with limited parking and a $1,500,000 field that is only big enough for football games and has no stands. Yes great planning. The need could be there, give me some data. Tax returns would show the number of children playing soccer is down. This is really the only group that has the field issue. Youth football, lacrosse and field hockey are covered. The UDSC has offered no money. As for the HS need, we have more turf fields then just about every community in the Philadelphia area. We have more overall field space in our school district. If irrigating a field solves a problem, like it would at SRMS, then study what that would cost. The HS does not need more fields.
Stop with the Taxes July 28, 2012 at 03:50 PM
As for the HS bond and available money. The School District budgeted over $6 million to support the temporary bus garage and to build a new one as a part the HS project. We now find out that they moved $1.5 million of those costs into the general operating budget, which led to higher taxes, and do not plan to build a bus garage. The HS project is way over budget. The recent bond they did take by refinancing a bond is an operating budget hit. The business administrator provided about $8 million in projects to spend the $2.7 million borrowed. She proposed to move items which would normally be covered in the Operating Budget, i.e. resurfacing FWES parking lot, to this bond as a way to balance the budget. So yes we wanted to use long term debt to cover operating expense. Most members of this School Board have been here a long time. There is no excuse for this spending. I hope when then next meet in the high they go to the library and sit are the granite counter top of the coffee bar and think about where all the money went.
Mike July 28, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Joe, i totally understand your concern about cost but I don't agree with your analogy. The Ferrari and Chevy are both going to accomplish the same thing, by taking you from one place to another. One probably more confortably than the other. But, here we are talking about converting a grass field that can withstand a couple of dozen events a year into a facility that can handle hundreds of events a year. The school football teams would be able to stay in the stadium and practice rather than tear up the baseball and soccer fields. I would ask that people take the time and walk some of these fields so you could see yourself how ravaged they are. They are becoming worn out from over use. Short of a few winter months they are constantly in use. They need some relief or they will become hazardous and unuseable. A Turf field would solve many of the problems and may be a solution for games that would otherwise be played at Sandy Run. The soccer field at SPARK, which the school now plays on, is 60 yards by 140 yards. A similar size field would fit into the stadium. This is the same dimensions as the other turf fields I have been to at other schools. This should be no problem with PIAA requirements. Finally, no this isn't the same board that refused to spend any money maintaining our facilities. This is a board that inherited facilities that were so badly neglected that many are beyond repair. It is unfortunate that we didn't insist that better maintance be done.
Mary July 29, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Can someone tell me when and at at what township meeting this issue will be discussed further? I'd like to attend. Thank you.
Stop with the Taxes July 29, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Mike a soccer field can be from 60-70 yard wide but they require significant additional turf on the sidelines for safety of the players running out of bounds. The actual field at SPARK is 100 yards wide. The lower field at SPARK is not wide enough on the sidelines to safely play on a 60 yard wide field. Which is why the boy’s lacrosse team plays on a 53 yard field instead of the regulation 60 yards and Soccer and girls field hockey do not use that field at all? The field would fit at the stadium but teams would have to stand on the track on the sideline and near the corners there would be no out of bounds space. So it is a safety issue. Just get a tape measure. Everyone keeps talking about Sandy Run’s field. Since those need to be redone why don’t the youth programs do a study to determine need and pay to turf that field? It would seem to solve all the problems for their organization as well as school MS sports. During the HS construction we lost one field but gained 2 turf fields and had in the plans to build an additional field over the heating system field. So we are up two fields and they are turf. Add to this that girl’s soccer moved from the spring to fall which freed up the need for 3 fields in the spring which is the biggest demand for HS fields. So we have 2 more turf fields and less demand for the HS team than before the construction. So why is this HS problem?
Joe Koenig July 29, 2012 at 03:32 PM
@MARY: The next School Board Meeting is Monday, August 13th at 7:00 at the High School.
Mary July 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Thanks Joe.
Bob August 01, 2012 at 03:49 AM
I used to love living in Upper Dublin but now I can't wait to get the hell out. I hate it here anymore and the reason is the gluttonous school district and a spineless school board that loves and lives to spend other people's money. I love the police force and I applaud the township's snow removal and that's about it. My school taxes have doubled in the 10 years I've lived here and the district keeps wanting more. Enough is enough. Mr. Fred Kaplan, if there is a shortage of soccer fields then I suggest that you raise your participation fees and lease fields from neighboring townships as well as neighboring school districts and area private schools, or, you and your fellow board members as well as your program's supporters figure out a way to buy land and build the fields with the club's own money. Ditto for the lacrosse, football, field hockey clubs, the UDJAA, and the tiddelywinks club.

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