Byram Township Discusses Development of Tamarack Park
Thursday, September 6, 2012 • 12:03pm
BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ --- Members of the Byram council met together on September 4 to discuss matters.
The main topic of discussion was centered around the development of Tamarack Park.
Tamarack Park was approved by voters in 1998, it is a capital project meaning all of the money has already been collected. Four million dollars for this project was funded by the state of New Jersey, Sussex Borough, private funders and a small amount from Byram Township. The project took several years for all the parties to sign a contract.
Bill Schilling of the recreation committee attended the meeting to request a small amount of $50,000 from the town council for the company contractors to finish the last part of the project.
It is a multi-year capital project which is still going to take a couple more years to complete.
“This is the largest baseball field,” stated Schilling to the council. “It is a four hundred foot field. It does not necessarily need to be used for just baseball, two fields used for practices are gone, we are basically replacing those fields.”
Schilling also explained that the new field at C.O. Johnson cannot have a baseball diamond built on it because of the wetlands. There is a full size field hockey field, lacrosse program, and has doubled tremendously in the past six years due to major damage done on the outfield from rain.
“I don’t even think the one field at Jones’ field will even be enough for all of the programs,” said Schilling, “It is somewhat a recreation to prepare kids for high school but that is not true, our kids do not have enough practice on the fields to truly enjoy it.”
“What programs will these fields be used for?” asked councilman Scott Olson to Schilling.
“Basically any sport but baseball because we are not putting a diamond in. Field hockey, soccer, lacrosse,” stated Schilling.
“Do you plan on tearing down the building there or leave it up?” asked councilwoman Marie Raffay. “I heard talk of toilet facilities or a concession stand.”
“There is no talk yet but we want something there. Bathrooms would be nice and make a much nicer park for families and kids to use, it needs really nice things to put there and make it much more attractive park,” said Schilling.
“This is three or four years the fields would be built?” asked township manager, Joseph Sabatini.
“Built and useable,” said Schilling.
“We have kids in Netcong and Stanhope in our fields too,” stated councilman Carlos Luaces.
“We use theirs and they use ours, it’s a win-win situation,” responded Raffay.
“We are using Netcong and Stanhope’s facilities. We have more kids here and extensively use their facilities. They open their doors to us which is a good thing,” said Schilling.
The council at that time had made an agreement to authorize $50,000 to the project. The decision had become open for public participation.
One citizen addressed the council and had asked, “How big is this field?”
“It is a 360 foot by 215, the size of a soccer field. The local practice field is 108 by 108 and about eighty parking spaces,” Sabatini read from a document.
“In terms of coordinating with the neighboring towns, is there any way to get a joint committee for the next six to seven years?" the citizen asked. "I think that it is very important to have a good strong plan, it allows of every one to be dedicated."
The council and citizen then argued back and forth based on the concept of leverage and cash flow.