Members from the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) teamed up to renovate the Charles Mastik Memorial Field July 11-12 in Little Ferry, N.J. The community field had not been maintained well and was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Now, the new field will host the New Jersey Little League State Championship July 23-28.
Jeff Ware, volunteer district administrator for the N.J. District 6 Little League, planned the new field with NJLCA Executive Director Jody Shilan.
The association went above and beyond Ware’s expectations. Among other tasks, landscape contractors weeded, installed and operated skid-steers, rollers and backhoes to shape and grade the infield.
The NJLCA installed a new warning track in the outfield, stripped all the grass out of the infield, regraded it and installed new sod in just two days, according to Ware.
Rich Goldstein, NJLCA treasurer and owner of Oakland, N.J.-based Green Meadows Landscaping, had a heavy hand in coordinating the project.
“I am really happy with the way it came out,” Goldstein says. “These kids should be just thrilled to death.”
Shilan says the infield was like concrete and the grade was so high it was not able to drain properly. Also, the pitchers mound and bases did not meet Little League regulations.
“We were just asked to do some repairs, but we took it 10 steps further,” Goldstein says. “We stepped up to the plate and renovated the infield.”
This renovation would’ve cost the District 6 Little League $20,000, Shilan estimated, but 12 landscape companies, nine suppliers and other partners donated time for free.
“We try to volunteer for a project every year,” Goldstein says. “It’s a good thing for contractors to give back to the community they work in.”
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the field July 23 where Shilan will present the new field to the mayor of Little Ferry. The event coincides with opening night of the state tournament.
Product suppliers for the project include American Hose & Hydraulics, Bobcat of North Jersey, DeBuck’s Sod Farm, Downes Tree Service/Forest Products, Gamka /Husqvarna, John Deere Landscapes, Holganix, Shemin Nurseries and Turfside supply.
Sports Field Solutions, an athletic field design/build company, consulted on the project.