Proposed Bethlehem synthetic field draws controversy

Posted at: 01/16/2013 6:00 PM
Updated at: 01/17/2013 12:51 PM
By: WNYT Staff

BETHLEHEM - Bethlehem residents are mulling over multi-million-dollar proposals for school improvements -- a debate over what is needed and what's not for students and the community.

One proposal would fix a long-standing drainage problem on the football field and modernize other sports facilities and equipment at a cost of $20 million.

The other proposal, which is generating some controversy, would replace the current grass football field with synthetic turf and widen the track from six to eight lanes at a cost of just over $3 million.

"It would give the students a chance to use a turf field without regard to the inclement weather and would give the community another resource. So I think it's a great idea. I hope the school board goes forward with it," said Jim Kelly, a Bethlehem resident.

"Seems like they could have a pretty nice football field by passing proposition No. 1, which would create a new grass field with new drainage and I believe new lights. So I think they can have a pretty nice situation out there with proposition No. 1 for $20 million, which I support," said Jeff Brown, a parent.

Brown said he would like to see the money go toward staff and programs to offset budget cuts.

But school officials said both are bond proposals which are separate from their budget.