MORE FAUX TURF SLATED FOR BASIE FIELDS

The additional fields would be striped primarily for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, unlike the existing football and soccer field, above. Below, a visual provided by officials of the plan last year. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sixteen months after the debut of an artificial-turf football field at Count Basie Fields, Red Bank officials are planning to ramp up the facility’s ongoing modernization this year.

A final vote by the borough council on a $1.6 million bond ordinance scheduled for next week is expected to clear the way for the $2.1 million project, which would add a synthetic-turf little league/softball field and a baseball field overlain with a multiuse field marked for lacrosse, field hockey and soccer play.

The fields, all under existing lights, would complement the $900,000 stadium football and soccer field that debuted in late 2010. Three grass fields for baseball at the facility’s southern end would remain as natural turf.

When completed, by the end of the year or early next year, “all the fields with lights will have artificial turf, to extend the hours they can be utilized,” borough Engineer Christine Ballard, of T&M Associates, tells redbankgreen.

Ballard said a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces Grant and a $171,000 Community Development Block Grant have already been secured, the second primarily to cover the cost of a Americans With Disability-compliant path and a restrooms.

Town officials hope to hear this summer on two additional grants: a $558,000 one from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and a $60,000 grant from Baseball America, a private sector source.

By then, construction is expected to be underway.

Ballard said she was unsure if Red Bank Catholic, which contributed to the stadium field replacement as a long-term tenant for football practice and home games, was contributing to this phase of the project. Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels could not be reached for comment.

Here’s the bond ordinance: 2012-4