Bid awarded for Cherry Hill high school turf project

Construction on the high school turf fields now appears to be just weeks away after Cherry Hill Council approved a bid for the project last Monday.

Council passed a resolution awarding the project at Cherry Hill High Schools East and West to American Athletic Courts Inc. from Vincentown. The approval was the last major step the township had to complete before construction could begin.

The cost of the project may be less than what the school district and township originally estimated. American Athletic Courts’ bid totaled $2,698,680, slightly less than what the township and school district had originally budgeted for the project. The bond ordinance council approved for the turf project in November totaled approximately $3.3 million.

“It’s a couple hundred thousand less than what we estimated,” township director of communications Bridget Palmer said.

American Athletic Courts’ bid became official after council’s approval last Monday. Cherry Hill Public Schools administrators also had to approve the bid as per the shared services agreement. District public information officer Barbara Wilson said the administration office submitted its approval of the bid to the township on Feb. 5.

Construction on the turf fields is expected to begin as soon as the weather warms up in the spring. In a presentation in December, school district architect John Middleton said construction on the field at Cherry Hill West was expected to take place from March through June. Construction would then follow at Cherry Hill East from June through August.

Mayor Chuck Cahn last Monday said the goal is to have both fields ready for next fall’s sports season.

“We hope to have it started and completed before the start of the school year in the fall of 2016,” Cahn said.

Township receives pair of recycling grants

Cherry Hill recently received two grants from the state Department of Environmental Protection as a reward for the amount of recycling in the township. The township received a $139,961 recycling tonnage grant based on the amount of materials the township recycled in 2013. The grant is the 13th largest awarded in New Jersey and the largest given to any town in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.

Cherry Hill also received a $25,000 bonus grant from the DEP. The state added the bonus grant program this year to reward municipalities who have food waste recycling, scrap tire removal and public space recycling initiatives. The bonus grant will be used to enhance recycling programs in township parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities.

Police continue participation in Safe and Secure Communities Program

Council approved a resolution last Monday allowing the Cherry Hill Police Department to continue participating in the New Jersey Safe and Secure Communities Program.

Police Chief William Monaghan said the police department participates in this program each year, which allows the department to apply for annual grants. In the past, the police department has been awarded grants to help offset the salaries of officers in its community relations and traffic safety units.