There have been recent media reports about local municipalities and schools having problems with artificial turf sports fields. U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether taxpayers were defrauded by FieldTurf, a major turf field distributor, who overstated the life expectancy of its fields. Most turf fields are advertised to last over 10 years, while those in question began to deteriorate in as little as three years.
In September, the Holmdel Township Committee passed a $3.3 million bond ordinance for the construction of two new synthetic turf fields at Cross Farm Park. No documentation was made available to the paying public regarding itemized costs or the type of fields to be installed.
The Holmdel Township engineer, in a presentation about the project, stated that the initially high price of the turf fields (close to $3 million) would be offset by their low-maintenance costs as compared to natural grass. He also indicated that the fields last approximately 15 years, after which replacement would run an additional $1 million.
A 15-year life expectancy seems grossly overstated compared to estimates and warranties given by most artificial turf field companies, including the beleaguered FieldTurf. If the fields degrade after only eight years while out of warranty, this will effectively double the projected replacement costs over time.
Holmdel taxpayers need to know all the facts and figures regarding the initial cost and upkeep of these fields. At this time, the Cross Farm project does not seem like a good investment.