At this month’s regular board of commissioners’ meeting, the board approved of an $1,600 expense that will go toward the township’s purchase of a $9,600 aerator machine.
The $8,000 balance was actually from a donation pooled together by several youth sports organizations of Upper Moreland.
“This machine … is vital to the safety to the playing conditions and life of the fields,” Pat Stasio, Township Parks and Recreation director, said at the Dec. 5 full board meeting.
According to Stasio, an aerator either uses spikes or another mechanized instrument to gouge small or large holes in the soil for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the turf. The holes would allow better nutrient flow for the grass’ roots systems, enabling softer playing conditions.
The members of the Upper Moreland youth organizations that made up the informal group, met with Stasio in the spring, asking him how they could help maintain township-owned playing fields.
Such members include, but may not be limited to:
- St. David CYO
- Willow Grove Bears
- Upper Moreland Lacrosse
- Upper Moreland Soccer
- Upper Moreland Little League
“Upper Moreland Township does a terrific job of maintaining our fields, given the amount of use they get,” Joe Patterson, athletic director for St. David CYO, said in a correspondence. “That is particularly apparent when our local teams travel to other municipalities.”
Patterson is a life-long participant in various roles in both St. David CYO and several township youth sports organizations.
From this first-hand experience, Patterson said that the lack of field space within the township gives little chance for the fields to rest, making an aerator a valuable resource for the maintenance of the fields.
“Parks & Rec has had on their wish list for a number of years the purchase of an aerator to help maintain the fields,” Patterson said. “The township has had no funds available for the purchase of this type of capital equipment.”
In a previous Patch article dated to the June 27 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting, when the donation intentions were first announced, the township previously rented an aerator. According to the Patch article, such rentals would cost $1,700 to $2,200 at least twice a year (in the spring and fall).
The youth sports groups took it upon themselves to raise $8,000 throughout the summer and fall to help offset the costs of a township-purchased aerator.
With the substantial donation, Stasio was successfully able to make the case for the approval of $1,600 out of the existing Parks and Recreation budget to purchase the $9,600 aerator machine.
“This is money that the Board Of Commissioners will not need to ask the taxpayers for,” Patterson said. “It shows both the commitment of our local volunteers to our community and the Township's commitment to support them.”