Edison School Multipurpose Fields Project

SEPTEMBER 23 PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE

Please be advised of the public health notice distributed today by the Health Department, regarding an attendee of the September 20 Edison Fields public input meeting testing positive for COVID. The Town strongly encourages anyone who attended the meeting to follow the public health guidelines outlined in the notice, and reach out to the Health Department with any questions.



Background

At the June 15, 2021 Town Council meeting, the Council voted to authorize Mayor Brindle to sign a Letter of Intent ("LOI") to explore a shared service agreement with the Westfield Board of Education for a proposed multipurpose fields project at Edison Intermediate School. 


Community Involvement and Feedback to Date

  • June 15: Edison Multi-purpose Fields conceptual plan presented at Town Council
  • June 15: Dedicated email channel enabled for input & feedback
  • Late June/Early July: Informal, in-person neighborhood feedback (meetings, door-to-door)
  • July 14: Formal input and feedback session #1 at Edison School
  • July 21: Formal input and feedback session #2 at Edison School
  • August 10: Commitment made at Town Council meeting to scale back the plan; public comment
  • August 17: Recreation Commission/Edison Neighbors Advisory Group meeting #1
  • September 13: Recreation Commission meeting with public comment
  • September 14: Town Council meeting with public comment
  • September 15: Recreation Commission/Edison Neighbors Advisory Group meeting #2
  • September 20: Formal input & feedback session #3 at Edison School


Revised Conceptual Plan: Presented September 20

View the full presentation from the September 20 public input meeting.


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The revised plan covers approximately 60% of the surface area (approximately 250k square feet), and will include:

● One natural grass baseball field (not lit)

● Leaves approximately 40% of the space in natural grass (equivalent to field size)

● Two artificial turf, lit, multi-purpose fields (NFHS compliant)

● One artificial turf baseball field (NFHS compliant)

● Prefabricated restroom facilities (similar to recent addition at Memorial Park)

The revised cost estimate is approximately $9MM (50% of initial plan).


Benefits

Providing new fields was one of the top recommendations that came out of the Town’s Strategic Parks Plan -- a publicly-driven initiative which provided Westfield with a holistic, long-term road map for optimizing its parks, recreation opportunities, and open spaces and was adopted by the Town Council in January 2020. 

While multiple projects were identified as opportunities in the Parks Plan, the Recreation Commission Parks & Fields Committee proposed the Edison School Multipurpose Fields Project as the top priority. It offers the greatest and most immediate additional capacity for the community and can be dedicated exclusively for Westfield teams and residents since it is not a Green Acres facility, unlike nearly all of the Town-owned municipal parks. By completing the Edison project first, the community gains immediate, expanded capacity that would benefit the largest number of potential user groups, while also offering the least disruption to existing fields during construction.

The Edison School property is owned by the Board of Education, and the Letter of Intent has provided the initial framework for the shared service agreement, which states the Town shall pay $1 per year for 30 years to lease the property, and will bear responsibility for the financing, design, construction, and maintenance of the facility in cooperation with the Board of Education.

Currently, the Edison School fields are used almost exclusively by Edison School and Westfield High School for a variety of activities, including band, drill team, and practices for some Westfield High School sports teams. Only Westfield High School baseball games and select track and field event competitions can be held on the existing fields. The proposed project will accommodate and enhance the existing school utilization while adding significant new fields capacity for use by a wide range of user groups in Town.


Steering Committee

The Edison School Multipurpose Fields Project Steering Committee was formed in February 2020 to work with a consultant, Spiezle Architectural Group, which was hired through a public bidding process, to assist with the design of a potential project. The committee is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Peggy Oster - President of the Board of Education (through December 31, 2020)
  • Amy Root - President of the Board of Education (January 2021 - present)
  • Councilman Scott Katz - Town Council liaison to the Recreation Commission
  • Gary Fox - Recreation Commission Chair (through Dec. 31, 2020)
  • Jennifer Gilman - Recreation Commission Chair (January 1, 2021 - present)
  • Mike Bielen - Board of Education member and Chair of the Board Facilities Committee
  • Brad Rothenberg - Recreation Commission member and Chair of the Park & Fields Committee (through December 31, 2020)
  • Russ Howell - Recreation Commission member and Chair of the Park & Fields Committee (January 2021 - present)
  • Dana Sullivan - School Business Administrator
  • Jim Gildea - Westfield Town Administrator
  • Don Bogardus - Westfield Recreation Director
  • Advisors - School district major users:
    1. Sandy Mamary - School Athletic Director
    2. Matt Bolton - Edison School Principal
    3. Chris Vitale - Westfield High School Band Director


Anticipated Cost

The estimated cost of the revised plan is $9MM, approximately half that of the initial proposal. Due to the Town’s legal and financial flexibility with capital projects and bonding capacity, the financing of the entire project will be administered by the Town. It is anticipated that revenues from the recently adopted PILOT agreement from the Westfield Crossing redevelopment project will be used to service the annual debt. Additionally, a capital campaign seeking grants, sponsorships, and sports league contributions will commence once the final concept is approved after a public input process.


Next Steps: October/November/December 2021

  • Elected officials from BoE and Town Council to meet to align on next steps
  • Recreation Commission & Neighbor Advisory Group to meet each month 
  • Recreation Commission to meet with user groups
  • Spiezle to deliver Parking Assessment (target date: December 1); incorporate findings into Neighbor
  • Advisory Group dialogue

Feedback continues to be accepted at edisonfields@westfieldnj.gov.