Lawrence Township officials are seeking a federal grant to cover the costs of installing artificial turf on Zimmer Field at Central Park on Eggerts Crossing Road.
The Lawrence Township Council approved a resolution in support of the grant application at its April 19 meeting. The natural grass field suffers from poor drainage, and artificial turf will expand its use.
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Democrat whose 12th Congressional District includes Lawrence Township, is coordinating grant submissions for the district and offered the township an opportunity to apply for a grant, according to the resolution.
Zimmer Field is used by soccer clubs, for the township’s recreational soccer program, and area schools for soccer practice and games. The field, which is lighted at night, also is used by field hockey and flag football recreational programs.
But poor drainage has limited the field’s use, resulting in the cancelation of games and practices, township officials said. The limited use has been critical because of the emphasis on having quality outdoor recreational opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic, it became increasingly clear that as a community, a priority focus had to be healthy, affordable outdoor recreational opportunities for all,” township officials wrote in the grant application.
Installation of an artificial turf field would allow year-round use of the field, guaranteeing game and practice time, township officials said. A turf field also may serve as a magnet to attract more users to Central Park and its amenities – especially parents who are waiting for their children at games and practices.
“Physical activity and socialization opportunities are a component of our Healthy Town and Mayor’s Wellness campaign. This project will benefit all community members with enhanced opportunities for healthy outdoor recreational activities,” according to township officials.
The installation of a turf field also is in line with improvements that have been made to Central Park in recent years, such as the inclusionary playground custom-designed to be used by all residents, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, township officials said.
Drainage at the baseball field has been improved at Central Park. New lights have been installed at the tennis courts, and the basketball court has been resurfaced, according to township officials.