Turf committee readies for victory celebration

The Haddonfield Turf Field Committee is edging toward its goal to raise $500,000 for the installation of turf for the high school stadium field and the anniversary practice field.

Committee Chair Joe Del Duca has no doubts that they will reach the amount. And soon.

“We’ll definitely make the goal,” Del Duca said.

Currently, they have attained roughly 80 to 90 percent of the funds needed.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend the committee and supporters’ Victory Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Haddonfield Memorial High School.

Mercedes-Benz of Cherry Hill is sponsoring the night.

More details are to be released soon.

A tremendous number of community members have contributed to the cause, Del Duca said, with donations ranging of all amounts.

The first misconception, he said, is that the turf fields might have anything to do with January’s Bancroft referendum.

“Bancroft is a totally separate issue,” he said.

The fields will be turfed whether or not Bancroft gets the “yes” vote, he said.

This solely deals with the two high school fields.

“Those two fields are what we are raising money to turf,” he said.

The borough and Board of Education have already committed to contributing the other half, he said.

“That’s already approved.”

At Bancroft, there would be a third athletic turf field.

“We’re certainly in favor of that, but that’s not what this initiative is about,” Del Duca said.

According to Board of Education President Steve Weinstein, once the turf committee reaches their goal, the $800,000 in the Bancroft proposal to turf the fields will be taken out.

“It will go forward on that basis apart from Bancroft,” Weinstein said.

Most residents, Del Duca said, have shown a “strong outpouring” of support for the project.

“There has been a very small number of people who have been vocal in opposition,” he said.

The qualms surrounding turf have been vetted so many times in so many places, he said.

“The idea that it’s unsafe is just not true,” he explained. “Keep in mind that we will be able to increase playing time on these fields by 250 percent.”

The current fields are under-utilized to avoid damaging them further and there is no space to install more fields.

Turf fields are common in surrounding towns, he said, with the same reasoning behind them.

An absence of sufficient space

Haddonfield has the smallest campus in the Colonial Conference with eight acres.

The average size, he said, is about 14 to 15 acres.

“They have more parking. They have more fields,” he said.

While turf fields do become hotter in the summer, which is an issue that has been touched upon in previous meetings, including Sept. 13’s Board of Education turf presentation, fields are generally not being used during the heat of the day or in the summer, Del Duca said.

“The fields aren’t used that much in the middle of the summer,” he said. “It’s not the middle of the day during the school year.”

Instead, games and practices are generally at night under the lights.

If it’s an especially hot day, the practice times will simply be moved in accommodation.

The point, he explained, is that the fields will still receive a significantly higher amount of usage than what they currently can handle.

Studies show that fewer injuries occur on synthetic turf, he said, and the storm water situation will improve from its current state.

In continuing to clear misconceptions, Del Duca said that it is also not the case that there are environmental issues surrounding turf.

“They’re used everywhere,” he said.

Any professional team, even if they use a grass field, will practice on turf.

“And they use them frequently,” he added.

As the conditions of Haddonfield’s grass fields deteriorate, Del Duca said the committee is “really excited” to be so close to its goal.

It has been a long time coming and a heavy undertaking, but the community has been “fantastic,” he said.

Beginning next football season, a new turf field will greet spectators.

The brakes will not be put on once the $500,000 is reached, he added.

“Our goal is to raise as much money as we can,” he said, with the goal only being the minimum.

“We certainly hope to exceed that number,” he said. “The more it is, the less it costs taxpayers.”

‘Let’s Turf It!’

For more information on turf fields and the committee’s initiative, visitwww.haddonfieldturf.org. Visitors can peruse five pages of frequently asked questions through a link on the right side of the page.

How to donate

According to the turf committee’s website, there are several ways to donate.

Send a check payable to Haddonfield Educational Trust/Turf Fund to Haddonfield Educational Trust, P.O. Box 178, Haddonfield, N.J. 08033, or donate online at

By Online Payment

Donations can be made online on the turf committee’s website by clicking “Donate Here.”