CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Members of The Chappaqua Turf Committee met with the New Castle Town Board Tuesday night to brief officials on the progress of bringing a turf field to Chappaqua and how they might be able to help out.
TCTC member Jonathan David said the town and school will mutually benefit from the installation of the new turf field due to its durability. David said the town-owned fields that are currently used for youth athletic programs are falling apart from overuse and games cannot be played during inclement weather.
“Because the town programs benefit as the school programs do, over time, as we make progress, we may come back to you and say ‘you know what? It would be nice if the town could help out in this way or that way,’" David said. "Maybe not directly with the turf, but maybe other amenities or helping out improving other fields around town."
Council member John Buckley agreed the new field would be helpful with the town's youth sport programs, but said there is not much the town could o aside from helping to spread awareness.
"You have to understand us, in what the school district has gone through financially, the town is laying off, cutting back services, we’re parallel with them," Buckley said.
The Chappaqua Board of Education voted in 2011 to accept TCTC's gift of a turf field at Horace Greeley High School if it could raise the money without using any district funds. According to David, the non-profit organization has currently raised more than $700,000 in donations from 175 families, which is more than halfway to its $1.2 million goal to get the field town.
The committee initially hoped to raise the necessary money by February in order to have the field ready in the fall, however, TCTC is now aiming for a spring 2013 opening.
"It wasn’t just like this is something that’s nice to have," David said. "This is something we need to have if you’re going to have successful youth athletic programs in Chappaqua. Because right now we’re strained."
David said he prefers to play on grass, as his kids do, but the town could not have prepared for the popularity of youth athletics when the fields were constructed generations ago.
Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter agreed that the town fields are in poor condition, but said athletic and recreation projects are not priorities during tough economic times.
"I think it’s terrific you’re working as hard as you are, so come back to us," said Carpenter. "Right now we don’t have the money to write you a check, unfortunately."