Artificial grass coming to Goffle Brook Park
HAWTHORNE — Passaic County is moving forward with its plan to install a synthetic turf field at Goffle Brook Park, despite objections from Hawthorne officials who say fake grass won't blend with the natural landscape.
The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Tuesday approved a plan to install artificial turf in a section of the park near the playground and sent the project out to bid. Installing artificial grass, which is estimated to cost $1 million, will provide a smoother surface for football and soccer, but its detractors say it won't absorb water and is sure to clash with the landscape.
"Our real concern is that it doesn't fit the character of the park," said Hawthorne Mayor Richard Goldberg. "When the Olmsted Brothers designed that park I'm sure they didn't envision a field with artificial turf."
Freeholder Theodore "T.J." Best said the choice was between aesthetics and durability, and durability won out. "It holds up better," Best said of artificial surfaces. "It drains faster and we don't have to mow the grass."
Goffle Brook Park was built in 1930 by the Olmsted Brothers, the landscape architectural firm responsible for some of the nation's most cherished public spaces, including Central Park in New York City and Branch Brook Park in Newark. Three years ago, Passaic County rededicated Goffle Brook Park after investing $3 million to control flooding and planting 400 trees and 500 shrubs.
Now the county is adding a patch of artificial grass and that doesn't sit well with Hawthorne officials. Hawthorne Council president John Bertollo appeared before the county freeholder board last March to urge them to reconsider the plan, warning that artificial turf would likely aggravate flooding.
Goldberg said in recent months, the county asked the Hawthorne Planning Board to issue a letter approving the project. But the planning board refused to do so, he said.
"We've made our position clear," Goldberg said. "It's not anything that we support."
The resolution adopted by the freeholder board authorizes the county to advertise the specifications for the project put it out to bid. Passaic County engineer Steven J. Edmond said the base of the field will be made of cork, instead of recycled rubber. Edmond said the county prefers cork because some studies suggest that repeated exposure to rubber may cause cancer.
The freeholders began the meeting by honoring six people: Calvin L Merritt, the outgoing president of the Passaic chapter of the NAACP was honored for his 24 years at helm of that organization. Passaic County Sheriff's officer Anthony Bua was honored for his heroic actions on New Year's Eve, when he stopped an armed robbery in progress on Main Street in Paterson.
Bua was driving to work at the Passaic County Jail when he saw two men in a tussle on Main Street. He jumped out, saw that one of the men had a gun, and drew his weapon. Bua then pinned the armed suspect, later identified as Zaire Lampley, to the ground and arrested him.
The freeholders also honored three workers at the Preakness Healthcare Center, the county nursing home who run a DJ dance party for the residents. Tyrone Buggs, Anthony "Tony" Sangster and Lamar Davis all accepted proclamations from the freeholders. Dr. Charlene W. Gungil, the director of the Passaic County Health Department, was honored for her efforts at helping residents live better lives.
A rain-soaked field at Goffle Brook Park. The county
A rain-soaked field at Goffle Brook Park. The county plans to install artificial turf, despite Hawthorne's concerns.