(This version corrects previous information. Restroom facilities are budgeted for but not to be constructed as part of the current fields contract.)
Madison Borough has signed a contract with LandTek Group for construction of long-discussed multi-use synthetic turf athletic fields.
The signing officially kicks off the first construction phase of the Madison Recreation Complex. The lighted fields, to be located behind the high school in an area known as The Pit, will encompass 10 of the 49 acres recently annexed by the borough from Florham Park.
Cost of the project is $3.398 million and includes parking, lighting, bleachers and other items, and is to be financed through a combination of interest-only notes, user fees and private donations.
Restroom facilities are included in the pricing for the turf fields, but not in the actual construction contract. Holden in an email said that the borough "is looking at separate contractors" for those facilities.
Mayor Mary-Anna Holden, borough councilman Don Links, and engineer Bob Vogel and land use services engineering assistant Daniel Buckelew from the borough, and Jeff Long, senior project manager for LandTek Group, based in Amityville, N.Y., met on June 7 to sign the contract.
“Many times you have heard me say procrastination can be a good thing,” Holden said at the signing. “While it would have been ideal to have built a facility such as this in the 1990s when the borough was awash in millions of dollars of excess cash, today, there is a convergence of a superior, safety-tested product; very favorable interest rates; a triple-A debt rating that we did not have back then; a double-dip recession where contractors are hungry for work and a motivated fields user community that has done more than its share of homework and brainstorming for not only the best design layout but has laid out a sound, strategic fundraising plan.”
Landtek’s bid was the second-lowest among 11 bids for the project—$2,693,000, along with alternate bids of $629,000 and $76,000 for lights and other items, for a total value of $3.398 million.
The project dates to 1996, when the council put together the first formal study on borough fields usage. With existing fields in progressively poor condition due to overuse, the municipality went so far as to acquire the former Bayley Ellard High School fields in 2009, but that failed to solve the problem.
Holden said demand for fields by youths and adults has “exploded” in the 15 years since the study, and that the addition of the new fields adjacent to existing synthetic and natural turf fields at the high school will give Madison one of the finest sports complexes in northern New Jersey.
The contract follows two years of intensive surveying, engineering, soil sampling and designing with personnel from the borough’s Recreation Advisory Committee, Engineering, Construction, Public Works, Water and Electric departments, and also solicited input from high school athletic director Sean Dowling, the Shade Tree Management Board and the Madison Environmental Commission.
Holden called LandTek “a very capable contracting firm leading this project.” The company has handled projects for the Mets at CitiField, and for the Giants and Jets at the new Meadowlands Stadium.
Holden acknowledged Links and Recreation Advisory Chair Marty Horn for helping to see the project through. The plans had spurred opposition from a small but vocal group who criticized everything from overall planning to the fields’ environmental impact to the effect of runoff on an underground drinking water aquifer.
Both Links and Horn continue to be involved with fundraising for the fields through the Madison Athletic Foundation (www.madisonathleticfoundation.org), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization whose goal is to raise $3.5 million for the project.
Holden also thanked the borough’s design team of Vogel and Buckelew, as well as engineering advisers Dennis Harrington, and Omland Engineering’s Frank Russo, for their help, and said the fields project opens the door to development of the entire 49 Acres.