Referendum Vote on 11.08.2022
Election Day is coming on 11/8/2022. The purpose of this page is to inform voters about the referendum question on this year’s ballot.
Please review this page in its entirety and feel free to reach out to the Board of Recreation with any questions.
The safety of our young athletes, as well as our pride in the facilities around the City, should be a top priority for every citizen that calls Linwood home. Recently, both of those things are being questioned due to the current condition of our public playing fields in the City. This document outlines the upgrading of the current football/lacrosse game field to a Synthetic Turf Multi-Purpose Playing Surface as well as upgrading the old lighting system at All Wars Memorial Park.
The Common Council of the City of Linwood has heard numerous complaints over the years made by the local sports organization’s Presidents, their Boards, parents, and players regarding the state of the fields they pay to use and renovate almost annually. Due to an increase in maintenance costs, complaints, and safety issues, Council determined to obtain the sentiment of the voters of the City with a referendum to the ballot on 11/8/2022.
Shall the Common Council of the City of Linwood, in the County of Atlantic, New Jersey, install a multi-use artificial turf field at All Wars Memorial Park, for an estimated cost of $1.6 million while upgrading the aging, existing lighting to high-efficiency LED lighting for the entire park at an estimated cost of $1 million and issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $2.6 million to finance the cost of such installation and lighting upgrades? Upgrades to presently existing lighting facilities will need to take place in 3-5 years.
This non-binding referendum will allow the Mayor and City Council of the City of Linwood to obtain the sentiment of the legal voters of the City as to whether the City of Linwood should install an artificial turf playing surface at All Wars Memorial Park, upgrade the aging existing lighting now, (that needs to be replaced in 3-5 years), to high-efficiency LED lighting for the entire park and to fund the cost of such installation through the issuance of bonds in an estimated $2.6 million.
The estimated cost of the artificial turf field is $1.6 million. The estimated useful life of the artificial turf field is projected to be 10-12 years. The City and sports organizations pay over $75,000 every year to maintain the existing grass fields. The lights at All Wars Memorial Park were originally installed in 2000 and have a life expectancy of 25 years. It will be necessary to install new lighting by the year 2025 regardless of the installation of a new artificial turf field. The cost of the lighting is $1 million. The Mayor and City Council are not legally bound to act in accordance with the results of the vote on this question.
Synthetic Turf Field – The $1.6M estimate includes the planning, clearing & earthwork, drainage, installation of 130,000 square feet of Revolution 360 Field Turf, Home & Away bleachers with concrete pads, and the cleanup landscaping & restoration.
Lighting Upgrades – The $1M estimate includes the planning and installation of high-efficiency LED lighting with “Total Light Control Technology” all around All Wars Memorial Park.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the park need a synthetic turf field and new lighting?
The current field conditions at All Wars Memorial Park, combined with the limited public field space available in the City of Linwood, have pushed our youth sports organizations to constantly renovate their playing areas, spending 10’s of thousands of dollars on field repairs way too often. These expenses, when the organizations can’t afford the necessary repairs, ultimately fall to the City to pay in order to keep the fields open for our children. It is estimated that the City alone pays approximately $75,000 per year to renovate and maintain the fields.
As interest and participation in youth sports in Linwood continue to increase, the use and stress on our fields have increased as well. This leaves little to no time for fields to adequately rest in order to replenish themselves and be safe and playable for the following season. A synthetic turf playing surface would allow teams to practice and play on it on a daily basis, in turn allowing for the other fields in town to be properly rested as needed. This also reduces the amount of taxpayer money spent on renovating fields with expensive sod, as they could be seeded for much less money and then rested properly in the fall as is recommended.
The lighting around the park is dated and will need to be upgraded in the next 2-3 years. Repairs to the old system have become necessary more often now that the system is over 20 years old. The new system will use high-efficiency LED bulbs that reduce light pollution around the intended lit area, as well as reduces the cost of electricity to turn on and run the lights.
Will taxes increase as a result of the issuance of a $2.6M bond to fund this entire project?
In short, NO, taxes are not anticipated to increase as a result of this project being approved. Due to the timing of the project and as a result of other debt service payments set to be paid off at the conclusion of 2023 and 2024, the total debt service payments for 2024 and beyond will be lower than they are currently, even with a new $2.6M bond for this project.
An amortization schedule for a $2.6M bond at current rates available to government agencies would cost the City an average of approximately $183k per year in debt service payments. Again, the new bond payment for this project would start in 2023 and would be significantly less than the total debt service payments that are set to be paid off in 2023 and beyond.
Will maintenance costs increase as a result of the installation of the turf and new lights?
NO. The total maintenance costs for the City should decrease as a result of the turf and new lights. This is due to 4 factors…
Each sports organization in the City that uses a City-owned field now pays a “Field Usage Fee.” This fee is based on the number of athletes that register to play a sport on our fields. Linwood residents receive a discount on that fee as they pay taxes directly to the City.
Revenue from this fee will be used to pay for the annual maintenance of the turf (which is approximately $10k per year for grooming twice a year and other maintenance as required). The remaining fees that are
collected and not spent on maintenance each year (currently the City is collecting approximately $50k per year from this fee) can be put aside for when the turf needs to be resurfaced, as most turf fields
have a useful life of 10-12 years.
Because of the ability the City would have to rest other playing fields in town while the turf is used on a daily basis, maintenance costs on those fields would decrease significantly. In the past, the City, and the
sports organizations themselves, have had to re-sod entire fields (sometimes paying anywhere between $30-90k at a time) when they become unplayable. With a turf field being primarily used, the other fields will no longer be played on every day, and normal seeding and rest should allow for the field to replenish itself without having to re-sod.
Artificial turf surfaces require less maintenance than grass fields. A turf surface would save the City money by reducing watering, sprinkler repairs, chemical treatments, mowing, and lining fields with
paint on a weekly basis.
General costs to run the lights should also decrease as the cost of running high-efficiency LED bulbs is significantly less than the bulbs that are currently installed at All Wars Memorial Park.
Maintenance costs for repairing and changing burnt-out bulbs will decrease in the short-term as well, as the LED bulbs will be brand new and have a much longer useful life than the current bulbs.
Will the new lights be brighter and potentially disturb the surrounding neighbors?
YES and NO. YES the new LED bulbs will be brighter, but NO they will not disturb the surrounding neighbors.
The new lights to be installed have what is called Total Light Control (TLC) Technology which creates “Controlled Light” not “Floodlights”. TLC tech can “carve out the area to be lighted with pinpoint precision, dramatically cutting off any impact on the surrounding area.” It’s better for the players and neighbors.
Check out https://www.musco.com/total-light-control/ for more information.
Who will get to use the turf field?
The City’s youth sports organizations (Mainland United Soccer Association, Linwood Panthers Football & Cheer, Mainland Youth Lacrosse Club, and Mainland Youth Flag Football (MYFF is run by the City’s Board of Recreation)) will have preferential treatment when scheduling games, practices, and special events on the turf surface. These organizations are funding a large percentage of the total cost and maintenance of the field through the field usage fee.
With prior approval from the Board of Recreation, Belhaven Middle School’s sports teams may use the field as requested, assuming it does not conflict with any of the above-mentioned youth sports organization’s requests. Currently, the Belhaven Middle School’s soccer teams use the Upper Soccer Field at All Wars Memorial Park for their practices and home games.
Any third-party organization that has gone through the required process of requesting the usage of the field by getting approval from the Board of Recreation. This process includes completing the Application for Use of Linwood Park Facilities Form, providing a valid Insurance Liability Certificate naming the City of Linwood as an additionally insured party, and paying the appropriate fee for usage.
Where can I find additional information regarding turf fields and their impact on the environment and the health of their users/players?
The following list of questions and their responses are on the Synthetic Turf Council’s website (https://www.syntheticturfcouncil.org/page/FAQs) for your reference:
What is synthetic turf?
How is synthetic turf made?
How is the new generation of synthetic turf different from that of the past?
Why has synthetic turf become so popular over the past few years?
How popular is synthetic grass for landscape and recreation use?
How is synthetic turf being used in the landscape and recreation market?
What are the different types of infill materials?
Health & Environmental Impact
How does synthetic turf impact the environment?
Is synthetic turf safe?
Should I be concerned about lead in my field?
Is crumb rubber safe?
What impact does heat have on my synthetic turf field?
Are athletes playing on synthetic turf more susceptible to
How can I learn more about scientific studies on the health and environmental safety of synthetic turf?
Player Usage & Injuries
What impact does synthetic turf have on playing time?
How does synthetic turf compare to natural grass on player injury rates?
Cost, Installation, Maintenance & Disposal
What are the advantages of contracting with an STC member company?
How long can a synthetic turf field be used?
How does the cost of a synthetic turf field compare to a natural turf field?
Are all synthetic turf products the same?
Can synthetic turf hold up under heavy use?
Does synthetic turf fade?
Who should I consult for the installation of a synthetic turf sports field?
Is maintenance of synthetic turf required?
How will I know when my multi-purpose synthetic turf sports field is approaching the end of its useful life?
Where do I turn for technical guidance?