Lower Mac Garden Plots still available for 2015!

Lower Macungie still has plots available for 2015. But get them quickly. Only a couple more still left at Bogie location. Olympic has about a dozen or so.

The price is 30 a year. Tilling is done every spring (see photo below) and water is available at both locations.  The increase in price is to pay for the time involved in preparing the plots and the monitoring of them.  This program is revenue neutral. Also there were some complaints about plots being rented out but let go to seed. So the hope is the small increase will thin out those gardeners that don’t maintain for a full season leaving more plots for more serious gardeners.

FAQ’s
-Plots are approximately 20’ x 30’.
-Plots are rented on a firstcome, first-serve basis.
-Kratzer Farm (Bogie Ave) plots are rented to township residents only
-Camp Olympic plots are available to the wider community (because grant money is used at Olympic) non-resident fee at Olympic is 40.00

Kratzer Farm garden plots (off Bogie Ave) are tilled and ready for Spring veggies!

Kratzer Farm garden plots (off Bogie Ave) are tilled and ready for Spring veggies!

 

Economic gardening vs. economic hunting. How can we help?

Economic Gardening is the opposite of Economic Hunting. Economic gardening is an entrepreneurial based approach to economic development that seeks to grow the local economy from within. Its premise is that local entrepreneurs create the companies that bring new wealth and economic growth to a region in the form of jobs, increased revenues, and a vibrant local business sector.

Economic Gardening is an inside-out strategy while Economic Hunting or as recently in Lower Macungie chasing strip malls with tax gimmicks is very much an outside-in strategy.

economic-gardening
Oftentimes politicians prefer the hunting approach. With the hunt/poach approach comes large projects, ribbon cuttings, inflated job forcasts. (oftentimes with quantity, quality suffers) etc. Nice things you can put on campaign lit. But oftentimes these projects over the long term are contingent upon subsidies, abatement programs, special treatment, long term obligations and major government intervention akin to an escalating arms race.

The issue is the downsides to the hunt are substantial vs. the rewards.

Economic gardening is a much more resilient approach where benefits play out over the long term. For better or worse the Lehigh Valley and Lower Macungie have been very good recently at the hunting game. The long term liabilities of this approach unfortunately only will become clearer over time. Check out this article: Economic gardening is growing but what is it?

I believe it’s time to put equal emphasis on a gardening approach. One strategy is taking a good hard look at our sprawl zoning code which as currently written actually presents barriers to local entrepreneurs. That is step #1. That’s an action item that we’ll hopefully tackle of the next 3 years. But other strategies are more long term. Tending an economic garden doesn’t provide an immediate feather in any one politicians cap. It’s hard work.

Another step I want to concentrate on is just asking the right questions. For example:


If you’re a local entrepreneur in Lower Macungie or a small business with less than 100 employees what can we as a community do to help you grow and expand your existing small business keeping it in Lower Mac?

Recently, we’ve invested significant money in low value hunting schemes. My question is moving forward what can we do for everyone else?

Economic Gardening in Emmaus

Economic Gardening in Emmaus

Quarry Park concept presentation thoughts

Below is a memo I wrote to the Public Works Committee after seeing last night’s first presentation of the latest Quarry Park Concept plan. This outlines some topics and items I hope to discuss at future planning meetings. As stated in the memo, while I felt synthetic fields weren’t the best investment in our park system now that the issue has been settled we need to now focus on the best design possible.

WFMZ has a photo and article here.

2/24/15
Manager & Public works committee,


Here are some thoughts after listening to discussion from last night on the latest concept plan. 
First, now that decision has been made to move forward although I disagree that synthetic fields are the best way to spend taxpayer dollars to address field use issues that issue is settled. I am now motivated to have the best project possible. I think the latest plan is an improvement over the initial sketch. That being said here are some concerns and items I feel strongly about.
BIG PICTURE
1. As far as configuration and number of fields and design I want to see the math that justifies certain designs. If the problem is field usage then we should be sure design addresses that problem. To demonstrate this: What is the usage now, what is the current deficiency (sport specific) and how many more playable hours (sport specific) would new/different configurations of park provide? 2. I’m sure this has already been discussed but security must be a part of a concept plan. This should include video monitoring. We have to protect our 600,000 investment. A fully designed security plan should be a part of the concept plan.
3. I don’t support any additional volume of scheduled use at Quarry above and beyond what is currently scheduled until the Saurkraut punch through is finished. This would allow for signalized access to Rt. 100. I’m not interested in delaying the build. We can design and build the project, but scheduling should be kept at current levels until the punch through is complete. Any major tournaments or additional usage based on synthetic fields is inappropriate as long as the primary access is an offset un-signalized intersection on Rt. 100.
PROCESS
4. I feel strongly that “task force” meetings should be public and would request that the planning commission, EAC , LMYA and Parks and Recreation board have a formal chance to review and weigh in on the concept plan before we get to deep into it as a courtesy.5. Any future public vetting of plans Astroturf/consultants should have two copies one for the Board/committee and one for the public which can be displayed on a easel. It was impossible last night for anyone in attendance to see the plan. 

INITIAL CONCEPT PLAN COMMENTS
5. I don’t know if room permits but establishment of a Greenway trailhead should be considered. (Since this is a recommendation of of the Parks Comprehensive plan specifically for Quarry Park)

6. Reduction of the amount of proposed impermeable parking. I know we need some additional and that’s fine. But the amount proposed seems excessive. Have we considered overflow parking in designated grass areas? We should build parking to handle normal park usage accounting for increased volume of synthetic fields. Tournament or other highest intensity usage should utilize overflow parking in non paved areas. (stone or grass) We should also consider the potential to design more parking, but not build it right away. We can “bank” future lots and build as justified.

Since this parcel is next to the river we should include best practice greening and sustainable storm water management of new parking areas.

7. What is justification for additional storage buildings.
8. Are we addressing deficiencies? I remember during parks comp plan mtg’s it was stated we are:
Deficient one baseball diamond currently.
Have a surplus of Soccer and “rectangular” Fields
Since the current plan increases playing hours on rectangle fields but loses one diamond at Quarry where are we gaining at lest 2 diamonds? And can that location be lit with natural grass diamonds.9. The concept plan should account for potential acquisition of the Muse parcel. I think this was stated last night. Just want to ensure. Should maybe include a sketch of possible muse layout.
10. I agree with the Dog Park group, Sara and the Parks board that the first Dog Park should be at Olympic. But we should if space allows sketch in location for potential 2nd park at Quarry. This can be on future muse acquisition of existing park. Ron

Lower Macungie Agenda Preview – 2/19

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations before issues are settled. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. This is one mechanism to avoid that. I hope people find it useful. 

Hearings:
Farr Tract Rezoning Request:
This property located at Lower Macungie Rd. and Cedar Crest Rd. is currently zoned S Suburban. The applicant is seeking a text amendment to allow restricted over 55 as a condition. The developers have submitted a sketch plan that calls for 142 homes on 54 acres at the northwest corner of Cedar Crest and Lower Macungie Road.

Both the Planning and Zoning Committee (PZ) and Planning Commission (see letter below) have recommended rejecting this request. I sit on the PZ. My views reflect that of the planning commission on this issue. 

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 1.47.01 PMCommunication
Resident Donald Richards writes asking for an ordinance to control distribution of free newspapers like the merchandiser. This is something we’ve talked about recently. The problem is when people are away these papers stack up as a tell-tale sign the house is empty. Also in the winter the papers often get buried under snow… then when you go through with a blower it jams up the intake. These are just a couple of examples on why we should take a look at this issue see what we can do. Maybe evaluate what other communities do.

Dept. Matters
Approving the Southwestern Lehigh County Plan Inter-municipal agreement. I support this. 
The plan is a non-binding document created 7 years ago in a joint effort by Emmaus, Alburtis, Macungie, Upper Milford & Lower Macungie.

This original Plan was funded by grants. The Comprehensive Plan is intended to establish overall policies for the development and conservation of the Southwestern Lehigh County Region over the next 15 years. This Plan is not by itself a regulation, but is intended to provide the policy direction for changes to the municipalities’ development regulations.

Recently there has been consensus to update the plan. This was largely necessitated because Lower Macungie has significantly deviated from the plan.  The biggest example of course was the Jaindl development debacle and rezoning of 700 acres of ag protected land to Industrial, Strip Commercial and Residential.

Manager Report:
The manager will be requesting moving forward Quarry Park Synthetic Field Turf Project and NPDES permitting. I voted against inserting this project into the budget and have been vocal in opposition. More information here. I think it’s important to to invest in our parks but I don’t believe this is the most cost effective way to do it.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.07.10 PM

 

Lower Macungie Snow Emergency Rules

 Snow Emergencies will be announced via the news media. The township facebook page is also a great source for updates. Also monitor the website at www.lowermac.com

Operation Snowflake program airs on WAEB-AM790 and WAEB-FM B104

*New for 2015: If a Weather Emergency is declared it is mandatory that all vehicles be moved from ALL STREETS.

The Township will plow three public parking lots for residents to park; Wescosville Recreation Center, Hills at Lockridge Park, and Farmington Hills Park.

Plowing policies: The township will begin to plow when there is approximately 3” of accumulated snow. For public safety first priority is connector roads to allow for emergency vehicles.

Developments Lower Mac. does NOT currently plow include: Lehigh Crossings, Schaefer Run West and Spring Ridge Crossing. (These newer developments contain roads not yet dedicated to the township). Developments Lower Mac PARTIALLY PLOWs include: Graymoor, Harvest Fields, Hills at Lockridge.

More information here

Municipal pensions face 7.7B in debt. Why is Lower Mac not on the list?

Recent headline in the Morning Call: Municipal pensions in Pennsylvania facing combined $7.7 billion debt

All surrounding municipalities are on the list with Macungie listed as ‘not distressed”, Alburtis, Upper Milford and Upper Macungie as “minimally Distressed” and Emmaus Borough as “moderately distressed”.  The level of distress relates to debt vs. assets in municipal pension plans.

The reason Lower Macungie is not only un-ranked but also not on the list at all is because our pension plan is a defined contribution not a defined benefit plan.  Therefore we do not have the actuarial issues of determining funding liabilities. In a defined contribution system participants gets back what was put in for them each year, plus, hopefully, some earnings rather than losses. The issues of “fully funding plans” don’t apply.

Basically, Twp. leaders decided back in the late 1970’s to head down the defined contribution plan route as a cheaper way to pay employee benefits. To put it mildly, we lucked out thanks to those old dutchies. 🙂 

For now our situation is stable. One of the biggest ways this could someday change is if and when the township creates a local police force. For example: The pension plan Upper Macungie Township created when it formed its 22-member police force in 2012 is already carrying debt of about $2.2 million dollars putting it in the minimally distressed category.

As the Morning Call article states “Bills being circulated in Harrisburg, new municipal police, fire and nonuniform workers would have a corporate-like “cash-balance plan” that guarantees a smaller rate of return of 4 percent on contributions made by employees and employers.” If something like this passes before we ever have to change our police or fire protection arrangements it would benefit us immensely.

pension_1237582c

 

Defined Benefit Plan (distressed plans)

With a Defined Benefit employers pay a specific retirement benefit based on salary and years of service. The most common formula to calculate benefits is based on the employee’s earnings at the end of the worker’s career. The problem is the employer or government bears funding and investment risk. As is the case in many PA municipalities these can (most oftentimes) create crippling unfunded liabilities that get worse over time. This puts the whole system in jeopardy for newer employees. 

Defined Contribution Plan (Lower Mac)

Defined Contribution (DB) plans provide a means for both employees and employers to contribute a steady stream of revenue into the participant’s retirement account.

Plans generally allow participant-directed investments and vest (or allow employees to receive benefits) sooner than DB plans. Benefits are also portable, which is becoming more important for workers in today’s evolving marketplace where the average worker may switch jobs and even careers multiple times over the course of a lifetime. While DB plans are managed collectively, employees have ownership of defined-contribution retirement plans and choice over their retirement investments. Since they are fully funded up front, this prevents pension obligations from sneaking up on future generations of taxpayers and allows for more stability in budgeting. 

Thank you to Township Volunteers

Thank you to all township volunteers and welcome to our newest. Below is an overview of appointments from last night to various Boards & Commissions.

7235625-ball-pen-on-white-background-showing-thank-you
In a Commonwealth like Pennsylvania local Gov is designed to be hands on. Commissioners aren’t elected to go off to far away places like Harrisburg and DC to make decisions for us. Locally, every resident has the opportunity to get involved directly. Attend meetings, talk to elected officials who are also neighbors, circulate petitions etc. Can’t attend in person? Watch mtg video at YOUR convenience. Prefer to read? Review minutes online. Best of all you can volunteer like the folks below and get involved directly.

In Lower Mac we have a deep bench of qualified applicants. We have wait lists. Great problem to have. Many more qualified applicants than vacancies. Most recently to address this we’ve created additional ad-hoc positions on the Public safety Commission and are considering others. This to ensure that people who want to be involved have the opportunity.

Thank you to everyone who last night we appointed or re-appointed:

•Charles Sabo & Fred Zahradnik appointed to the Environmental Advisory Council. Sabo is an emergency medical technical for St. Luke’s. Zahradnik is owner of NetCrafter Solutions.

David Wieder reappointed to the Building Code Board of Appeals. Wieder is vice president of Burkholder’s HVAC.

•Ann Bartholomew reappointed to the township’s planning commission. Bartholomew is a retired author, writer and book designer and also an active member of the historical society. Ann quite literally wrote the history of the township. Purchase Ann’s history of Lower Macungie Township here.

•Keller Kline is an attorney and former township commissioner reappointed to the Zoning Hearing Board. Richard Ward also reappointed as an alternate. Ward is a senior vice president of Alliance Advisors LLC, also served on the Public Safety Commission.

•Four reappointed to the Public Safety Commission: Scott Forbes, the chairman; Michael Dattilio, vice chairman; Elizabeth Ackerman & Tony Alsleben. Forbes has background in telecommunications and business served on the board for five years. Dattilio is a Hellertown Borough police officer. Ackerman is a corporate sales manager at Bear Creek Mountain Resort. Asleben is an Allentown police officer. In December we also appointed to new members. Mark Spengler is a teacher at Emmaus High School and Dr. Janine Mathesz a fmr. assistant principle at EHS as an Ad-Hoc member.

Volunteer boards & Commissions include: (visit www.lowermac.com for more info)
The Audit Advisory Board
The Environmental Advisory Board
Emergency Management
Historical Society
Library Board
Planning Commission
Public Safety Commission
Vacancy Board
Parks and Recreation
Building Code Board
Zoning Hearing Board – What is a Zoning Hearing Board?
And of course everyone has the opportunity to RUN FOR OFFICE!

 

 

Lower Macungie BOC Agenda Preview Jan 8th 2014

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure residents have background information on issues. This is one mechanism to do that. I hope people find it useful. Please contact me at ronbeitler@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns about any issues.

Hearings: NONE

Communication/Letters The agenda has 4 letters concerning Quarry Park. All expressing opposition or concern for various reasons. I have a feeling er are going to keep getting them.

One is from former Commissioner Roger Reis who I didn’t always agree with but I do on this issue. Former Commissioner Reis writes:

Bruce,

I know it’s late in the game but I would appreciate you informing the BOC that I am against spending over three million dollars for artificial turf. A property tax was enacted last year, which I did not support, because it seems there wherever more money becomes available, politicians immediately want to spend it. Three million dollars is almost 20% od the annual LMT budget. It is not a good investment.

Roger C. Reis

More letters again express the common theme that most residents aren’t against spending money on improving our parks. They are against spending money on synthetic turf. This is what I am hearing from most residents.

Here is a collection of research and answers to FAQ’s I’ve collected on a blog post.

Appointments to Boards & Commissions Lots of appointments on the agenda tonight. 1. Appoint Alan Fornwalt of Keystone Engineering as Township Engineer for 1 year.
I support this. Alan has big shoes to fill replacing Bill Erdman who was with the township for nearly 4 decades. While I do support further exploration of an *in-house township engineer and will continue to do so as long as we have Keystone I am very happy our man is Alan Fornwalt moving forward.

Overview of in house vs. outsourced engineer issue:
*Lower Macungie puts plan for in-house engineer on hold

We will also be appointing volunteers to the Building Code Appeal Board and the Public Safety Commission.(PSC) For the PSC I support re-appointing the incumbents and will recommend this as the committee chair.

For the Planning Commission in addition to supporting re-appointment for Ann Bartholomew I will be making a motion to also appoint an Ad-Hoc member from our list of applicants. Here is a memo I wrote to fellow Commissioners last night outlining my justification:

Commissioners,

I wanted to formally voice my support for Ann Bartholomew to be re-appointed to the Planning Commission. I will bring a copy of this memo tonight. 

Ann has for a long time been a very strong member and consistently brings up unique historical context to discussions. But her contributions are not limited to this alone. Jim’s original recommendation was a different direction but he has since decided to recommend Ann. I agree.

In addition to Ann I will also be recommending an Ad-Hoc member and suggesting Hillary Smith to full the role. Hillary has interviewed twice now for the position. She has a technical engineering background and brings a perspective missing on the board as the mother of school age children in the EPSD. Hillary is also in her mid 30’s. Current projects in township are and will continue to target “young professionals”. (East Texas mixed use, Grandview etc)

Currently that is a perspective missing on a board that has an increasingly high average age. Reality is often we have a senior dominated planning commission reviewing communities geared towards young professionals. This of course is a strength as we continue to review and look at policies relating to our current and future over 55 developments, but a weakness in terms of perspective relating to “young professionals”. This being a demographic we are actively seeking to attract and are competing with other municipalities who seek the same.

Based on a conversation with Chairman Keister I also worry about the possibility of losing multiple senior and experienced members of the Commission within a short time period. Since the Planning Commission is such a detail oriented and technical board I think this could hurt the dynamic. 

While it is true that our staff members very capably guide the planners in terms of carefully considering  the technical aspects of land developments and long term planning questions it’s my opinion that nothing compares to “time at the table”. Especially on such a technical board that tackles long term planning projects.

After conferring with Irv and others it is for these reasons and the fact that I also dislike turning away well qualified volunteers who have applied more than once that I believe a non-voting ad-hoc seat is very appropriate. This would be very similar to the Zoning Hearing Board and the Public Safety Commission. Both of which have alternates or Ad-Hoc members who sit at the table.

Facing the potential of losing multiple veteran members at once we have to ensure we foster a deep bench.

While of course this wouldn’t guarantee that the Ad-hoc member would be “in line” to be elevated to the board should a vacancy present itself it would be logical choice to consider. 

Ron Beitler

We will also be appointing members to the building code board of appeals, the EAC and the Zoning Hearing Board.

Budget Analysis:
Of interest in the year 2013 we collected:
660,000 in real estate transfer taxes (82.5% of forecasted)
4,951,713 in Earned Income Tax (99.0% of forecasted)
415,483 in Local Services Tax (118% of forecasted)
Totaling just over 6 million dollars. It looks like the deficiency in real estate Transfers was made up in LST. This translates to more workers in the township than anticipated and less real estate sales. But it looks like they were a wash.

Dept. Matters

Engineering
Planning
Manager
Year end report:
2014 Lower Macungie Managers Reportphoto
Solicitor
Cable Franchise Agreement

Committees

Public Safety
Budget & Finance (Conrad/Lancsek)
EAC recommendation for EIT referendum to fund open space:
The first of two proposed funding mechanisms for open space preservation remains on the Budget and Finance agenda. I am unsure where this stands. It’s been in committee for a long time. The EAC has answered all proposed questions including drafting a lengthy white paper on the issue. Considering a referendum was one recommendation of the parks and recreation comprehensive plan.

Planning & Zoning (Lancsek/Beitler)
EAC recommendation for open space funding:
This committee still has the EAC recommendation for Real Estate Transfer taxes associated with the Jaindl rezoning to be earmarked for Open Space preservation. I 100% support this and look forward to a vote by the full board on this. This is another open space preservation funding mechanism that has been brought forth.

I outline my support of this initiative here: Open Space funding proposal use Jaindl real estate transfer money

Public Safety (Beitler/Brown)

General Administration (Higgins/Brown)
Review of LMYA land use agreement.
I suggest anyone with interest in this take review the attached draft and responses from LMYA regarding the current draft of the agreement. You can find it here in the agenda detail.

Public Works (Brown/Higgins)
Authorize study for Brookside Rd. signalization project. I have alot of thoughts on this.
And I am hoping to be able to do a second blog post just on it. Basically we are choosing between moving forward a traffic signal on Indian Creek and Brookside (relatively inexpensive and already warranted and on Act 209 plan) or making improvements to the existing signal at East Texas & Brookside. (Very high price tag) If this recommendation is putting a “train on the tracks” so to speak or making this a decision to move forward one or the other I do not support it. If it just to gather more information before making a decision at a later point then I am in favor. I would like to see numbers and more information/suggestions from our engineer but at this time I favor moving forward Indian Creek signal before East Texas and Brookside. But am interested to hear rationalization for emphasis on Brookside and East Texas. They both need to be addressed but as a matter of priority I place emphasis on Indian Creek at this time since it’s closer to “shovel ready” and can be funded from additional sources. (Development)

Authorize KCE to perform survey/plan for Hamilton Boulevard bike paths: I support this. Study will allow us to “piggy back” off a future penndot resurfacing project therefore saving substantial amounts of money. The bike lanes are a recommendation of the Hamilton Boulevard corridor study. It’s one of many but represents an incremental step forward to carrying out the general theme of making our commercial corridor less like Macarther Rd. and more like a traditional Main St.

Recommendation for a Dog Park location – Basically the Parks and Recreation board has identified it’s preference for the townships first dog park. A dog park has been eluded to but is not on the official 2015 budget. I agree with the Parks board recommendation that the priority should be Camp Olympic as the location of the townships first dog park. They indicate they feel Camp Olympic should be the location of a second someday. I also agree with that.

 

Synthetic fields facts & research – Answers to common questions

Over the next week on this page I will be compiling to the best of my abilities answers to many common questions we have received from the public regarding the Quarry Park turf field proposal. Recently, I voted against earmarking 1.5 Million Dollars in surplus money (total cost of line item 3.3M) to fund a proposal for turf fields as part of the 2015 budget proposal. At this time I am not convinced that the synthetic field aspect of the concept plan is the best way to address township field use issues. As an alternative I have proposed informally that we should instead concentrate on less expensive alternatives to address current field use issues. For example, more lights on existing grass fields and a natural grass field expansion plan.

Volumes of information are available on the internet regarding this topic. However, I am limiting links and information on this page to:
1. Academic research or pieces that directly cite academic research. (Focus on Penn State Materials since this was the program who presented in front of the township)

2. Research through the Township Manager
a. In most cases this is the opinion of our hired consultant

3. Utilize current information. The so called 3rd generation of turf fields have made major advances in safety. It’s important to consider only the latest information available.

4. The costs for Synthetic fields include *concept plan proposed vs. Township natural Grass fields with native soils. The costs for fields are taken out of overall budget proposal. I support both lights and upgrades to existing facilities including additional parking using developer money. I do not support synthetic fields.
*amenities have been removed. This is just comparison of playing surfaces.

Much of the information you find during cursory web searches is often produced by companies trying to sell the products. Therefore it takes a little effort to find un-biased information.

Backgrounders
*Concept plan overview by Lower Macungie’s paid consultant. D’huy engineering. The township incurred 4,000.00 cost  to draft concept plan

Was the option to build additional grass fields on township property considered by staff as a less expensive alternative to synthetic?

  • “No” – Twp. Manager

Specs:

What is the specific brand proposed:

  • This is typically part of the design process during which the surface is chosen by the Township. Commonly several different manufacturers and models will be reviewed for both quality and cost.” – Twp. Manager

Proposed infill:

  • Infill for turf fields is most commonly crumb rubber mixed with silica.  There are alternatives made from cork and other products but they have not been on the market for very long, have very few US installations, and have been found in some cases to have a lower level of performance.  Colors and mixes vary between manufacturers.  Field Turf offers an infill product made from ground up sneakers that comes at a premium cost.  There is also a coconut husk product recently installed in Maryland (http://towncourier.com/city-hits-home-run-with-organic-infill-synthetic-turf/).  There isn’t much performance data available yet on these alternative products.  Both come at a premium cost and could easily be bid as alternates on your project.” – Twp. Manager

Rendering: See Below

Lifecycle Costs & Benefits
Q- Initial costs to install Synthetic Field vs. Natural Grass (according to Penn State research)

  • Natural Grass with native soil 2.25-5.25 per square ft. (Will get actual cost for LMT to install a new grass field cost/square ft.)

Q- Q- Initial costs to install Synthetic Field vs. Natural Grass (according to concept plan and LMT public works)

  • Synthetic: 850,000 for two fields according to proposal. Includes lining for multiple sports.
  • Natural Grass: Cost to install one natural grass field is 10,000 dollars according to LMT public works department.

Q – Annual Maintenance Costs (according to sports turf managers association)

  • Synthetic Infill 6,000 per year in materials and 375 labor hours per year.  (need proposal specific information) *sports managers association
  • Natural Grass – According to LMT public works The yearly costs to maintain a typical field (180’ x 360’ =64,800 sq. ft.) would be around. $ 3,275.00 depending on the number of *cuts required.” This is based on yearly average of 35 cuts

Q- Replacement costs in 10-15 years for Synthetic Field  (10-15 years is the stated timeframe in the concept plan presentation – Link above)

  • Replacement costs for two fields is 800,000-900,000 in today’s dollars. (Twp. Manager) Add 3% inflation = 1,142,328.92 (amount * (1 + inflation rate)^number years)

Q- Revenue projections over 10 year lifespan

  • According to township manager this is a board decision and has not been taken into account yet. “   This will be a policy established by the Board of Commissioners.” – Twp. Manager

Q-Will final draft of field use agreement apply to Quarry same as any other township field?

  • Currently LMYA gets usage of Community center gym rent free. Will this same policy apply to Quarry field? – Draft in progress

Health/Injury issues Grass vs. Turf
Q- Long Term Health Risks
coming soon

Q- Does synthetic field increase injury risks vs. grass?

  • Answer – Concern risk is Low with correct footware but Medium to High with incorrect footware.

Bullet Points: (source Pennstate center for sports surface research) 

  • Most critical is right shoe for the surface. The correct shoe on synthetic turf dramatically reduces risk. Without the right foot ware injuries on turf fields increase dramatically.
  • Compared to grass fields not maintained to optimal conditions or very dry, synthetic fields can actually reduce risk of serious injuries although incidents of minor injuries (mainly abrasions) increase.

Q- Does synthetic field increase risk of staph infections? Answer – Concern risk is Low.

Bullet Points: (source Pennstate center for sports surface research)

  • The sun acts as disinfectant.

Surface and Air Temperature issues related to Synthetic Turf.

Q – What are the health issues related to surface heat? Answer – Concern risk is High.

Bullet Points: (source Pennstate center for sports surface research)

  • Children are less able to adapt to changes in Temperature – Higher potential for heat related injury.
  • In central Pennsylvania surface temperatures have been measured up to 175 degrees on synthetic fields measured on days when the surrounding air temperature is 79 degrees.
  • Generally synthetic turf registers 35 to 55 degrees hotter than natural grass.
  • Techniques to reduce surface temperature on hot days add labor and cost considerations.

9-19-14-lower-mac-jpg

 

Unknowns/future policy decisions to be made by the board if project moves forward:

What is the best and worse case scenarios for completion of the Sauerkraut punch through? (Completion of this planned project will allow for access to quarry park from a signalized intersection.)

  • Township engineer has been working with all parties methodically through each step and would not want to guess on a completion date. – Twp. Manager

 

What is the projected revenue stream that will be used to fund replacement costs? Are user fees being considered?

  • This will be a policy established by the Board of Commissioners. – Twp. Manager

Will LMYA be able to utilize the fields for free similar to the arrangement for the community center?

  • This will be a policy established by the Board of Commissioners. –  Twp. Manager