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Public Hearing Set for Ridgefield High Turf Proposal

In addition to artificial turf, the project calls for increased lighting at the school's athletic field.


The Planning & Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on Feb. 5 on a proposal to install artificial turf and additional lighting on an athletic field at Ridgefield High School.

The work requires a special permit under the zoning regulations. There are also some possible issues related to the proposed new lights, as well as environmental concerns concerning nearby wetlands, although no wetland permit is required because the field is not in the wetland review area.

Commission Chairman Rebecca Mucchetti said chemicals in the artificial turf materials might leech into the wetlands via storm runoff.

The extra lighting would increase the number of light poles from four to eight, but Mucchetti noted there are eight lamps on each pole. “That’s an awful lot of lights,” she said.

sebastian dangerfield January 17, 2013 at 07:32 AM
Concerned Ok--a couple of points on your post--. To me you are all over the place. You dont tell me about why you lied about the temporary lights, but when you think you have a case --you reply. You ask me about credibility? Do you honestly think that if there are 5 questions and you ignore 4 and answer 1 you are credible? IN any event --you were speaking about colleges and why some kid goes to "u of crap" and gets a sports authority job, and then spoke about 200k public school education. I thought you meant college--since that was what you were talking about. (and how this got from a high school turf field to crappy colleges not entirely sure). My challenge was to that point. So, if I misunderstood, not sure whose fault it is, but Ill say it's mine. That being said, you dont divide the current year budget by the number of enrolled students to determine how much it costs per kid. While you leap to question if I can keep score--I think your not being that considered. While there are many iterations, just consider this --the special education budget is 8.6 mio--and less than 200 kids are involved--do you think that non-special ed kids should be included in that cost? The education budget does not begin and end at enrolled students- we have non-resident , home schooled--magnet school, other public school....your number is wrong--but just to say I didnt understand what you were saying anyway. Anyway--can u tell me why u lied about temporary lights in darien.
sebastian dangerfield January 17, 2013 at 07:38 AM
and the math --comes closer to 175k per student - and the kid you are talking about , who is about to take a job at sports authority-- there were 5600 kids and a budget of 70 mio 7 years ago and a special ed budget of 4.. so that kid cost 12k one year -and in 1999 he cost 11k....so that kid getting the job tomorrow costs 145k. Now, you will say who cares thats too much, but here is the thing--you are keeping score at the soccer match--and its actually you that is using the wrong numbers.
Understand January 17, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Please don't put words in my mouth, Doug. The one person who was able to discuss this subject politely has deleted his posts, so I'm done here. One last thing, though - I think we could all get together on solving the problem of finding out who drove over the SMS and Diniz/Onalfo Fields...maybe install security cameras or barricades? Just a thought. Have a nice day.
sebastian dangerfield January 18, 2013 at 02:17 AM
understand Im done discussing this with you-as you are thretening me.
Larry January 18, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Sigh. Okay, I'll go for the bait. Sebastian, why do you keep saying :"Understand" threatened you? There is nothing in the comments to that effect? And why did Andrew Kelemen delete all his posts? Forums are weird.
sebastian dangerfield January 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Larry But you accept that " at 1137 on wed claims i attacked her? Ill point out where she threatened me (and im 99.9% understand is a woman) when you can explain where and when i attacker her. thanks larry
Ann Slanders January 24, 2013 at 04:47 PM
First, let's be clear that participation in team sports is educational in itself and provides training in teamwork, confidence, negotiation, effectively dealing with setbacks, leadership and dedication, among other things. Multiple studies over many years have shown that participation in team sports is often a contributing factor in the success, academically and later at work, for many athletes. For descriptions of some of these studies in alternative publications see, for example, http://news.menshealth.com/sports-and-career/2012/08/28/, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0034731, http://carmine.se.edu/cvonbergen/Sports%20Teams%20Are%20Good%20Models%20for%20Workplace%20Teams.pdf, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/6/1459.full, http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2012/07/31/why-wrestlers-make-the-best-employees/# (sorry, it's hard to find free research articles).
Ann Slanders January 24, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Second, if there is room for another field, why can't that field be an old fashioned grass field? So what if the field is used all year round? I played soccer from the time I was 5 all the way through college and I played on fields that were almost uniformly worn and uneven and which even had (gasp!) patches of dirt where grass once grew. So what? Why go to the expense of building, maintaining, and then replacing every few years an artificial turf field with unknown chemical risks and certain and proven risks to joints and muscles? Need I even mention that Ridgefield has not the foggiest idea how to live within its means? If I ran my family's budget the way that Ridgefield runs its budget, I would have lost my home (and probably my job) years ago. Way to take lessons from our living-forever-in-a-downward-spiral-of-debt federal government. Jeesh.
hahafunny January 24, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I agree with some of what you say, like "Ridgefield has not the foggiest idea how to live within its means." I take issue with the idea that sports are necessary for teamwork and so on. Some measure of sports yes. But let's not forget that in-class projects, orchestra, school plays, offer the same benefit of teamwork. I think what happens in Ridgefield though is a group of over eager sports parents push the envelope and demand more and more money for sports. Often to the detriment of classroom learning. Some sports are good. But sports replacing classroom learning is not good. Sports drawing down the budget so kids lose out on textbooks and teachers is not good. And as to your comment that sports teach kids how to deal with setbacks, I don't see it. Not here in Ridgefield. A student breaks the code of conduct rules and he/she doesn't receive the prescribed setback as so clearly set forth in the rules. A team loses the championship and Ridgefielders claim it was their rightful place to win. That's not dealing with the setbacks. That's pretending the setbacks don't exist.
oldtimer January 24, 2013 at 11:58 PM
JUST VOTE NO! I always do!
Roger Sherman January 25, 2013 at 12:41 AM
There is a vote?
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 25, 2013 at 02:12 AM
There is no vote. We already had two votes concerning turf fields. Defeated both times. So this time there is no vote. What does that tell you about the way things work around here. The ERMS gas line was turned down by the BOF. They decided it wouldn't be cost effective. They decided it wasn't in the best interest of residents. So what happened? The gas line is now going in because it was worked out where neither the BOF nor the residents had a say in the money being allocated. These things should never happen. The residents should control what's going on. The end. No end runs should be allowed in my view.
sebastian dangerfield January 25, 2013 at 05:56 AM
What is clear is the anti-sports crowd, is always a vocal and irrational force. We are now spending 500,000 a year on unarmed security guards to sit in a car, with yellow tape around them in a parking lot. That is their job. To sit in a car. (and if a 'bad guy with murder on his/her mind approaches? The guy can do nothing). Yet this is barely discussed. Thats 500k a year or 5 mio over 10 years. And the discussion is about a donated turf field, that might need to be replaced in 10 years? I am all for fiscal responsibility--but I sense that the anti turf people, are simply anti-sports people and find "health concerns : to be their rationale for trying to get in the way of "pampered athletes." Im so sick of these types who are so preoccupied with stifling athletes. My sense is that these parents are generally the ones who were uncoordinated and did not participate in sports in their youth, and therefore have concluded that for the rest of their lives, they will spend considerable time, trying to diminish sports and the excitement that revolves around sports. If you are truly fiscally concerned-fight the security guards. Fight the cost of Deb Low , who makes ridiculous decisions like hiring security guards at 500k-- Demand more for your 240k a year + pension. Or if you dont care about these costs, then admit, its simply an anti-athlete more than a cost thing.
Roger Sherman January 25, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Where did the town get the money to put in a field and lights?
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 25, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Where did the town get the money to put in a field and lights? In large part from the taxpayers. There's the problem in a nutshell, many people think Tiger Hollow came solely from private donations. Simply not true. The taxpayers have been footing a large part of the bill. This is exactly why another new "donated" field worries me.
Roger Sherman January 25, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Is this in the school budget or the town budget? I didn't see a new turf field in budget? Would it have been last years school budget or this years school budget?
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 25, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Chunks of money allocated for Tiger Hollow are in the school budget each year. Chunks are in the town budget. And chunks are on and off in the capital budget. You didn't know this? See what I mean? People don't realize how much the taxpayers have been contributing to Tiger Hollow over the years. You even go so far as to sound a little snarky and skeptical. That's a helluva way to say thank you for the contribution.
Roger Sherman January 25, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Excuse me if I seemed snarky, that was not my intention. I really wanted to see how much the town was spending on the new field. I looked at the Athletic Budget and the Buildings and Grounds Budget and didn't see the field information. Would you be so kind to let the readers know where to find that information?
sebastian dangerfield January 26, 2013 at 02:27 PM
When you read " large chunks" followed by a challenging remark, you have to know that no supporting evidence will be provided. No doubt athletics cost money. I dont have kids in school, but i am certain if any town in the USA would stop funding school sports, the resulting community would not be a place i would want to live in. I see kids wash cars. I see parents volunteering to raise funds. I havent seen the public works dept workers holding bake sales to supplement their budget. Havent seen cops trying to slash their budget; au contraire. I see waste every where....but there always seem to be a group of anti sports people identifying costs with sports. Like i say, ill believe you care about costs when you care about 5 mio over 10 years to have people idly sitting in cars.
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 27, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Here's what I see in the budget. Every year the BOS budget includes a $43,000 donation of taxpayer money for Tiger Hollow. This is to replace the turf every 10 years. The BOE budget includes about $35,000 annually to run the facility. This is for a stadium manager, custodian and other Tiger Hollow specific items. Over the years the taxpayers have also given money in the capital budget. For example, we gave $95,000 towards new lights. We also gave an interest free loan for $200,000. I assume there are other taxpayers contributions which I don't know about, but going with what I do know, I add this up to be, --$43,000 for 12 years is $516,000 --$35,000 for 12 years is $420,000 --Contribution for lights $95,000 --Interest free loan $140,000 (This is what the taxpayers would have received if interest was paid.) Total, $1,170,000. I think it's wonderful private citizens donated to Tiger Hollow. Terrific. But I don't think we should downplay what the taxpayers have also given. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the largest single private donation was $1,000,000. And if the taxpayers have now given more than that, then the taxpayers are the single largest donor to this "privately" funded facility. This is precisely why I have trouble with the idea of another "privately" funded turf field.
Roger Sherman January 28, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Thanks for the detailed information. However, based upon this one would assume the capital needed for the fields and lights is not coming from the town? You did a very good job providing transparency into the numbers, something we fail to see from politicians. However, one would have to assume that a good portion of the $35,000 spent every year, would be spent regardless. I mean even if they never built Tiger Hollow, would they still need a portion of that money to run any school sports complex? Surprisingly the $43,000 does not bother me personally as much now that I have an opportunity to think about this. It is very similar to any other large CAPEX investment, you need to purchase a maintenance to plan to ensure the long term value of the original investment. Here the town is actually planning for the future. Without you sharing the terms of the loan the town provided, one can not validate that your figure of $140,000 is correct. You seem to be privy to information I could not locate on line. How did you obtain the terms of the loan? Was the town able to vote on the $95,000 allocated for the lights? It seems like a lot of money to provide as a donation. What year were the new lights installed?
sebastian dangerfield January 28, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Marcus ? A 200k loan = 140k in interest forgiven? You list 35k cost to maintaining the facility= custodian etc. How does this relate to turf? Isnt this simply a cost that would exist regardless of turf vs grass? Could you also explain why you multiply each of your numbers by 12 , when you earlier claim the turf needs to be replaced every 10 years? As far as a 200k loan somehow equally 140k interest my calculation at 4% interest would be 8k a year. I think 8k a year, in a 100mio + budget is a rather picyune focus, but nevertheless, if the 200k loan exists, can I ask what was the loan used for? You included in the same sentence with lights, but it would help to understand how this relates to turf, since you seem to incorporate this? I find this all bizarre and dubious. How much does it cost, specifically to maintain the playing fields, for example at East Ridge MS? Since you seem capable of finding exact costs for Tiger Hollow, I assume you must also possess grass fields around town, and the only way to evaluate the cost of turf is to compare it. While I have zero information to support my theory, the idea that it costs more to maintain turf vs grass would very much surprise me.
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 28, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Yes, a $200k loan over 40 years results in $140k in forgiven interest. You should do an internet search for mortgage calculator. Plenty out there. You can see the numbers for yourself. I used 3% interest, which is probably too low. Average interest rates for last 40 years is 6%. 20 years is 4%. But I used 3% because that is what Ridgefield pays today to borrow money via bonds. Again historically, the number should be even higher, which means the interest forgiven could be greater than $140k. I was being conservative. As for the terms of the loan, you can see it in the BOS budget spreadsheet. $5,000 will be paid back every year for 40 years. No interest. It is also referenced in various town hall documents. I multiply each number (the $43,000 and the $35,000) by 12 because we have been paying these amount for 12 years. Tiger Hollow opened in 2001 and this is 2013. Was the town able to vote on the $85,000 for the lights? Well yes and no. It wasn't on the ballot, even though it was. Confused? Me too. Someone please correct me if I am getting any of the details wrong, but I believe it was embedded in a referendum question about approving money for the roads. Like so many voters, if you showed up at the polls and read the ballot question, you'd have no idea you were approving the lighting for Tiger Hollow. You'd have to first go to town hall and ask for the financial details behind the ballot question.
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 28, 2013 at 05:42 AM
How much does it cost to maintain a playing field? Nothing. I read that on these forum pages. When we want to add a new field, that's what I'm told by the sports supporters, it costs nothing to maintain. But now when you want to say Tiger Hollow costs less than grass fields, well suddenly grass fields cost a lot. I think sports supporters can't have it both ways. You can't say it costs nothing when convenient and it costs a lot when convenient. Anyway, what I did in the numbers above was I left out any costs for maintaining the field itself. Exactly so you can't say the $35,000 in the BOE budget would have to be spent anyway on whatever lesser non-turf field would have been on that site. No, the $35,000 is money specifically spent on the Tiger Hollow facility. You wouldn't have a dedicated Tiger Hollow building manager if you had no building. You wouldn't have a custodian if you didn't have a building. The $35,000 is the extra cost for having a turf field and associated field house. The two of you strike me as sports supporters, unwilling to consider the impact this has on the average taxpayer, which is fine. To each his own. But hopefully some residents are reading these posts and gaining an understanding as to how some things work around here.
sebastian dangerfield January 28, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Ok So, you didnt mention its 40 years. Out of curiosity, presuming you own your home, since you are complaining about taxes- if you bought your house for 500k-do you say you bought your house for 500,000 or 1,050,000 as you include the interest and taxes you pay over 30 years? I understand you want to trump up the costs, but I think a better way to look at it, is to say that the loan costs about 6k a year. You dont hire a teacher and then say she costs 2.6 mio dollars (and say avg 80k over 35 years). You went from 95k in lights, to 85k in lights....so unclear how the cost went down. As far as me saying it costs nothing--I never did. Im asking you what it costs, because I think you are the one who is having it both ways. Just keep the analysis fair and complete and then no one can say that one of us is being duplicitous. If it is in budgets, then include it here. If you can attribute a custodian's total salary to tiger hollow, then tell me what ERMS costs ....i have never told you it costs nothing--so its a lame argument to not include. Im a sports supporter...but are you anti-sports? I have no kids in school . My kids graduated from Darien High over 15 years ago. Im a senior citizen who pays taxes--and I have no desire to pay more than I need to. What i also have no desire to do, is to focus on sports as the way to fiscal responsibility. We have activity fees only for sports etc. I am interested in real numbers -not exagerrated
sebastian dangerfield January 28, 2013 at 06:58 AM
Gate receipts (40k) and student activity fees (325k) and booster donations (350k) make the athletic budget for the entire school system (including your 35k for tiger hollow) to be around 750k a year. I read that 1450 students participate. In addition to having a town asset. (presumably, if the University of Oregon and Phil Knight have increased the perception of Oregon by billions, having a turf field and adequate facilities for student athletes will be considered by potential home buyers). But again--to beat a dead horse---we are now spending --including transportation, coaches , and maintaining fields 750k a year. In contrast the unarmed security guards will cost less this year (about 525k)....for essentially NOTHING. If you honestly would ask all Ridgefield residents do we need unarmed 60 year old guys sitting in cars for the year, or dissolve the entire athletics department --and get 250k extra (out of 81 million dollar budget) do you really think the choice would be to have 0 athletics? What would that do to our property values? Ridgefield chooses fake security over all sports? But let's not forget, our administration always grants people 4ish% raises-so in about 10 years, the costs will be exactly the same--10 employees who do nothing or the entire athletic dept. Im for sports-but Im also for sanity. I choose to distinguish between wise spending, and foolish spending. Calculating how much tiger hollow costs and not the receipts ?? also not cool
Marcus Dairy Rocks January 28, 2013 at 05:56 PM
You keep changing the topic to security guards. I think there is a different thread to talk about that. If it helps, I don't think we should spend the money on a new turf field or security guards. I think your point about the receipts is misleading. If the taxpayers donated $1 million to Tiger Hollow, and the gate receipts were going back to the taxpayers, then yes I should count them. But the gate receipts are going to the sports program, so they can spend even more. I can't count that as offsetting the $1 million the taxpayers have donated. That makes no sense. The taxpayer donation for the lights was $95,000. The $85,000 was a typo. By the way, as suspected, I am now seeing even more taxpayer donations to Tiger Hollow over the years. Wouldn't it be nice if someone with knowledge and access could tell residents exactly what we have donated? 1450 students participate in sports programs? You are wrong. You seem to be wrong about a number of things. You say I want to dissolve the athletics department? I didn't say that. I said I don't want to pay for another turf field. You twisted that into me wanting to shut down the athletic department. I'll give you another example, you said I wouldn't provide any supporting evidence. Yet look at all the numbers and transparency I have added. It took me a few days to find the facts, but see how that works, I don't speak until I have the facts. You should try that sometime.
Perpipity February 03, 2013 at 03:46 PM
I see the BOE is trying to raise pay-to-play sports fees for skiing and ice hockey in this year's budget. Good move. It sounds fair. It's what many other towns do. This is how the interaction between residents and government is supposed to work. Your municipality shouldn't pay for everything. If special interest groups want something, they need to pay for it, or at least a fair share of it.
Roger Sherman February 03, 2013 at 09:26 PM
I didn't realize 925 High School student athletes constituted a special interest group.
oldtimer February 03, 2013 at 11:45 PM
I am obligated by law to "educate" kids to the 12th grade. I have NO problem with that. What they receive beyond that should be covered by the people that brought them into the world.

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