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DeHart Field Will Likely Stay Closed

Extreme weather has taken a toll on the newly re-sodded field.


will likely remain closed through the end of the year because of a fungal infection that has damaged newly replanted sod, according to Township Engineer Thomas Malavasi. 

“It was a combination of moisture and heat,” said Malavasi. The field was re-sodded this spring, and regular watering plus the summer's extreme heat caused the infection to spread before the new, young turf was established.

The sod will be patched and the field will be fertilized and aerated, said Malavasi.

"It had always been the plan to try to get the field reopened by the fall but to assume that it would not be able to be opened," said Township Committeeman Jerry Ryan.

DeHart Park has been  over the last few years. At one time, the town had received a grant to install an artificial turf field, to which some residents were opposed. The question was put to a referendum, and the artificial turf option was defeated. The field officially with natural grass after a $1.3 million renovation performed by Turco Golf of Suffern, NY. 

The township later discovered that Turco incorrectly installed the sod. Drainage has also been an ongoing issue on the field. 

“This was a brutal season for all fields in the area,” Malavasi said. He noted that the township’s organic turf expert, who has been regularly inspecting the field, said it was in better shape than some in nearby towns. 

Local community sports leagues, including South Mountain Soccer and Cougar Soccer, will face challenges finding fields to play on this season. The scramble will be complicated by the fact that this year. 

“We will do the best we can, but we are already seeing scheduling issues,” said Recreation Director Keith Knudsen.



DylanWilco September 05, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Thanks to the people who were so concerned about preserving "nature" for forcing a costly referendum a few years ago that prevented Maplewood from installing a state-of-the-art artificial turf field at DeHart. Instead, we have a grass field that will require continuous maintenance, mowing and fertilization ... assuming that is ever open for use. Our kids are now the ones that have to suffer from a lack of field space while this field is closed and a subpar, unsafe surface when open.
Jamie September 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Couldn't agree more, Dylan! Thank you for your comment. Wonder where all the nay-sayers are now? This will be yet another season of sub-par fields for our kids, and those from other communities forced to play on our fields. Pathetic!
unleb September 27, 2012 at 08:13 PM
And not only are the kids left without a field to play on, and the supporters of the turf field absolutely demonized, what does the excessive fertilization, watering and diesel from the temporary lights do to the environment? We are now spending way more money, creating way more pollution, and expending way more effort... has anyone yet stepped up to take responsibility for this fiasco? Or offer a reasonable, sustainable solution?

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