By Alex Mitsiopoulos
MIDDLETOWN – Lacrosse and field hockey players can rejoice as the new $1.8 million multisport synthetic turf facility at Croydon Hall has opened to the public. This new field will be able to accommodate a variety of youth and adult sports, as opposed to the grass field that preceded it.
Croydon Hall’s new facility, which was made possible through an agreement between Middletown Township and the public school district, was based on a similar field at Nut Swamp School that was constructed in 2013. Construction for the Croydon Hall facility began last fall.
The new synthetic turf field is a noticeable upgrade both functionally and aesthetically.
“The grass itself wasn’t in the best condition and the playing field itself wasn’t 100 percent level,” said Middletown Township recreation director Janet Dellett, of Middletown. “We leveled the field and then we also added the turf to allow for a multisport facility.”
Prior to the renovation the field was not properly leveled and it was also just shy of regulation size for a football field.
Additionally, the field is now large enough to hold regulation lacrosse games, as well as football games, according to Dellett. The Croydon Hall field is also the home field for the Middletown Athletic Club Eagles football program.
“Right now lacrosse is booming in Middletown and the trouble that we have is that we don’t have enough lacrosse fields, so this now gives us another area to use,” she said.
In Middletown the primary fields that accommodate lacrosse are the football fields at both Middletown High School North and South, as well as the multisport facility at Nut Swamp School. But those locations are obviously highly coveted and scheduling time on them can be difficult.
The new facility at Croydon Hall will help alleviate some of this congestion as it is an additional playing area for multiple sports and has an improved lighting system that is being used on the field.
This lighting will allow for lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer games to be played at night, further expanding scheduling times.
Though the multisport facility at Croydon Hall is brand new and many athletes have yet to try it, those who have tried it have been really excited about it, said Dellett.
And, according to Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, the new field will be “an invaluable resource for the community.”
The $1.8 million field upgrade is offset by a $201,000 Monmouth County Open Space Grant awarded to the township. The project is funded through user fees, according to Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.
This article was first published in the June 8-June 15, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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