basie-field1-051110Heavy equipment regraded the soil inside the running track recently in preparation for artificial turf. (Click to enlarge)


If you haven’t noticed, Count Basie Field is looking a lot more like the old Yankee Stadium and a lot less like the friendly home of Red Bank’s slew of sports teams.

“It’s a big dirt pile,” said Christine Ballard, borough engineer.

The good news is that it won’t be that way for too long, Ballard tells redbankgreen. And, unlike the Yankees’ replacement ballpark, Red Bank’s upgrade isn’t going to cost upwards of $1 billion.

Getting the artificial turf laid down at the borough’s biggest park is costing a pretty penny, though.

basie-field2-051110A recent view of the work from the stadium. (Click to enlarge)

Funded through two grants, plus some chipping-in from the borough and Red Bank Catholic, the synthetic turf upgrade at Basie Fields comes to a total of $878,000, Ballard said. Most of it — $537,500 — is covered by two grants.

Obtaining those prized state and county dollars was really what held up the project, which had been in discussion for at least a year, Ballard said.

The borough, after receiving the funds, went out to bid and awarded a contract in March to the Freehold company, Precision Construction, whose workers are manning the cranes and heavy machinery out there now.

Workers now are in the process of getting the pipes and drainage system installed, she said. Once the infrastructure is done, the turf will be laid down.

Ballard said Precision anticipates being done with the work by the end of July, just in time for football season.

The finished fields are expected to withstand a beating better than grass. And with RBC’s Caseys, Pop Warner and the borough rec department all using them, the grass definitely took a beating, Ballard said. Adding rain to the equation made it even worse, she said.

“The problem is it becomes a mud pit,” she said. “There is no way we can keep going on it.”

With synthetic turf, there’s a drainage system beneath the fields that makes for a much tougher and sustainable surface, she said.