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Veterans Park Fields to Cost $40K to Repair

The park, which has yet to be opened to the public, will “need significant additional work over time,” Newtown Township Manager Kurt Ferguson said.

Newtown Township will pay more than $40,000 to repair a park that has hardly been used by residents.

Township officials say they have to make repairs to the soil and grass at Veterans Park because the contractor for the project has walked away from an unfinished job. The township and the contractor, Adams-Bickel Associates, are currently in litigation over the $2.4 million contract for the park.

The park was officially dedicated in May 2011 but because of problems with the quality of the grass, the fields have only been utilized on a limited basis. The park, located off Durham Road across the street from Clark Nature Center, has six ball fields.

Township Manager Kurt Ferguson said if the township wants to see the park completed, it will have to spend the money because the contractor has explicitly stated it is not returning to the job.

The Board of Supervisors on Wednesday unanimously approved spending $40,498 to make necessary improvements to the park so the grass will grow properly on the fields. But they weren’t happy about it.

“I’m angry,” Board Chairman Mike Gallagher said, adding he wants to see children play on the fields. 

Township solicitor Jeffery Garton said the township can include the costs in its counterclaim.  

But $40,000 is just the half of it.

Ferguson said Superior Turf, a company the township will use to fix the fields, has said the park needs $14,000 worth of maintenance annually for three years to make the fields playable over the long term.

The fields “need significant additional work over time" including the addition of organic materials to sustain the grass, Ferguson said.

Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association used the park on a limited basis last spring, but it came with a $7,000 price tag. That’s the amount the CRNAA had to pay to build mounds and prepare the fields for play.  

Jen Ross Dix February 14, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Mismanagement to the nth degree. My son plays baseball there on the one field that Little League spent thousands to get usable. The position of the field is such that home plate is facing west. Games have to be halted when the sun is at a certain position because there is no visibility for the batter. Just another problem that cannot be easily fixed and shouldn't have happened if we had a competent contractor and supervisors who were paying attention. Sad and frustrating for taxpayers and a total embarrassment for Newtown.
Steven Long February 14, 2013 at 11:02 PM
If you want to play on it ... PAY FOR IT!
stating the facts February 15, 2013 at 12:36 AM
And, to think some Patch readers suggested the BoS should take over [via eminent domain] and run the Newtown Swim Club! They can't even run their board meetings not to mention the Veterans Park. They ordered the topsoil to be sold off during the construction to recoup costs. They were told then, by EXPERTS, that the soil would not support turf growth due to the rock & clay base after the depletion of topsoil! Now, they expect the contractor to cough up the money? If not the contractor then the twp. taxpayers? That Board makes me, more than cough, they make me puke!
Jen Ross Dix February 15, 2013 at 02:56 AM
All the taxpayers DID pay for it....to the tune of $3 million with $600k in over runs. It's OUR tax dollars wasted. An asset that could be earning $$ in usage fees, tournament fees and boosting the local economy with extra patrons using the local restaurants and shops. Instead we have a $0 on our investment.
Kathleen Reidy February 15, 2013 at 03:16 AM
Should have never been built in the first place. It destroyed a lot of wild life and it was a beautiful place before the park was built. Used to walk my dogs back there and watch the baby foxes playing. They are gone now.
The Illuminati February 15, 2013 at 04:49 AM
Its Ok, I'm sure the board will bridge the gap by laying off more essential employees or selling vital equipment. As long as we have our precious parks and shiny new building for the supervisors to meet in. What a bunch of fiscal clowns.
stating the facts February 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM
You're right! They indirectly made the township employees pay for the shiny, new, [too] big municipal complex by laying off workers & freezing their pay! Now, the workers will have to pay for Veterans Park! It is wunderbar to verk in Newtown, Comrade!
Becky February 15, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Why are ANY of those idiots sitting on that board? Have they done ONE thing that makes sense and is to the benefit of the tax paying citizens of this township? I'm so tired of my (way too high) tax dollars being blown on their stupid mistakes. Impeach them all.
stating the facts February 15, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Well, Becky, it is the "pay-to-play" syndrome in Newtown. If you pay or influence the politicians; then you get the favors in return - or the chance to play! I cite for example, pension committees, parks committees, auditors, patronage jobs, etc. The suburban politics is more corrupt than large cities!
Jim February 15, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Four of the current five supervisors had a hand in the development of this park. The longest-serving member, Phillip Calabro, was a strong advocate of this park and even voted in favor of a more expensive plan more than once. It's easy to look this up; just search the board meeting minutes and the park committee minutes. You will also see in these minutes that the township was discouraged by a number of residents from spending this kind of money just as the economy was heading south. If anyone cares to search further, you will also see that the township has botched every single park it has ever developed. They all suffered from poor management, significant cost overruns, and eventually needed expensive remedial work. Helen Randle park was a fiasco too, for example, but there are other examples. And keep in mind that the leagues that use these parks are comprised of participants who do not live in the township, so they never paid any taxes to develop them. Most of the leagues include a quarter or more of players who live outside the township. If these facilities benefit a wider geographic population, perhaps county funding is a more appropriate way to go (but good luck with that!).
Jim February 15, 2013 at 08:21 PM
The potential for economic benefit to the township is tiny. During the planning stage, the sports leagues stated that if they ran tournaments, they'd expect to keep most of the registration fees. Further, since Newtown has no business tax, the only additional tax revenue it might garner would come from taxes on increased wages within the township. Additional purchases at local businesses do not always result in increased taxable earnings for the township. But the additional costs to the township are large and they will grow. In addition to the expensive remedial work, no one really wanted to acknowledge the annual additional operating costs for this park. At the time, the public works dept. stated that it would be stretched thin to perform the additional field maintenance work that would be needed. And it was also noted that more lawn care equipment would be needed, along with other annual costs such as seeding and fertilizing. If tournaments are hosted, additional police scheduling would be needed for crowd and traffic control too. And let's not forget that periodic renewal and maintenance of the facilities will be required too. Eventually, the follow on costs will probably exceed the initial cost to build the park. Newtown Twp residents will be paying for this park every year for a very long time.
steven p February 16, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Great job supervisors wile your on a roll with messing things up in the township I here your jerking around with the volunteer firemen and cutting there funding way back and hiring a paid fire chief for over 100k a year with no certifications or experience as a chief and the VOLUNTEERS had no input on this decision the supervisors should leave the VOLUNTEER FIREMEN alone before they all stop VOLUNTEEING and then were all going to be in trouble unless the fab 5 up on the hill think they can put out fires too then put on those volunteers coats and boots and get up in the middle of the night and have at it just remember it takes guts and a lot of training the supervisors should be thankfull of them instead of messing with them
the VOICE February 16, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Hey not Knowing ( not Stating ) the Facts AGAIN ! The top soil was given to the township by Toll brothers on one of there many projects in the TWP. So they ( Toll ) would not have to "pay" to dispose of It. There was Too much dirt at the Site !
the VOICE February 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM
I agree with Steve, The parents of the Ball Players should pay for It, NOT the TWP. !
the VOICE February 16, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Hey the BaseBall leauge took control of that Field< put the blame where it Belongs, On those crazy Parents that wanted that field !
the VOICE February 16, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I agree, Should have never Been Built, Blame that R I N O White Hair and glasses Supervisor, that got it passed when he was chairman. See what happened to him; he got bounced out by the Voters.
the VOICE February 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Hey Becky from the Deli, look at your Tax bill and see that the school Board takes most of the taxes, not the Twp. This group all but one did not vote to spend the money on the parks or build the complex. As far as the layoffs do you know why the original people were laid off ? Find out or shut up !
Becky Betz February 16, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Hey, VOICE, this is Becky from the Deli, that is NOT me posting there, FYI. Obviously you don't know everything, so YOU shut up...
Man Landers February 17, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Does anyone know the supervisor salary?
Kara Seymour February 17, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Man, I believe it is somewhere in the range of 2,500 per year.
Man Landers February 17, 2013 at 01:46 AM
I've disagreed with the Supervisors before but let's face it, they sure catch a lot of hell for $2500 a year. I wouldn't want the job, glad somebody does.
Betsy Hunt February 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Looks grassy to me..I say...JUST PLAY ON IT! Sheesh...when we were kids in the 60's and 70's we played our sports on good ole American grass. What else do they need to play their games. Makes no sense to me...."organic materials, maintenance?" ...just cut it once in awhile...
R U guessing ? February 18, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Not enough money to be in front of this Crowd. Man you people want blood !
stating the facts February 20, 2013 at 01:04 AM
To: the VOICE... The Veterans Park was designed before Toll donated any soil! (so says you) The original, farm soil was sold before Toll brought in topsoil. It was a rediculus decision to sell off the soil to begin with, like the many other rediculs things that BoS does in the Land of Oz! One can't grow turf on rock!
stating the facts February 20, 2013 at 01:09 AM
They should re-name Helen Randle park to Joe Garvey Yards. He makes millions profit for running those tournaments for the lil' girls. He hardly pays any rent for the use of the fields. And, when there are tournaments, residents are told they cannot park for, or use the others amenities; play ground, basketball courts, walking paths!
the VOICE February 21, 2013 at 12:47 AM
NOT SO! (NOT stating the facts) Newtown is built on rocks and clay especialy in that area. The land was NOT all a farm and then the illegal dumping by the connected people; and there you have it. You have to go Way back for that one ! Old BOS's involved !
Real Deal February 21, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Thanks Steven P.for recognizing the Volunteer Firemen, this BOS thinks the Sun rises and sets in a handful of overpaid Ambulance chasers,N.E.S.D. and thier Captain Noah Chief, looks good in his regalia, thats where it ends sad sad situation what they have done to a greta organization..
Newtown Resident February 25, 2013 at 06:03 PM
In addition to the fields needing work, the lack of use is beginning to create additional problems of grass starting to grow through the asphalt sidewalks, there is a drainage problem with water runoff from Leck's property washing out parts of park land, etc. The fields are definitely not playable as is with exception being the field repaired by little league. Does the $40,000 fix just the fields or repairs for all defective grass surfaces?
R U guessing ? February 26, 2013 at 06:59 PM
U, personally. PAY to get it fixed, not the taxpayers !

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