Letter to the Editor- Responds to ‘Concerned’ about Brookwood
Dear Editor and “anonymous Concerned about Brookwood 2.0 author”,
It is always a little disheartening when people refuse to sign their name to a letter to the Editor. It is even more disappointing when people run to the press without first asking questions. I will try my best to further explain the proposed project and address your items of concern. It would be wonderful to do it in person but I have no idea who you are as you have hidden yourself thereby reducing the seriousness of your concerns. Stepping out front with your named signed is the first step in constructive dialogue.
If you ever let me know who you are I would invite you to the next meeting. We have had several robust discussions around what the community may want to do coming from all sides.
Let me agree with you by acknowledging that Soccer and Football lines do have different dimensions. If I knew who you were I could show you the proposed architectural design, including the permanently imbedded soccer lines that clearly fit. Literally thousands of fields are designed in this manner.
You state that bands would be discouraged to practice on the field. Quite the contrary. It is our hope that marching band competitions and of course practice is held as much as possible. You see, the lines are not painted; they are actually a full blade of turf grass that is colored and injected into the field mat prior to installation. You can’t wear off the color. Effective, long lasting, and always perfect and straight.
Again, one call to me and I could have answered your concern. You are right, they don’t last forever but Alma College just replaced a first generation turf field after 25 years. When the turf wears out in 15-20 years I would happily be a part of the next effort if I am alive. The good news is the field will never have to be excavated again, ever.
You speak with great concern of digging up the filed to pour a permanent concrete base with drainage. It is actually a crushed aggregate of varying sizes. You (I assume you mean to speak for the taxpayer) also state that you have purchased equipment to maintain Brookwood. I agree whole heartedly and also agree that artificial turf takes specialized equipment and maintenance.
Turf also requires no water, no fertilizer, no mowing and therefore no gas. We would also have about 70% less annual maintenance cost.
This would allow for more maintenance dollars to be put toward the other fields. It makes sense economically, environmentally and reduces injury by always providing a consistent footing. The reality is that the current field at some point in the near future will have to be excavated, a new crown installed and drainage removed and upgraded.
Currently there is no crown and the field does not drain. I am not sure there is much else I can say to your next item regarding the Rocket Football program having to pay to play on the field. It is my understanding that they have always paid a small amount, I believe $100 per game and I suppose that would continue. They do keep ticket sales but I am not sure if you have determined if this is fair to the taxpayer.
I probably didn’t, and I apologize for not addressing, every concern you have but my name is signed and contact information can be found on all literature and on Facebook under Brookwood 2.0.
If you signed your name I would have called you immediately and I urge you to just take a few minutes so I can at a minimum help you understand the thought behind the project. Yes, it is a huge number. A number that can be greatly reduced by in kind work on the project.
I would ask you to logically consider, that because of this upgrade, four families with a total of 10 children opt to come to Clare to be a part of soccer, band, or track in supplementation to education and being part of a great community.
If we agree on nothing I believe we can agree on that.
So maybe four more homes are sold or at a minimum, 10 new students from nearby areas come to Clare. Input we have received from schools across the state say it will be a significant number. Gaining 10 students for 10 years more than pays for the field and track upgrades and that would be great but their funds would not be used for Brookwood 2.0.
This project is being donewithout taxpayer funds. Yes, the field needs new drainage and grass now.
That would have to be done at taxpayer expense and depending on what was done could run from $75,000 to over $200,000 depending on what was found during the dig. But I digress; those 10 new students and the funds gained by them being here would drive revenue for new buses, computers, building maintenance, teachers, gym improvements, etc.
Those funds don’t go to pay for the track, the field or digging up the old field to lay new sod which you propose.
You see, it’s as much a point of pride as it could be a revenue builder. Clare has always been a town that did just a little bit better because of our desire to do the most with what we have.
You can look at things paid for with tax dollars and without such as the new school gym, new library, our parks, the parks and recreation program, little league fields, Brookwood, Imagination Gateway and too many other projects and programs to mention.
They all have one thing in common; we didn’t need any of it and there was never a good time to do it. My opinion is Clare is better because of all of it.
You said it yourself, “This is not the time to spend money on a proposal such as this as the taxpayers have already put forth tax money towards the Brookwood Complex.”
Supporting Brookwood 2.0 insures that taxpayers do not. Your suggestions for improvement and repair guarantee they do. Over and Over.
If not now, when? If not us, who?