Home Marlton News LETTER: Are turf fields the answer to open space funds?

LETTER: Are turf fields the answer to open space funds?

Here we go again.

Are fake turf ball fields really the best or intended use for open space funds?

Wasn’t the answer to that question “no” last time?

If the adults in town are really committed to doing “everything we can to provide for the children,” let them contribute several hundred dollars per household voluntarily to accumulate the funds to build the fields.

In this economy, that is probably impractical and improbable.

Mayor Brown is quoted as saying “finances aside,” and “you don’t remember the finances of it; you remember the trophies and memories, not entrance fees.” Really? What silver spoon league are they playing on? I remember the entrance fees, because I had to earn them.

Equipment, care and upkeep, uniform and transportation were on me. I had a part-time job after school I biked to and home from to make competing possible.

That’s what my family and I remember.

No trophies came of the competing, although, there are some well earned and quietly displayed lower level awards, and privately held memories. Nothing I would charge the public $5 million collectively for though.

Our tax contributions raised the open space funds, apparently, to an impressive amount. It is a perversion of intent for management or recreation to wail “oh the children” and grab the pot.

Recreation has had several chances to make money for itself, and has instead grandstanded on perceived woe, stopping short of throwing a candy-aisle tantrum. They have pointblank ignored and obliterated some chances at making their own money.

Ironically, $5 million is the last market price of an in-town farm at risk, currently unprotected and previously surveyed for development. The farmer had approached the township about conservation, and was told there was no money available. At the time open space funds had been earmarked for fake fields at Cherokee and Memorial. The development deal tanked with the housing market. The farm is still unprotected.

Now apparently, there is open space funding, being usurped and redirected to ball fields allegedly for “the children.”

Will the children be paying the upkeep and maintenance on the new facilities? Are they going to be graced with another scummy, cloudy, anaerobic, non recreational retention “pond” like adjacent to the municipal building, to keep water and runoff out of the nearby creek?

If and as if, state of the art playgrounds can attract high quality new residents (rich people) are they not going to want to live near the ball fields? Given the possibility of high intensity lighting, probably not. I guess that’s where the unprotected farm comes in.

What better use of open space funds than ball fields, and the open fields of a farm than a development?

Oh wait; open space is the antithesis of development.

For less than the cost of the ball fields, the town fathers could save an entire historically significant farm. For a fraction that amount or the leftover funds they could buy extensive acreage near the Black Run preserve.

If corporate sponsors come up with half a million dollars, guess who generates the other $4.5 million? Don’t bet on it being the kids or $2 concession stand drinks and candy.

Don’t forget your full responsibilities, council, to the people who stand more than 4 feet tall.

They do not all have the luxury of ‘forgetting’ or ignoring the financial aspects. Some may be choosing between ball fields and food bills.

Trophies make lousy mineral supplements. And when history is sapped out of a town, yogurt has more culture.

Not an aspect you want bright lights on.

Carolyn Marshall

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