Mayor wants to revive discussion on improving Faber Field

Three years after the turf referendum was defeated, fields are still in dire need of repair

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The Lower Faber B baseball field is overgrown with weeds and has been abandoned for years by the Glen Rock Baseball Softball Association, which is asking the town to grass the field over so it can be used by other sports. (Photo by Colin Stephenson)

Nearly three years after Glen Rock residents voted overwhelmingly to defeat a $3 million plan to install artificial turf across the entirety of Lower Faber Field, Mayor Bruce Packer said at Wednesday’s Borough Council meeting that the borough needs to revisit the problem of improving Lower Faber Field, because conditions at the field continue to deteriorate.

“We can’t just keep kicking it down the road because it’s controversial and all the other things that are around it,’’ Packer told the council. “The field is still horrible, we have kids playing on it, so we need to think about doing something on it.’’

Packer brought the topic up because he said the small baseball field at Lower Faber has been unusable for years, and the Glen Rock Baseball Softball Association has abandoned that field and has asked for years that the town grass over the infield and reclaim the field, not for baseball, but for soccer or other sports.

“They asked last year, and my thought was, at some point, we need to do something with all of Lower Faber,’’ Packer said. “Do we really want to spend money on this one area, only to, potentially – if we decide we are going to do something (with the larger complex) – to spend money again?

“So they asked again this year, and my thought was, rather than have an engineer go in and look at that area alone, and give us a sense of what would be necessary, why don’t we tell the engineer, ‘Look, we want to revisit the entire field. What would it take to fix this entire field?’’’

The mayor said he would ask the engineer to provide two field-fixing solutions — one that would just be reclaiming the baseball field in question, and another would be to fix the entire complex.

Councilman Mike O’Hagan, who was on the council when the original turf plan was first approved by the council, then put to a referendum after residents presented a petition asking for one, reminded the mayor that there is $25,000 already earmarked to fix the baseball field in question, and all the plans have been approved. Fixing that one field, he said, will open up space that isn’t available now for children to play soccer or other sports.

“The money has been earmarked. It’s there,’’ O’Hagan said. “And we keep waiting for a big project. Well, $25,000 that’s already done there, it will benefit a lot of kids… (By) not being able to use that area now, we’re killing the other areas down there.’’

Packer argued that before the project to reclaim the baseball field can begin, the borough engineer has to visit the field anyway to go over what actual work has to be done. While they are there, he said, it should be easy to ask them to look at the entire complex, and perhaps provide two plans – one to fix just the baseball field and a second to fix all of Lower Faber.

But O’Hagan argued it would be better to just go ahead and reclaim the baseball field now, rather than put it off while a plan for the entire complex is considered again.

“We know Lower Faber, no matter what we do, is $2 million (to improve the complex),’’ O’Hagan said. “And that $2 million, whether it’s grass, brings it to $2.3 (million) $2.4 (million), turf brings it to $2.9 (million), $3 (million). We know the numbers. We’ve been spinning this number around for years and years.’

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