Recently there has been a heated debate over plans to facelift the Memorial Feild in Washtington DC.  Finally The Township Council has voted to move forward with a controversial plan to overhaul Memorial Field which involves installing artificial turf.  Ironically it took more than a year of divisive debate among residents to come to this decision.  With so much time, thought and debate over this upgrade we take a closer look.

The council voted 4-1 on Monday to issue $2.45 million in bonds to finance the installation of a new artificial playing surface, a drainage system, a basketball court, a walkway around the field, lighting fixtures, bleachers and other items.

The decision to replace the grass surface with artificial turf has drawn strong reactions from residents who have voiced their opinions at council meetings over the past year. Opponents believe the money and council’s efforts would be better spent on other needs in the township and have repeatedly asked that the matter be placed before voters in a referendum. Those who support the field conversion say artificial turf is easier to maintain than grass and will save the township money over the long term. They also contend the turf would be a safer playing surface.

The new plan will go into effect 20 days after its publication in a local newspaper. Once that happens, Tthe township engineer will design a final plan for the field and prepare bid documents.

For months, the possible conversion has stoked contentious debate among residents at council meetings. On Monday night the council chamber was filled with residents representing both sides of the issue. They sat on opposite sides of the room and applauded like-minded residents who spoke before the vote.

Many parents and coaches spoke in favor of the project, citing the dirt and unsafe playing conditions.  For supporters the overall concensus was that it was time to move forward with this project. At the end of the day the field has to be fixed.