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posted: 8/15/2013 5:30 AM

Field turf in store for parts of Glen Ellyn's Newton Park

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Glenbard High School District 87 and Glen Ellyn Park District are looking to consolidate several intergovernmental agreements involving facility use into one and incorporate a key proposal: adding field turf to a portion of Newton Park.

The two governmental entities have proposed splitting the cost of adding synthetic turf to the upper field of the park district-owned Newton Park at 707 Fairview Ave., which would increase use of the field year-round by both park district and Glenbard West athletic programs, officials said.

The estimated $1 million cost to install turf at the upper field at Newton would be funded in part by annual District 87 field use fee contributions of $50,000, while the park district's costs would be partially offset by payments from the Golden Eagles youth football program and Lakers youth soccer program.

A master intergovernmental agreement has been proposed to streamline three existing agreements that govern Glenbard's use of Village Green Park, the park district's use of Memorial Field, and another agreement that covers joint use of other facilities.

The term of the deal is proposed to be 20 years.

Officials are looking to install turf as early as the spring of 2014.

It's unclear how much of Glenbard's contribution would come at one time, but a $50,000 annual payment isn't unusual: the school district has contributed $50,000 a year for the past five years to improve fields at Village Green, where Glenbard West baseball teams play.

The park district also is asking the school district to make an annual $18,000 contribution for a 10-year term to fund the installation of lights at the upper field of Newton Park. The park board previously directed district staff to research the possibility of putting lights there.

Newton Park's upper field, which has amenities such as bleachers, a scoreboard and press box -- is only currently used about 20 days a year by park district youth football programs because of maintenance costs that reach upward of $20,000 a year.

Last weekend, the park district hosted a two-day football jamboree on the grass field.

"The field was perfect when we started," said Dave Harris, the park district's executive director. "Now days later it's completely worn out in the middle, which is what it'll likely be for the season. We treat it very carefully and use it on a very limited basis."

The lower field at Newton is used by Glenbard West freshman football and park district youth football and lacrosse.

By adding field turf to the upper field, use could increase to more than 300 days a year, with Glenbard West football relocating there from the lower field, and the park district adding its youth sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and summer camps, Harris said.

The park district is also proposing to give Glenbard the exclusive use of Village Green Field 2 from March to June. As home to Glenbard West's varsity baseball team, the field isn't a "high school quality field," Harris said, because the outfield is used for football practice in the fall, and there isn't ever time to grow new grass.

The proposed agreement would allow Glenbard to make capital improvements to the field at its choosing.

Glenbard uses the park district's facilities 932 hours a year more than the park district uses Glenbard's facilities. That's why the school district has been making a $50,000 annual contribution to the park district, said Chris McClain, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for business services.

"We work very closely with the park district for our programs to support space constraints at Glenbard West. We wouldn't be able to effectively run programs there without the support from the park district," McClain said. "For us to construct facilities on our own, it would be millions of dollars. By partnering, we can be more efficient together."

Glenbard's $50,000 contribution, originally intended for Village Green, will stop until both sides structure the new master agreement.

The park district currently pays $20,000 a year for use of Memorial Field at Glenbard West, but that fee would be waived under the new agreement.

The park district also pays $7,500 a year for use of Glenbard South facilities, including the football field and auditorium.

Officials from both sides are putting together a draft agreement, which would be subject to approval from the park and school boards.

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