Artificial turf field coming to EPCAL?

04/15/2014 11:12 AM |
Youth lacrosse players scramble for a ground ball in Riverhead. Parents are proposing an artificial turf field be built at EPCAL. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Youth lacrosse players scramble for a ground ball in Riverhead. Parents are proposing an artificial turf field be built at EPCAL. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A group of about 15 parents asked Riverhead Town’s recreation advisory committee to build a multi-purpose artificial turf field for lacrosse, soccer and football at the EPCAL site in Calverton. 

Chris Nentwich of Aquebogue, a lacrosse coach who spoke for the parents Monday, said there are currently about 270 boys and girls playing PAL lacrosse, 500 playing soccer and 15o in football.

“You’re talking probably over 1,000 [kids] that would have access to this field, as well as possibly adult league or high school leagues,” he said.

Mr. Nentwich said it would cost roughly $900,000 to install an artificial turf field; a grass field would cost about $300,000.

But he said the turf fields are guaranteed to last 10 years, whereas the new field at Stotzky Park has been re-sodded two to three times in four years because of heavy wear and tear.

The other field at Stotzky Park is “unacceptable” and in bad condition, Mr. Nentwich said. He also feels it’s unfair to the baseball teams to have lacrosse and football played on those fields in the offseason.

In recent years the town planned on putting as many as four multi-purpose fields at EPCAL on a vacant 30-acre field  just east of the current baseball/softball field. The board has debated extensively whether to have natural grass or artificial fields, and whether to put lights at the fields.

But in the end, money shortages have prevented any of those plans from moving forward.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said a round of grant funding will be available in July, and the town can apply for up to $500,000, which could cover half the cost of a new field.

“We’re not looking for this to be built tomorrow,” Mr. Nentwich said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

Chris Nentwich of Aquebogue discusses sports fields with Councilman George Gabrielsen and recreation advisory committee members Larry Williams and Brian Mills Monday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Chris Nentwich of Aquebogue discusses sports fields with Councilman George Gabrielsen and recreation advisory committee members Larry Williams and Brian Mills Monday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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