New artificial turf playing fields at Votee Park touted as the "premier" football and soccer space in the area could be ready by mid-fall, officials said this week.
The project, in the park's southern end, will allow one field to be shared for football and soccer games while the other will be used for soccer only, engineer Anthony Gianforcaro told the township council Tuesday.
A new drainage system under the artificial turf will prevent flooding that has plagued the fields during even moderate rainfall.
“After a severe rain and actually even during a rainstorm, you can play on this field and you won’t be trekking through large puddles and water like you would on a natural grass field,” Gianforcaro said.
A walking path around the fields will also be replaced and six lighting towers constructed, he said. A scoreboard and bleachers will be installed under the proposal, and new trees planted.
"Everything will be handicapped accessible," Gianforcaro added.
An emergency generator will allow four lights to stay on during a power outage so players and spectators can leave safely, Gianforcaro explained.
The state's Green Acres Program will provide $750,000 in funding for the turf project. Money is also available through the county and town's municipal open space trust fund.
"Hopefully, we'll be in a situation where this project doesn't end up costing us anything extra than the grant money and the open space recreation money that we already have," said Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen.
The long-discussed project in the park's southern end was put on hold when tests in 2011 turned up contaminated soil under the fields, leading officials to close the park. The park was reopened last year after state officials released a report saying the contamination didn't pose a health risk.
, said environmental issues will not impact the field project.
Work was expected to begin in late March or April and take six to seven months. Township Manager William Broughton said he hoped to have a measure approving the design plans ready for council soon.
"This is going to be the premier football and soccer field in the region," he said.