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All Sports Moving Forward on Dobrow Complex Expansion

The youth sports organization will soon begin fundraising efforts for new fields at the former site of Walsh Pool.

Fair Lawn All Sports presented a plan Tuesday to expand the Dobrow sports complex into the site of the former Walsh Pool, and in the coming months will explore ways to bear the costs of transferring their plan to reality.

“We’re always in a crunch for field space, and always looking for new areas and new places to play because we have so many kids in the program,” All Sports president Jeff Mazzola said.

The Council had already been moving forward with the relocation of a modular skate park, which has been in storage since 2011, to a site over the filled-in pool. But plans for the rest of the two-acre site were never finalized.

Mayor John Cosgrove and Council Member Kurt Peluso met with All Sports and the Fair Lawn Football Association to explore ways the groups might be able to utilize the space surrounding the skate park, prompting a design that includes a baseball field as well as a soccer field that can be used as a practice site for virtually any of the borough’s outdoor sports programs.

“We know that we don’t have the money to do this right now,” Cosgrove said at the Tuesday night meeting, where the plans were unveiled. “But we felt since they are almost the tenants or occupants of the facility, that we would like to know their idea of what it would look like if this was some kind of master plan. And we know tonight we can’t tell you if it will take a year or five years or ten years based on the budget constraints right now, but we know what All Sports would like to do in the future.”

While the council was receptive to the plan, they agreed that the borough’s current budget would not be able to bear the costs of the construction, estimated now at around $1 million. All Sports is awaiting exact projections of the cost, pending surveys and soil borings at the site.

“I’m fine with the concept,” said Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski, “with the clear understanding that at this point in time we’re not committing any dollars because we don’t have the dollars to commit.”

There is the possibility of finding Open Space grants to cover part of the cost of the project, but All Sports says they plan to finance it through their own fundraising. They hope to form a committee to search for grants and solicit private donations.

The skate park, which was funded in part through a county grant that requires installation by July 1, will move forward as the first phase of the development of the former pool into a new sports complex. The remainder of the design presented by All Sports would likely be a long-term project moving forward in phases.

“I think we’ll wind up doing it as funds become available so we keep the ball rolling on it. This is so early in the game that we don’t really have a formalized plan of target dates, which we will probably have in the near future,” Mazzola told Patch.

The plan is not final, and one concern raised by the Council is the design’s relocation of the playground to a spot adjacent to the skate park. The last attempt at a skate park was located near a playground, and removed in part due to the complaints of parents of young children patronizing it.

But details aside, Tuesday night likely marked the beginning of a long-term effort to finance and realize plans for a sizable expansion of the sports complex at Dobrow. “We have to start some place,” Mazzola said. “This is the starting point of trying to get this going.”

The mayor agreed: “I think we’re at the first step of a long journey.”

Phil Jonas January 10, 2013 at 07:52 PM
taxes will be raised again this year for pet projects. what new fees will be introduced by the boro manager and clowncil majority?
Devin McGinley January 10, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Just a clarification: Fair Lawn All Sports has said they intend to seek private funding and grants, not money from the Council, for the project.
No Skate Park January 10, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Devin. Will that private funding and grants be enough to pay for regular maintenance & repairs ...will it cover the salary of employees.... the cost of replacement when equipment becomes aged and worn?
Phil Jonas January 10, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Devin, All Sports is not a person, rather a group of people. To whom did you speak? What is the source of your statement?
Dorothy Kilgallen January 11, 2013 at 12:51 PM
I would be curious to see the all sports coffers and their financial records. Where can we see a copy of that?
Peggy Acres January 11, 2013 at 03:00 PM
I cant seem to blow it up to see it clearer - but I don't see an area for the spray park originally discussed. Very disappointing!!
Me January 11, 2013 at 03:34 PM
No more basketball court but a 4th baseball field. This is not All-Sports. It's Some-Sports. HIYO!
Parks n rec January 11, 2013 at 04:02 PM
i am never against additional parks but how many baseball fields do we really need. we got a sports complex with no basketball court? like peg mentioned where is the spray park, wouldnt that make more sense than another baseball field? im all for keeping kids active but All sports and FL football assiociation is getting out of control. you read storey like the glen rock coach who was stealing money from the organization. im not saying anything like that goes on but i do think All sports should be more open with their numbers. how much are they given from our tax dollars? do kids have to pay to play? how much do they make on concessions and where does that money go? if tax money goes to All Sports we deserve to see their numbers and where all the money is spent. im not opposed to parks for kids, actaully the opposite, but the amount of baseball fields is a bit ridiculous. also if youve been to in Fl football assiociation game lately the field and lighting is nicer than most high school fields, when i was a kid playing on grass and none designer uniforms worked jsut fine.
Parks n rec January 11, 2013 at 04:10 PM
also an issue i have is we spend all this time and money on youth sports preparing these kids for higher levels and what happens? the real good ones go to bosco or other private schools and FLHS sports lose a lot of their talented athletes and our teams struggle. i dont really blame the kids or no if anything can be done but it just seems like a losing situation for FLHS. we are spending time and money on these kids and our high school doesnt benefit, bosco and others do.
Parks n rec January 11, 2013 at 04:15 PM
from previous patch article: "Samra and Strizak – both of whom came up through the Fair Lawn youth football system before moving on to star at national high school football powerhouse Don Bosco for the past four years – will embark on an exciting new journey next school year." dont you think FLHS football would have been a bit more competitive last few years with two 6'2" 250 lbs player who went through our youth programs?
Jane Lyle Diepeveen January 11, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Walsh Pool was a neighborhood project started after WWII by Helda Walsh and the Coumbia Heights Association. The borough allocated the land but the neighborhood held fundraisers and provided the labor to turn Synder's Pond into a bathing beach. in 1962 it was renamed in honor of is founder. The Columbia Terrace Pool Association ran the pool until the Borough took it over in 1970s. It is appropriate that this area should have some neighborhood facility and that the neighbors should have input to the future use. A spray pool will not replace the bathng beach but it would be a good summer neighborhood facility and would take up little room. The All Sports Association should not have sole jurisdiction over the use of the site.
Deleted because of harassment January 12, 2013 at 07:54 PM
I think it's rather ironic that some of the same politicians that used the building of the Community Center without public input as part of their campaign for offie are now removing a locally built and used amenity to create more giveaways for a politically connected group. The All-Sports do not own the complex; the taxpayers do. So why is it OK to let them plan out the use of the land while taking away the one amenity that was built by the neighborhood, wanted by the neighborhood, and when in use actually made money for the town as part of the shared services with other towns? Walsh could have been used while Memorial was repaired and a new plan to deal with the flooding put through; instead, it's being filled in, without a like replacement, to make a limited special interest investment look slightly less foolish than it was. At the least, there should be public input and a place for the public, not just the All-Sports, to have a say in what goes on in a public park.
Show me the Money! January 13, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Why is All Sports still hiding their books? Is something illegal or unethical going on? What exactly is it they don't want us to know?
Ezra P. January 13, 2013 at 03:43 PM
I have wondered about the exact relationship between all-sports, FLFA and Fair Lawn. Fliers from FLFA, All Sports, and the rec department are distributed at the public schools and All Sports registration information is displayed at the Fire House. Would any other private entity be allowed to direct advertise to every student in town? There are various dance schools, other social organizations, etc. At least the rec department is a public entity so it makes sense. But the others?
Jenne January 13, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Great. The All-Sports-All-The-Time Cabal gets another baseball field -- and will they ask for more money from the town now-- they already get tax money AND the town has to do cleanup of the trash they leave behind-- and we lose another playground for YET ANOTHER BASEBALL DIAMOND. This town is owned lock stock and barrel by competitive youth sports, isn't it?
Jenne January 13, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Not only that, but the new baseball field will apparently take the place of the Basketball court (wasn't in great shape anyway) AND the existing playground, destroy all the very nice trees around the playground, and basically make this area useless to anyone who isn't a competitive sports coach or runner. Was there ANY public discussion about destroying the playground in order to give it over to a private entity? This week is the first I heard anything about the loss of the CHILDREN'S space which had been maintained in the previous plan. If the city can't afford it, why take away an existing amenity? Were the users of the playground interfering with the coaches' and sports parents' access to parking or something?
Jenne January 14, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Apparently there is a public meeting Tuesday Night, Jan 15, at 7:30. If you think those other than competitive sports organizations in Fair Lawn should have some input in the use of the site, you may want to turn up and say something.
Guzman January 25, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Well I agree with most of the comments on here and my son has been in the fair lawn all sports baseball and Fl football association since the first grade and to be honest with you we got so frustrated the fall of his 8th grade year because he was so frustrated because fl football was losing for the pass 5 yrs. we ended up going to a pop Warner team and his team went to the championship ad won first place in a weekend bowl. The fair lawn football association representatives need to change this program, beginning with the coaches. Also my son will be going to HS in the fall of 2013 and we will not be attending FLHS he's going to Bergen catholic because they have a better school and sports program. Our HS is over crowded and I truly believe a lot of kids use aunts, uncles, grandma, step parents address to attend our schools. This is an issue that needs to be corrected.
Ed A January 26, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Seems to me that based on the comments made by concerned citizens of Fair Lawn, the mayor and council should rethink this proposal by F.L.A.S. 1) Where and who is putting together the budget And will there be a public vote on this project. when all the costs are known. 2) Who will have use of this additional baseball & soccer field? Only those in F.L.A.S organized sports. 3) Did anyone consider the possible traffic hazard that might be caused by a foul ball or errent soccer ball that may fly out into Harristown road or Elm Ave 4) Why is F.L.A.S reluctant to open their books. 5) Was this really Helda Walsh intention for only a certain group have use of this area.

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