Guy Kinley Blog: Glen Ridge Hurrell Turf: YES-YES is the Right Vote

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (18)

HurrellYES – YES on the Hurrell Turf referendum questions are the right votes to make next Tuesday, November 5.  It is the right thing for individuals, families, the Council and this Borough to do on multiple dimensions.

YES-YES is the right way to vote in terms of EQUITY and FAIRNESS:

  • The town bonded up for the Glen Ridge High School expansion, Library renovation and RAS Auditorium refurbishment at the conclusion of the last debate on turf
  • Participation in athletics contributes to the development of well-rounded individuals and student-athletes – Hurrell’s condition limits usage and has an impact on participation
  • As a beneficiary of Glen Ridge in many regards, each of us should recognize that a very large segment of our population (the silent minority since they cannot vote) deserves to benefit as well
  • The GR education budget increased by $1 million in the past budgetary year (yes, $1m in 1 year!) to support an influx and increased costs of serving a very, very small population of special needs children.  That translated into far more of a tax increase than turf installation / maintenance will (or grass replacement / maintenance for that matter).  While not denying the moral and legal obligation of such support, the majority of children would benefit from turf



  • A GRHS student, now graduated, sustained a compound fracture due to field conditions in the last 18 months, was unable to play sports for nearly a year and was physically impacted by his injury.  Another broken leg was sustained this fall – field conditions may have contributed to a bad foot planting prior to snap
  • One or more lawsuits have been filed and remain unresolved over physical injuries caused by field conditions, putting our pooled insurance at risk of premium increase
  • Poor field conditions put children at risk for injury – who has a parent of a GRAA athlete not seen a child take terrifying fall due to a pothole on any of the four over-used fields?
  • It is not a matter of if but when that a child in the future is going to sustain an serious injury and field condition will be the cause or a contributing factor.  Regardless of views on contact sports, this is our opportunity address field condition and help prevent such an event

YES-YES is right in terms of STEWARDSHIP we as Glen Ridge residents have to future residents of the gem called “Glen Ridge”:

  • All residents whether of voting age or not have a stake in this community, and some children today will be future Glen Ridge residents
  • If you have / do / will have a child playing sports between the age of four and 18, you understand the need to make the investment and transition to one turf field
  • Poor decisions in the past (the sale of the Washington Field area to Montclair at the turn of the century, the sale vs. lease of Central School in the 80s, the decision not to re-purchase Central School from Wachovia ~10 years ago) in hind-sight prove the folly of short-term thinking in Glen Ridge
  • We are at risk of being forced to further overuse Hurrell due to county pressure over Glen Ridge usage of Watsessing, which may result in other towns, as in the past, refusing to play GRHS teams on Hurrell

YES-YES is right for FINANCIAL reasons:

  • A significant portion of the initial cost of materials and installation will be paid for by private citizens, which is an opportunity Glen Ridge cannot count on in the future
  • On an ongoing basis, the cost to maintain turf is lower than maintaining and replacing overused grass
  • All money spent on Hurrell, Forest and Carteret field refurbishment in the years since the last vote has been wasted – all our owned fields are in the same terrible condition as before
  • If voted down, we will face the same question again in 5 – 10 years, and the money spent on grass replacement and maintenance from this point forward will be wasted as well
  • Residents have been “forced out” due to increased taxes (much discussed in the past) – I personally don’t want to contribute anyone’s taxes by wasting town money on grass maintenance

YES – YES is the only right action to take.  Please take it upon yourself to do right on Tuesday.


  1. POSTED BY oliveoyle  |  October 30, 2013 @ 11:29 am

    Although you run a disclaimer stating that this is a blog entry & does not express Baristanet’s opinion … Your headline suggests that Baristanet endorses turf. Your headline tells people to vote YES. Tells people that YES is the right vote. I believe it is the wrong vote. I believe they should vote NO. Baristanet is powerful influence in Glen Ridge & this headline destructive to those of us who argued our points five years ago when the town voted NO. Please change this headline ASAP. And, you really should write a similar article from the NO point of view or an editorial expressing both sides of this issue..

  2. POSTED BY oliveoyle  |  October 30, 2013 @ 11:34 am

    Take a look at how this headline appears in “latest comments”. It appears Oliveoyle is favoring YES while I am screaming NO. Please take this headline down.

  3. POSTED BY oliveoyle  |  October 30, 2013 @ 11:39 am


  4. POSTED BY PetieG  |  October 30, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

    While you state several instances of injuries, have you thought of the injuries when turf is installed?

    Shouldn’t we be proud to be a ‘green’ community? Shouldn’t we put our efforts into maintaining the fields? Have they been under-maintained to make turf look better? Just a thought. I’d say turf is NOT a clearcut yes-yes decision. Hell, WE all used natural grass growing up, did it impact you at all? I remember turf being a PiA as you had to rethink how you play on it.

  5. POSTED BY zidarich  |  October 30, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    I think it’s nice Glen Ridge only has this to debate while Montclair is constantly fighting and arguing against he demolishing of historic homes to make way for new development.

    Residents of Glen Ridge should be thankful their town cares enough to preserve the character of its residential neighborhoods (and its property values!) by protecting them with historic designation while the vast majority of Montclair residents are left unprotected.

    Ah, perspective.

  6. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  October 30, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

    It would seem that the argument put forward by “researchers” at the University of Arkansas, and linked by PetieG above, did not seem to carry the day in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks play of Powerblade Exe, which is, you guessed it, synthetic turf.

  7. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  October 30, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    I hope it passes, I have coached on that field for years and it’s a dump. A few years ago they threw good money at bad to sod it and it was a debacle. I don’t live in GR but I hope it goes through.

  8. POSTED BY PetieG  |  October 30, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

    Unfortunately, this mostly comes down to politics — and yes, the ‘researcher’ is an Assistant Professor of Agronomy at Perdue university and knows what he is talking about when it comes to grass (or maybe we should reefer to Cheech and Chong <– had to, sorry!)

    Love how I'm hearing about pro-turf folks throwing out pro-grass signs from people's lawns. How mature!

  9. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  October 30, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    The “researcher” is currently at Purdue, and is a graduate of that university. When he wrote that piece you linked to he was at the University of Arkansas. His field of expertise is turf grass, and as you might imagine most of his research is funded by those interests. That is not to say that his findings are wrong, of course. But it is 1 guy, beholden to a special interest, that you have pointed to as some sort of Buddha on this issue. Synthetic turf proponents can also be tainted in this way, but when they are, anti-turf or “natural” boosters (what’s “natural” about the volume of pesticides dumped on Hurrell each year, by the way) quickly point that out.
    Goose for the gander, sort of thing, you know (geese, by the way, seem not to like artificial turf so much).

  10. POSTED BY biggest1  |  October 30, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

    Let the brats play on grass like Johnny Unitas.

  11. POSTED BY jeffegan  |  October 30, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

    I sent this to the Glen Ridge Voice last year. I figure it’s a good time to refresh people’s memories. (I have tweaked it a tad.)
    The turf issue is back in Glen Ridge, and it should be. Six years ago I voted against turf. Today my vote would be for it. The reasons are vast and I’ll explain my change of heart.
    When the turf issue came up six years ago, all I heard was a bond offering and higher taxes. I saw no reason to turf Carteret and Hurrell.
    Why did I feel that way? As a lifelong Glen Ridge resident, I played in everything that the Glen Ridge Athletic Association offered, lettered in three high school sports, and never had a problem with playing on grass. I knew what our fields could handle. And Glen Ridge didn’t need to spend the money.
    I was wrong, very wrong. I was completely unaware about the massive strides that the GRAA has made to our town’s children’s access and success in sports.
    I forgot that back in my GRAA days, the only outside sports the GRAA offered were baseball and softball – and they started in fourth grade! Today the boys and girls start baseball and softball (outside) in first grade. The GRAA does start them both in Pre-K, but inside Ashley’s turfed dome.
    I played football in Montclair with the Cobras. I also played soccer with American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO for those of you old enough to remember that) at Brookdale Park. Today, the GRAA football program starts in second grade and the soccer program for boys and girls starts in kindergarten.
    We now have a youth field hockey program that starts in 3rd grade. Have you ever seen a field hockey game played with clumps of grass scattered about? Opposing coaches don’t want to play at Glen Ridge because of our subpar fields.
    Let’s add lacrosse into the equation. Neither the GRAA, nor the high school offered lacrosse when I was growing up. The GRAA now offers lacrosse for boys and girls starting in first grade. And of course, we have lacrosse at the High School level. Our high school boy’s team won the section title in 2011, and was runner-up in 2012. The girls have won two section titles in a row. The irony is that the teams take turns practicing on turf at Watsessing Park! Perhaps, some of their success is that they practice on turf.
    Our Board of Education spends nearly $300 a day to bus one of the teams to play at Watsessing while the other plays at Carteret. While this need won’t entirely go away, it will be reduced greatly, thereby saving money that the BOE can use on schools and teachers.
    I was oblivious to the incredible amount of added stress and play that our fields have gotten since my youth days. Our fields are being hammered and the need for turf couldn’t be higher.
    So how about the money and bonding? The town will not proceed with the turf project without the help of $500,000 from private donors and then bond for the remaining $500,000. We’ve blown more than $350,000 on Forest and Hurrell re-sods with horrible results. $20,000 was spent for a sod recondition on the middle of Hurrell in August. Take a walk on that field today and I think you can see the shredded $100 bills in the divots and pot-holes. During a coin-toss at Hurrell two seasons ago, the coin landed vertically! Yes, it landed vertically in a sand heap in the middle of the field.
    How many times should we repeat failure before realizing that the alternative is a no-brainer?
    Yes/Yes assures a better Glen Ridge for taxpayers, and our children.
    Jeff Egan

  12. POSTED BY kit schackner  |  October 30, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    In August of this year, the town had a hastily arranged and unannounced “press conference” to declare their intention, clearly planned for a year, of putting the installation of articial turf up for referendum again. At the next council meeting on August 12th, a group of residents — mostly young mothers, came and asked for a crumb-rubber-free option to be considered. The mayor and members of council appeared gobsmacked, although one member of council: Elizabeth Baker — had expressed concerns about crumb rubber in fields for 5 years. So they came up with an alternative question, using a hybrid.

    Unfortunately, for reasons known only to some in the athletic community, they appear to be married to Fieldturf — the primary manufacturer of turf in this country, although eco-fields exist all over Europe. They even mention Fieldturf in their borough presentation on turf. And Fieldturf does not make a crumb rubber-free field. So both questions in the referendum include rubber, one with a little less than the other.

    Had they included a rubber-free option, Fieldturf would have easily passed, because all those opposed to rubber but OK with artificial turf would have voted for option 2, and they are probably not a majority of turf proponents. Instead, they consolidated the opposition by their failure to address the concerns of people, and of one of their colleagues – the only woman among them. It is, in my opinion, a blunder borne by the arrogance of dismissing very real concerns in the community. It is sports chauvinism. Whether or not one agrees with these concerns, they exist. The result is, once again, to create an acrimonious and uncivil atmosphere over what is, after all, a recreational amenity.

    Badly badly done. Nothing was learned from the last time. We’ll all be glad when November 6 comes.

  13. POSTED BY PAZ  |  October 30, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    Doesn’t seem like a no/yes will get us a less toxic choice. Looks like crumb rubber whatever. We had to pay out of our own pockets to get a town pool but it looks like Ridgewood Ave. is all lawned-signed up with yes/yes. I think the no/no’s are gonna get steam rolled on this one! Hey, we’ll just have to pull this one off the money trees growing all over town.
    Now back to the World Series>

  14. POSTED BY nazlo  |  October 30, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

    Why the hell is someone’s pro-turf BLOG being posted Like a news story?!?
    This is wrong, wrong, wrong! Is Baristanet in favor of plastic grass, or has it become the press organ for the GRAA?
    The cost of turf will eventually come out of taxpayers’ pockets. Whoever tells you otherwise is either a liar or an idiot. In addition, the carpet will have to be replaced in 10 or 15 years. Will private funds pay for the replacement then? No, GR taxpayers will. That means less money for schools & roads, or higher taxes.

  15. POSTED BY PAZ  |  October 31, 2013 @ 8:12 am

    I hear the GRAA is having a cake sale.

  16. POSTED BY biggest1  |  October 31, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

    GRAA: Gay Rights for All Americans?

  17. POSTED BY logicalreasoner  |  November 01, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

    I apologize for being that guy who needs some logic and reasoning behind arguments. I don’t know whether Yes-Yes or No-No is the way to go, but your “editorial” contains absolutely no basis by which anyone can decide what the proper vote is. This article contains nothing but generalizations. In fact, every single point of your editorial, save one, can be shot down. Without arguing for no-no, I will take each of your points and show why they are so incredibly lacking in persuasiveness (sorry if that requires some of you to scroll up to see what point I am addressing):

    -The fact that the town “bonded up” for other projects doesn’t compel them to “bond up” for sports. A high school expansion benefits everyone. Turf benefits a few.

    -Please identify how the current field limits participation. Identify a single prospective student athlete, just one, that refused to participate solely because of the field conditions.

    -I have no idea what this means. Whatever it means, you cannot presume that everyone that can’t vote would vote for turf if given the opportunity.

    - You point out that there was a budget increase of $1mm in a year for special needs children, but you fail to put that in context and rather ask people to accept that figure in a vacuum. Was this the first budget increase in 20 years? If so, then $1mm doesn’t seem like that much. And what constitutes a “majority” of children that would benefit from turf? I would argue that everyone, not just a majority, benefit from being in a school system where all children, including special needs children, are given adequate academic resources.

    -You fail to address the fact that (1) major injuries take place on all surfaces and (2) there could be lawsuits from a turf field (i.e. because of the crumb fill) that wouldn’t otherwise be filed if the field was grass

    -Besides assuming that the children of today would vote for turf (an assumption that has no basis), the children of today can vote how they like when it’s their turn. While the private funds may not be available, not putting in turf this year doesn’t preclude it in the future, as you seem to indicate.

    -Given the level of debate, I am pretty sure not everyone with a child between the ages of 4 and 18 “understands the need to make the investment and transition”

    -(1) you’re assuming that no going to turf is a “poor decision.” (2) the past decisions you cite could just as easily highlight the need to vote AGAINST turf, not for it.

    -You assume that the only options are to use Hurrell or Watsessing.

    -This is the only salient point you make throughout your nonsensical diatribe.

    -This may be true if you judge cost in terms of dollars and cents. I would argue that the cost to GR has already been much higher.

    -There could be technology in artificial turf that makes it more likely to persuade those currently against turf to vote for it. For example, it is highly unlikely that anyone would be for laying down “Astroturf,” and I doubt you would be writing blogs if that’s what was being considered.

    -The assumption here, which has no foundation, is that the money would be wasted.

    Now that I think about it, NO-NO is the way to go. Thanks for helping me decide.

  18. POSTED BY aflarfin  |  November 01, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

    It’s funny to me that the ” article” is suggesting we as a town spend money on special education so why not turf…sheesh people.

    However, this time around Ill vote yes, and not because the peeps on Ridgewood have all the silly signs.

    The difference this time around is three fold for me.

    1 half the cost will be private.

    2 the bond would not be longer than the life of the product.

    3 It’s only hurrell and not carteret.

    Last year we needed a new floor for the hockey rink, we raised the 20k privately and fixed it… half a mil is a lot, but I’m sure it can be raised.

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