North Boulevard Fields Generate Local Hullabaloo

By Christopher Lotito

90 Foot Field Would Back North Boulevard, Patire

Google Maps Image of North Boulevard Site
Following recent discussions regarding the closure of a Pequannock elementary school, Pequannock residents have much to say about tentative plans for new fields at North Boulevard school, funded by municipal tax-dollars.

The current plan would include an adult scale baseball field, with the backstop located feet away from the residential dead-end on Patire Pl.  Residents became concerned when brush clearing work was performed this past week on municipal and Board of Education property without notification or public hearing.  While lights are not included in tentative field plans, residents express concerns that they may be added later.

SVG source of the baseball field diagram. Crea...Pequannock News was able to view the plans at the Board of Education offices late Friday afternoon, but has decided to honor a request not to make photos of those plans public until after they are released at a Board of Education Meeting Monday evening.  The following documents are currently available for consideration:

Concerns and Support from a Variety of Sources

While many residents have raised concerns ranging from the legality of utilizing municipal Open Space funding to pay for work completed on Board of Education property to the need for additional ball fields when the Whitehall demographics report issued by the Board of Education this Winter states a projected decrease of 200 school age children in Pequannock by 2016, the concerns of those living closest to the fields are decidedly practical.  Those backing North Boulevard School are concerned about the noise levels, especially when the backstop will be located so close to their homes, rather than on the school side of the property.  Stray balls are also a concern as with a 90' field, foul balls could impact homes and parked cars in the adjacent neighborhood, while typical runs would be more likely to strike the school as they'd head directly for the asphalt pedestrian path which leads around the building.  Those same neighbors are also concerned about the impact that the noise and 20' plus safety nets might have on their home values in a time when values are already historically low.

Patire Pl neighbor, Jacquie Stivala, sums up her thoughts on the fields topic in the following quote, "Take care of the fields you already have and prove to me there's a need before you build another." - Jacquie Stivala

Other residents stand in support of the fields, citing a need for modern facilities to help local children achieve scholarships and careers in sports.  Yet more question the need to place the field at this location when other locations which are actually owned by the Township of Pequannock exist at Whipple Court, not to mention existing fields which they say might be rehabilitated or upgraded.

Meeting to be Held Monday

A Board of Education Meeting Monday night may not decide anything, but is likely to be a bell-weather of public opinion in this case; an opinion which both the Board of Education and Pequannock's governing body will weigh along with their mission to represent the will of the people, in their future decisions.

Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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