Rendering of Hub Stine proposal. See Maria's original (large)
image post here, along with explanations.
Nothing in Plainfield is ever simple. Sigh.
Take the developing fuss over the proposed changes at Hub Stine Field (see the proposed plan posted by Maria and linked to above).
Everyone has questions. Everyone has criticisms (evidently including the Board of Ed, which had approved the project months ago). Everyone has suggestions.
I must admit I am not naturally inclined to be disposed toward artificial turf, and was opposed to a half-baked proposal that was floated before the City Council by the Rec Division a year or two ago for a city field (money was part of the issue there).
However, I have rethought the question in the light of watching how the soccer fields between Stelle Avenue and Randolph Road in the county's Cedar Brook Park have become dirt patches -- either dust bowls when dry, or muddy lakes that makes the fields unusable for a week or more after a rainfall. Artificial turf seems like a natural solution in cases of overplay driven by community demand.
Hub Stine does not appear to suffer from overplaying (far as I know), but the plan appears to contemplate even more intense use of this community resource -- for which artificial turf may be a defensible proposal.
Maria is to be thanked by everyone for doing the homework to find the trail of Board involvement with (and approval of) the project, as well as providing a link to the audio of the recent Board meeting at which the project was discussed (see here).
Neither the Board of Ed nor the Administration come off looking too good in the matter.
How could the glorious Grand Slammers not even remember that they had discussed -- and voted on -- the project previously? And where were all their questions then?
As for the Administration, is seems to boil down to a question of communication. Was the Board not kept in the loop? If the scope changed, didn't anyone on the Board review it before plans moved along?
The plan that Maria has posted is a considerable reworking of the existing fields. And although things seem quite 'tight', the complex includes enough track and field improvements to make Plainfield an attractive location for larger-scale competitions. That wouldn't be a bad thing, by my lights.
But there are many stakeholders besides the Grand Slammers and they seem not to have been taken into account. And now, at the last minute before work is to begin, they raise their voices and questions.
And the Board is ... surprised?
Let the conversation, late as it is, continue.
I am impressed by the detail of the plan -- not least because it finally shows a little sensitivity to the cultural shift taking place in Plainfield by including soccer fields. (Unless you've been living under a rock, you will have noticed that on weekends soccer engages more people than any other sports activity in Plainfield -- literally hundreds. About time it got some 'official' attention.)
We'll survive this one, even if some stakeholders are incovenienced. Even if it doesn't make the District's administration look like great communicators.
Even if the vaunted Grand Slammers show themselves to be at heart a wiffle-ball team.
- Maria's Blog --
- "Audio File: Discussion of the Hub Stine project" -- With timeline notations.