By Chris Rotolo |
LITTLE SILVER – When the boys and girls of summer take the field this season, they’ll do so on revitalized borough ball fields.
According to Doug Glassmacher, Little Silver’s director of recreation, a $250,000 parks and recreation grant awarded annually by Monmouth County has helped borough officials refurbish baseball and softball diamonds at Sickles Field and Borough and Library Fields.
“The fencing was old, the dugouts and bleachers needed upgrades, and the drainage of the fields was a big issue that needed to be addressed,” Glassmacher said. “These are fields that hadn’t been upgraded in more than 30 years. So it was our goal to make some long-lasting improvements to them.”
Sickles Field is located next to Sickles Market, at 200 Rumson Road. The Little Silver Borough and Library Fields can be found behind CVS and Borough Hall, at 480 Prospect Ave.
Glassmacher confirmed that the aged and rusted galvanized fencing surrounding these Little Silver facilities has been replaced with new black vinyl coated materials.
New dugouts with covers are now in place, while a newly purchased high-quality clay mixture has been used to enhance the condition of the infield.
State-of-the-art drainage systems have also been installed at the fields to combat the underground streams beneath Sickles Field and Borough and Library Fields.
Glassmacher said that Challenger Field, accessiblefrom Willow Drive, has also been equipped with a new drainage mechanism to keep over flow from the nearby wetlands at bay.
“The recreation improvements have been a long time coming,” Little Silver Mayor Robert C. Neff Jr. said. “We have a really dedicated recreation committee in town, who brought their concerns to us, so we looked for opportunities. That’s when Doug and our Borough Administrator Kim Jungfer went to work and got us the grants from the county. And with that we’ve been able to make some really significant upgrades.”
For Glassmacher, the most significant of those upgrades are the new concrete pathways leading into the dugouts and nearby bleachers, making the fields more accessible and comfortable for special needs fans and athletes.
“The handicap accessible pathways were something we were really pushing for. We have such a large special needs population in our area, and all over the county. So this was a very necessary upgrade, and one we were going to push for even if we didn’t get this grant.”
Glassmacher said the grant award was due much in part to the formation of a master plan by the recreation committee – a document produced by Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Wall Township – which allowed the borough to take inventory of its athletic fields and recreational facilities.
The planning document also makes suggestions on upgrades, which the recreation director says gives the borough’s grant requests more credence in the eyes of the county.
“The planning document does provide us a little bit of a wish list in terms of upgrades, so each year we apply for more grants we can reference the master plan, which gives the applications more credibility. And we plan on applying for them every year moving forward. We may not be awarded each year, but the master plan displays a clear vision of what funding would accomplish.”
The article was first published in the May 10-17, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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