The following statement is from Commissioner Kevin Roche.
Dear Haddonfield Residents,
I wanted to take a moment to thank all who sent emails regarding Crows Woods fields.
While the spring season was not what anyone hoped for, it was great to begin an active dialogue with representatives from Haddonfield Youth Soccer about trying to solve issues regarding availability and playability.
Here are some of the critical items the Borough has been working on:
- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
As was stated in a letter to soccer parents back in September 2021, Crows Woods was an active landfill accepting non-hazardous municipal refuse until 1976-1977. Once the Borough decided to stop accepting the refuse at the property, it began the process of “closure,” and measurement tools were put in place to collect data to ensure the landfill was not adversely affecting any environmental receptors (in this case, streams, wetland areas). At this stage, data is still being collected by our engineers, and we will need to complete discussions with the DEP before developing a plan with specific and allowable upgrades.
- Erosion of fields
Recently the fields at Crows Woods were classified as “unplayable” by youth soccer referees due to debris—mainly glass—being found in overly worn areas on some fields. This erosion was caused by excessive rainfall with limited drainage and excessive field use. To get the fields to a standard acceptable by the referees and officials, representatives for HYSC received quotes for repairing Crows Woods heavily trafficked areas. Historically, the borough has shared in covering the costs of the maintenance and improvement of Crows Woods. We expect to do so in this matter as well. But this is a temporary solution at best.
- Limited Field Usage
There have been numerous discussions, and ‘backup’ plans focused on ensuring safety for the players on Crows Woods and the community overall. HYSC has suggested an extra month of rest for the fields to allow new grass growth during March. We have no way of knowing how successful this will be, but the Borough has also hired a Sports Field Manager to help us optimize the use and recovery of our fields.
- Longer-term Solutions.
The Borough, its commissioners, and personnel remain committed to providing open and active field space to our residents; this includes Crows Woods. However, our mission is to ensure an opportunity for all organizations to have the ability to access these spaces. It remains our directive to find ways to improve field quality and optimize our acreage for all residents. Whether it be Crows Woods, Radnor Field, Reillywood, or Green Acres, we are meeting with directors from all organizations to have a cohesive strategy.
We appreciate everyone’s feedback, suggestions, offer to help, and general support with these improvements. As more information becomes available, we are happy to disseminate it to the public.
Thank you again for your understanding and patience as we work to resolve this 35-year issue.