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Proposal to spend millions on turf fields is unnecessary

A woman makes her way along the walking path at Holmdel Park in Holmdel on October 20.

I am writing to express my concerns with the Holmdel Township Committee proposal to spend $3.3 million to create two synthetic turf fields at Cross Farm park.

While I favor excellent facilities for our youth to pursue athletics and other recreational activities, this is a significant expenditure that is largely unnecessary and will primarily benefit just the private soccer and lacrosse clubs in our town.

Cross Farm currently has 13 soccer fields. Across the street at the Village School there are at least three lacrosse fields. These fields well serve our township youth. There are also many other opportunities for improvements that would be less costly and more broadly beneficial, such as infrastructure improvements at the Holmdel Pool Club, high school stadium lighting upkeep, upgrades to tennis courts or improving drainage at the Cross Farm baseball fields.

The Holmdel Township Committee claims that there will be no new taxes for this. But these fields are being paid for with township money, require ongoing upkeep and are an expenditure of money that could be better spent.

In an era in which my taxes have increased 25 percent in the last four years, when we have closed one of the firehouses in our town, and the Township Committee has considered selling off open space to raise money, this kind of expenditure is totally inappropriate. The main beneficiary of the $3.3 million expenditure is the private soccer clubs, in which Eric Hinds, our mayor, is a leader.

Furthermore, the Township Committee has been less than forthcoming about this initiative. There is no concrete plan made available; there is no identification of what the ongoing maintenance cost will be; nor a plan for what the ultimate Cross Farm area will become. It is likely that this $3.3 million expenditure is just the down payment on something much larger.

I find it ironic that in Holmdel, a primarily Republican town, tax and spend has become the modus operandi.

Zach Gilstein

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