A group of parents and children Monday night urged the Verona Township Council to support the township's potential switch from pesticide lawn care to all-organic turf care for Veteran’s Field.
A representative addressing the council about the Safe Playing Field Act and said organic turf care is completely safe to children and leads to healthier, thicker grass, which grows deep roots and, as a result, is more resilient to heavy use and less prone to insect problems.
Towns and boards of education all over the country are switching to safer organic lawn care and the price has dropped dramatically, allowing more cost-effective options than ever.
Since it is still early in the process, the council did not put a timetable on when a decision could be made or when any plan would be put into effect.
Verona’s Environmental Commission has advocated this type of turf care versus pesticide care as being safe for children using the treated fields and safe for the environment around the fields.
In addition to the litany of environmental issues raised by pesticide treatment of public fields, pesticides have been linked to juvenile health issues, including headaches and nausea in mild cases or asthma, brain damage and even developmental defects in extreme cases.
In other news:
• The township unanimously approved the awarding of two contracts for construction in Verona.
The first contract was awarded to J.C. Contracting Inc. of Bloomfield, for a $248,582 contract, was for construction of the Bloomfield Avenue Streetscape Phase VII project.
The second contract was awarded to Stanziale Construction of Bloomfield, for $290,300, was for reconstruction of Otsego Road, Highland Terrace and Sunset Avenue Sections III and IV.
• The township unveiled their new website with a presentation by Verona-based Muse Marketing Group.
Muse representatives said they analyzed use of the old site and built the new one to be clearer and more user friendly.
The new site, veronanj.org, was designed with up-to-the-minute notification in mind and can be used on any computer or mobile device. The town even has an extra server in case the primary one in the library goes down or loses power in a storm, like the ice storm last October.
Both the mayor and council members agreed building confidence in the new site is crucial.
“That is our next challenge,” said Mayor Frank Sapienza.
• The council requested residents with newly planted shade trees near their homes remember to water the trees.
The DPW is having difficulty making rounds to all the young trees because of their other responsibilities.
“They are an investment,” said Sapienza. “Those are our tax dollars at work.”