Ridgefield P&Z Commission Set to Approve Turf Field at Tiger Hollow

The proposed 120 x 60 yard turf field — which will replace an existing grass practice field that is perpendicular to the stadium — is estimated to cost $1.2 million and will be funded using private donations.


Although it is yet to cast a final vote, the Ridgefield Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved the drafting of a resolution in support of Tiger Hollow Inc.'s plan to build a new turf athletic field with lighting adjacent to Tiger Hollow Stadium at Ridgefield High School.

The proposed 120 x 60 yard turf field — which will replace an existing grass practice field that is perpendicular to the stadium — is estimated to cost $1.2 million and will be funded using private donations. The organization hopes to begin construction this spring and have the new field completed by Sept. 1.

As explained by Robert Jewell, attorney for the applicant, the new turf field will be used for the same youth sports that are supported by the stadium field, including football, soccer, girls and boys lacrosse, and field hockey.

"About seven or eight years ago a bunch of folks got together with the crazy idea to update the athletic field that's now called Tiger Hollow — not with tax dollars but with private donations," Jewell explained. "And the crazy part of that idea is that it worked — Tiger Hollow is now a showcase in town."

The football stadium, which seats about 8,000, is used for youth sports events as well as community events such as Relay for Life, Strongman Competition, July 4th Fireworks, Adult Soccer program, Father's Day 5K Race, youth league programs, summer camps and more.

Jewell said the town's Master Facilities Plan of 2006 had identified the adjacent grass field as a possible location for installation of a turf practice field. Installing artificial turf and lights will make the field usable year round and will also eliminate the maintenance issues associated with grass, he said. In addition it will be possible for both fields to be used simultaneously at night.

Tom Galione, co-president of the Tiger Hollow board, explained that the current grass field is used for football practice in the fall, but it gets all torn up during those two months, after which it needs to be re-seeded. As a result it can't be used again until the following fall, he said. Installing a turf field, he said, would make the field usable year round and thus would help ease the growing demand youth sports programs are placing on town facilities.

The project includes the installation of four 70-foot tall light fixtures that will each have 11 mounted lights. They are similar to the four mono-poles used for the stadium lights — however the stadium poles have 15 lights each, Galione explained. The average lumens per square foot on the new field will be about the same as the stadium field, he said, adding that the shielded "down" lights — which are designed to focus light only on the field — would primarily be used in the fall and early spring.

Chris Santini, the other co-president for Tiger Hollow Inc., who was involved in the lighting project for the stadium field several years ago, presented a photometric study showing that when one steps outside the boundary of the new field, at night, "there is literally no light pollution" from the new Musco lights.

Several of the commissioners expressed concern over the potential for additional light pollution affecting the surrounding residential neighborhood. Commissioner Michael Autuori wanted to know if it would be possible to reduce the brightness of the new lights, since the field was only going to be used for practices, as opposed to games. Santini said it was a safety issue and added that there was no way to use the lights "dimmed."

"With this type of bulb, the lights are either on or they're off," he said.

Galione said as with the stadium lights, the lights for the new practice field would be controlled using a computer. This, he said, allows Tiger Hollow management to set the lights to go on and off automatically, based on scheduled games and practices. As with the stadium field, youth sports leagues will need to coordinate with Tiger Hollow staff to schedule the use of the lights.

Commissioner John Katz said he has driven by the stadium on numerous occasions after 10 p.m. and seen the lights on... "and there's nobody out there." He said he wanted the commission to make it a condition for approval that the lights be shut off promptly following each event.

Santini explained that it takes about 30 minutes for the lighting system to fully shut down — so that could explain why Katz saw the lights on with no one on the field.

Ultimately the commissioners decided that it would be simpler to have a set shut-off time for the lights, so as to avoid the complexity of considering game schedules. The commission made it a condition of approval that the lights are to be fully shut off by 11 p.m. — which means shut-down must commence at around 10:30 p.m.

In addition the commission requested better cooperation from the various sports groups that will use the field, in terms of ensuring the lights are shut off following each event, should it end earlier than scheduled.

When asked by Katz, Galione said the town foots the electric bill for the lights. He said the town has agreed to help maintain the new field and that the Board of Selectmen has included a "placeholder" in the town budget (currently set at $35,000) for maintenance of the new field, in addition to the $45,000 currently allocated to maintain the stadium field. He emphasized, however, that the Board of Selectmen still has not agreed on a set amount for maintenance.

Steven Trinkaus, an engineer from Southbury working on behalf of Tiger Hollow Inc., said removal of soils from the site during construction will be minimized due to the fact that one corner of the field will need to filled and graded in order to make it level. He said only about 1,200 to 1,500 yards of soil, out of about 18,000, will need to be removed. He said they will build a temporary access road from Ridgebury Road in order to transport machinery and materials to the site. Trinkaus said power for the new field lights will be brought in from Ridgebury Road. In addition walkways and steps near the field will be rebuilt in order to improve access from the south.

Noah Stiles with SprinTurf, the company that installed new turf at the stadium in 2011, said the new field will be built by first grading, then placing a layer of coarse gravel which is covered by layer of stone dust, followed by installation of a fabric membrane and then the turf is laid on top. Rubber pellets will be used in the turf for cushioning. Stiles explained that while some artificial fields use a mix of rubber pellets and sand, it's generally better to use only pellets on a practice field, as sand leads to compaction and a harder playing surface (what's more, having a sand mix leads to increased maintenance, he said).

Stiles said the rubber pellets used in turf fields are made from car tires — however all the zinc and other metals which are harmful to the environment are removed from the rubber when it is processed.

Marian Gioles, of 123 Ridgebury Road, the only person who spoke during the public hearing segment of Tuesday's meeting, said she was "very concerned about the 'fake turf' and the affect it has on the water," as well as the lighting system. Gioles, who lives near the site, said the lighting system used on the current stadium field "is very intense, you can see it for miles around... and it goes beyond 10 p.m."

Trinkaus emphasized that the rubber used for the pellets is "an inert material" and therefore will not emit any chemicals via rain water runoff. He added that the new field will not require the use of any fertilizers or pesticides, as the grass field does now. He said in this regard "sources of pollution are literally eliminated by using a turf field on this site."

Trinkaus also said the rubber pellets "don't migrate" during rain storms — he said a recent investigation of the drains for the stadium field revealed that little if any of the rubber pellets from that field found their way toward the drains. He also said the new turf field would actually drain more slowly that the current grass field, because the artificial turf has a tendency to slow the drainage process.

The commission will cast a final vote on the project later this month.

John February 12, 2013 at 05:25 PM
OOBLECK, a big point you did not get yet is that the new turf put at TH LAST YEAR was also not paid for by tax payers. So the town has not paid very little maintenance cost on the actual turf (not the pavilion).The track and the new turf put in last year was paid for privately through fundraisers. Take a look at one of the link's. http://www.tigerhollow.com/Fund2011_Pics.html
sebastian dangerfield February 12, 2013 at 06:52 PM
oobleck see this is my stalker buddy-- today its crazy vinnie--yesterday its aj jr. it can be mmurphy, or seth weinberg or professor moriarty or 100+ other names. But --whatever I understand how the town is planning for the future. Im interested in arriving at the proper analysis. Not in winning an argument. I know the town is saving up for a field they anticipate to buy in the future. That doesnt mean this field costs money. I dont understand how you dont get this? So all you need to do, is tell me where the donated field is in your concept of costs? In what years is the free field accounted for? When you tell me that--we can move on. Ill try one more analogy. See if it works--but i am having my doubts. YOu are a 25 year old. You want to save up to buy a house. You stay with your parents, who charge you no rent. You put aside 20k a year to save for the house-and hope to buy it in 10 years. By your example--its costing you 20k a year to live in your parents house. Sure-in 10 years it will cost money. But the first 10 are free. Are you saying that this guy living in his parents house costs him money? Because he anticipates buying something in the future? If the town decides not to replace the field--owing to some unforseen circumstances--how much did the turf field cost then? Answer any of the above-and maybe you can see the field--in years 1-10 is free.
sebastian dangerfield February 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Nice one John. If the new turf was privately funded--then where is ooblecks 43 k a year number coming from? Setting money aside in a budget -doesnt mean its spent or has cost anything.
Oobleck February 13, 2013 at 03:52 AM
John said >>> OOBLECK, a big point you did not get yet is that the new turf put at TH LAST YEAR was also not paid for by tax payers. <<< John, you are incorrect again. The recent replacement turf at Tiger Hollow was paid for by the taxpayers. I think your reading comprehension is a little iffy. Read the Tiger Hollow site again, do you see where your logic went wrong? Do yourself a favor and ask someone about the replacement turf. I assume you are a high school student. Go ask Carl Charles. He will set you straight.
sebastian dangerfield February 13, 2013 at 04:48 AM
Thanks obleck for correcting other people--but not correcting yourself. If you had played sports, then maybe youd learn that how you play the game matters. One thing is clear, every time obleck speaks, he believes the best way to win an argument is to insult. Not a high school student. Crazy Let me go gentle. "im quoting from the town budget" (which is a good one--given that you have stated 3 different numbers for the same budget item. DUH). Im sorry you were an uncoordinated kid--and have a weird hostility towards people who can succeed in both sport and life. I understand jealousy exists out there-- but people like you, make me better understand to what extent jealousy and resentment go in terms of making dumb statements. Thanks for not telling me in what years the donated field can be accounted for. Its simply because you are not that smart or honest. Pretty easy equation for anyone to determine.
Keith Ryan February 13, 2013 at 04:57 AM
I have no axe in this. I do not reside in Ridgefield. I read these arguments and this guy OObleck, is off his rocker. The town gets a field donated and he is counting how much it's costing him 10 years or more from now? We'd love to have this problem in my town!! Private donors please consider sending free shiz to Oxford Schools. You have some strange people in Ridgefield.
John February 13, 2013 at 01:07 PM
I know, it's comical. The turf put in at TH last year was paid for through TH and they raised the money. So that is 2 turf fields and 20 years or maybe more now, that the town has only had to sweep the field once per month for the maintenance. The grass practice field they would be replacing is almost all dirt and the amount of time & resources they spend to turn it back to grass each year is much more than any other field. We are a very lucky town and now this field can be used much more often and by many more teams including youth teams as well. Less time re-seeding, thatching, air-raiding, watering, fertilizing and oh yeah, re-sodding and also resting which takes a few months each year. LUCKY the town has these groups to raise this money as other towns do not!
John February 13, 2013 at 03:06 PM
http://www.ridgefieldct.org/filestorage/50/114/328/BOF_Ridgefield_Financial_Statements.pdf Take a look at page 60 or 61. Where in the budget was the cost for the replacement for the Turf that went in for Tiger Hollow??? Its not in there because the money was raised so there is more proof.
sebastian dangerfield February 13, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Thanks keith. Oobkeck probably gonna dissapear now. His b.s. was addressed.
sebastian dangerfield February 14, 2013 at 05:26 AM
im correct again.... maybe he will tell us all once agan how a free field that lasts only 10 -15 years--saves no money during no year again...and actually believe it. I wish he would give me something for free-and then i can say he is charging me money. oobleck--when you decide to give anything away (which you wont)--make sure im on your list. You will give it to me for free-and ill tell you that it costs me a lot of money 10 years from now--and you will be nodding your head uh huh uh huh
Oobleck February 14, 2013 at 07:34 PM
What is this strange game trolls play? Are you that desperate for attention that you’ll sell your soul and make up anything just to get a reaction out of people? The link and exact page numbers you provide shows the opposite of what you are claiming. It’s there for all to see. Tiger Hollow receives $43,000 from taxpayers. It is a yearly installment to pay for the replacement turf. Very strange that you’d show the exact link to the information and still claim the taxpayers give nothing and it is all private donations. I will now question your credibility on anything you say. And Sebastian, if you are going to make up a new ID like “Keith Ryan”, a good rule of thumb would be to use a fake name you haven’t used before.
Siwanoy February 14, 2013 at 09:16 PM
If the town is getting a privatly donated field, good for them. The town should then set aside money each year (for however long the fake grass field should last) to pay for a grass field as a replacement. when the time comes to replace it, if people still want a fake grass field, donate the money for it, if not enough interest or money is there, the town will have the money to put in a grass field. Pretty simple.
John February 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM
That is a good point.. But Tiger Hollow itself (not the new practice field) has already been replaced (summer of 2011) along with the track and this money was raised and funded privately as well. So this will be the 3rd turf put down at the HS that was all donated which makes the town VERY LUCKY!! But I dont get why oobleck keeps talking about the 43,000 for TH. It has been said many times that this cost is mostly for the pavilion/stadium management. This includes seasonal stadium mgr, custodial costs for cleaning the facility and supplies. Tiger hollow rentals, concessions, and signage generate around 35,000 each year, but we have been talking about turf vs grass for the new field. That is why I have been saying we could get better accuracy at the cost to manage the turf at scotts ridge MS as an example for yearly parks and rec maintenance. Parks and rec technically maintains the turf (brushes it once and awhile and garbage) as opposed to TH stadium which includes Pavilion, track, locker rooms, press box, etc. Scotts ridge does not have this and either will the new practice field. So lets stop talking about 43,000 when this does not pertain to just the TURF.
Oobleck February 15, 2013 at 01:02 AM
John, you lack credibility. You've brought that upon yourself. The $43,000 is for the replacement turf. The money for the "pavilion/stadium management" is about $37,000 and can be found online right now in the BOE athletic budget spreadsheet. Go look for yourself on the BOE website. This $37,000 is separate from the $43,000 turf replacement money in the BOS budget. Troll. Siwanoy, you have an interesting idea. I've never heard of it before. If no one wants to donate to the replacement turf field, then revert back to grass. Makes sense. I'll think about it more.
sebastian dangerfield February 15, 2013 at 01:08 AM
oobleck I ve used keith ryan in the past? In terms of credibility--you state at 628 on Monday "Okay, now I understand. Sorry everyone for so many posts, but really, one of you should have warned me." Implying that you were unaware of who I was. Now you say "And Sebastian, if you are going to make up a new ID like “Keith Ryan”, a good rule of thumb would be to use a fake name you haven’t used before" Not that I made up any fake name or new sign on---the fact that your profile only has one entry, proves that you continue to sign in and out as other people. I have changed my name, but havent changed anything else and you can see the 2000 entrys i posted since 2 years ago. If the town sets aside , as it did last year, money for salt for icy roads...does that mean it cost money? Or that they budgeted it? Do you know the difference between budgets and costs? Sorry man--but you prove youre dishonest-and then prove your dumb. Not such a great thing to prove.
John February 15, 2013 at 01:34 AM
I lack credibility? Wow, where is this BOS budget ? What year? Is it in the budget for the new turf field going in? Tiger Hollow, Scotts Ridge?? Be specific and you can gain credibility.. The H.S is also requesting that some of the money be set a side for replacement which is a good idea seeing that parks and rec sweeps the field 1x per month for 10 months (dont sweep in the winter) which equals out to be about 15 hours per year of sweeping the field. I wonder what the breaks down to cost per year?
John February 15, 2013 at 02:07 AM
In the 2013 proposed athletic budget it is requested that 10,000 be contributed from the fund balance... THe best option would be for any rental revenue made on any of the fields through games/practices/camps should be put into a turf replacement account instead of our athletic budget having to rely on rental revenue and sponsorships. I dont know many other towns whose athletic budgets depend on gate receipts (what if it rains on 3 friday night football games??) and marketing rentals out when the parks and rec dept maintains the field?? You can see in the upcoming budget the difference from other similar towns.
Oobleck February 15, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Sebastian, again you do not understand how the $43,000 Tiger Hollow donation works. This is why you lack credibility, you speak without understanding how things work. With the "salt money", the town allocates money that never actually leaves the town bank account until it snows and the money is needed. If it doesn't snow, the money remains in the town's general fund. This is the money being "returned" to the taxpayer in that it is there to be used as an offset in the following year's budget. With the $43,000 replacement turf donation, the logistics are different. The money IS taken out of the town bank account and given to an outside entity, Tiger Hollow Inc. This is not a municipal entity. They are separate from our town government. The town no longer has control over this donated money. It is gone. It will never be returned to the taxpayers. Even under the incredibly remote scenerio you paint where Ridgefield is no longer interested in sports and doesn't want to replace the aging turf field, it doesn't matter. It's not Ridgefield's call to make anymore. The money is in the bank account of Tiger Hollow Inc and they have every right to use it for turf replacement. I don't blame them. If the field is 10 years old and they have the cash, then of course they will replace the field.
Oobleck February 15, 2013 at 03:17 AM
John, I would like to consider your idea that gate receipts and rental income should go to the turf replacement fund.... I would like to consider it... but I can't because you have no credibility with me. See how that works. You intentionally kept saying things that were wrong, even when you yourself cited the exact location of the correct information. No credibility John. So I think your idea shouldn't be considered.
sebastian dangerfield February 15, 2013 at 06:15 AM
typical of oobleck--- he pretends not to be familiar with me---then accuses me of making a fake name -and saying i did it before--and then what oobleck? YOu decided you lost that discussion, so you dont bother addressing. You have lost each and every one of these logistical arguments, yet keep pretending to understand. Recommend annual commitment of $10K from Fund Balance Account to Town perpetuity fund for the replacement of the turf (ten+ years from now). Turf replacement costs are approximately $400,000. Gate receipts are in excess of 65k a year. The 25k you speak of is a committment of 25k from the FUND BALANCE ACCOUNT OObleck--please quit while your behind. You keep talking nonsense--ok....and when you get caught--just go on the offensive and make it seem like you are right.
Oobleck February 15, 2013 at 08:07 AM
The reason I wasn't familiar with you at first was because you changed your name didn't you? Some time over the past year of so I had a bizarre and entirely unintelligent conversation with someone name Lucas(?). Only yesterday did I realize this was you wasn't it? Not very logical of you to expect everyone else to know all your name changes. Am I right, did you used to post under the name Lucas? You now say I lost every one of these arguments? Let's see, you claimed the replacement turf was paid for by private donations. The budgets show you are completely wrong. Yet in your mind you think I somehow lost that argument. Oh okay. As for the numbers you are quoting in your last post, I'm not sure what you are trying to say.
John February 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM
LOL.. I love how you put me down on my credibility? What makes you credible?? Got here your background. I guess you know mine. I love how you say that because I am not credible your not considering my comment. I guess your the almighty approver of all comments and they must be counted by only you!! Are you the mayor who makes the decisions?Your just another typical arrogant ridgefielder who probably delves into all sorts of topics on here and is an expert on everything. How much of that 43,000 goes into track? Pavilion or retaining wall repair? Motorized gate that was installed? Fence repairs? and oh yeah the important part, the turf? Why do we keep using Tiger Hollow as an example as there are so many things that money can go into repairing, and not the scotts ridge turf? How much do we pay into that each year??
PQ February 15, 2013 at 01:49 PM
"OObleck--please quit while your behind." Learn the English language. You're not as bright as you would like to believe.
John February 15, 2013 at 04:00 PM
The argument is not about TH costs, its about the new turf and is turf vs. grass. You continue to dwell on overall complex costs. Do other towns pay for Track Updates? Scoreboard maintenance? Light maintenance, plumbing repairs, fence repairs, etc.? The answer is yes and we dont know how much goes directly for the turf. Stop using Tiger Hollow and use something comparable to this new turf field like Scotts Ridge please. I already put up a link and there are many more, about turf vs. grass long term figures. This was the initial discussion in the first place. I am more concerned about big tax wastes like our rec center programs and how they lose lots of money each year in their fitness memberships, programs and camps.
Oobleck February 15, 2013 at 04:09 PM
I did see that motorized gate. What the heck is that about? For those of you not in the know, Tiger Hollow now has one of those gates where you don't have to get out of your vehicle to drive onto the field. Instead it opens automatically. Woo woo. But why? Does spending money on a luxury like an automatic gate somehow add to the student's overall education? I've been told sports are important because it promotes teamwork and athleticism. OK. But does having an automatic gate add to the teamwork and athleticism? lol. I think we get carried away at times. I think we sometimes act like an NFL franchise team. The NY Jets, The New England Patriots, and The Ridgefield Tigers. Did you know the high school sports program is planning on buying a new golf cart? Why does our sports program need a new golf cart? I see golf carts for officials in big league games on TV. But we are a rinky dink high school team with really good kids, and let's face it, our football team doesn't do very well. Will having a golf cart change all that? Or do we want a golf cart because it would look cool in front of the opposing teams? I think this is out of control. There's the motorized gate. Then we are going to use tax money to buy a new golf cart. And we are also looking to buy a new ice machine. What? Is this a good way to spend tax dollars? I don't think so.
sebastian dangerfield February 16, 2013 at 03:34 AM
pq thanks stalker. you're not as sane as you think you are.
sebastian dangerfield February 16, 2013 at 03:45 AM
yes-- i posted under luca. But the profile picture is the same. Let me ask you this--what made you realize im the same person? This is the type of question you dont answer. I can only guess you the person I had a debate with over the price of oil not ever touching 10 bucks a barrel? Am i right? Want to know how I know? Because you make like 12 points. And the points you realize at some point are misguided--you just stop talking about them, and try to insult the other person. You've done it here -- Ive asked you 9 times if the town only had 1 field would it then cost 15,000 dollars to maintain that field. You realize your position on this is wrong--so you just decide not to answer. Just like the oil situation which you described the imported oil as a security threat--and then said we were always talking about west texas crude..... Yeah--you lose points. Like saying i was keith ryan?? but not understanding i was luca until some point. Weird memory--i posted under luca for 2 years straight....couldnt remember that--how often has keith ryan posted? I dont remember seeing his name ever, before this week. ....but you keep track? but cant line up my same profile?? Right man... see? You lost another argument...because honesty is something you sacrifice in order to try to win an argument. (too dumb to understand to win--you need to be sincere)
Oobleck February 17, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Sebastian said >>> what made you realize im the same person? <<< The same charming tone. >>> Ive asked you 9 times if the town only had 1 field would it then cost 15,000 dollars to maintain that field. <<< I didn't bother answering because I think it's a dumb question. The town doesn't have just one field. You didn't know that? Another thing you don't understand, the cost to maintain a grass field is labor. Pure and simple, a body mows the field twice a week. This task is mostly handled by seasonal employees. If we add a new grass field, they hire half a person to mow it. If we lose a grass field, they cut a seasonal employee's hours in half. Or whatever economics works. So yes, each grass field cost about $15,000. >>> Weird memory--i posted under luca for 2 years straight....[you] couldnt remember that-- <<< Interesting, you feel people should remember you because you've been posting here for two years? Your statement hints at some belief that the world revolves around you and so of course everyone should remember you because of course everyone in the world spends their free time reading your posts every day. Of course we do.
Oobleck February 17, 2013 at 03:42 AM
John said >>> Why do we keep using Tiger Hollow as an example as there are so many things that money can go into repairing, and not the scotts ridge turf? How much do we pay into that each year??<<< TH and Scotts Ridge are handled in two different ways. TH is a yearly payment towards the eventual turf replacement. Scotts Ridge will be a one time lump payment. The new turf field will be following the TH model. It will be a yearly accrual. That's why I compare it to TH and not Scotts Ridge. Do you have knowledge that part of the $43,000 yearly payment to Tiger Hollow is being used for something other than turf replacement? I've never heard that before and I'd be very interested in learning more.
sebastian dangerfield February 17, 2013 at 05:40 AM
Weird memory--i posted under luca for 2 years straight....[you] couldnt remember that-- <<< Interesting, you feel people should remember you because you've been posting here for two years? Your statement hints at some belief that the world revolves around you and so of course everyone should remember you because of course everyone in Nope. But anyone who chronicles what they feel are "luca's fake names, and keeps a log of them, probably also knew sebastian which i have now used for about 2 months. I never used Keith Ryan--I tried to do a search for Keith Ryan to see if anything came up --but I dont think the search engine is that sophistated. In any event oobleck --this is what I mean by "you lose". Your logic and level of intellect simply dont compare. On one hand you claim to remember fake names I use--but then somehow dont even know this one?? Now--if I were you, id laugh and just admit you got caught in this web...but since you are who you are--you will try to maintain this off kilter logic for a long time, and never give in. and that --oobleck is why you have no credibility. Because Im thinking anyone with a brain, can understand that your explanation just doesnt hold water. Its not a dumb question--about the field cost. Aside from the fact that they do not hire 'seasonal workers for plowing and for mowing--I asked you - what the cost was in 2001 for maintaining grass fields. Since TH went in--the cost must have gone down?


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