When the Hazlet (N.J.) Youth Athletic League hosted football games on Steve Patterson Field there were a lot of comments from parents and visiting teams about the condition of the playing surface.
“The field was not in good shape and there was a lot of scrutiny from visiting coaches about us hosting games,” says Scott Goldsberry, football commissioner for the Hazlet Youth Athletic League. “We needed to do something to improve the safety of the playing surface and that is where Project EverGreen came to the rescue.”
In October 2016, Project EverGreen and green industry landscape contractors and suppliers, led by Performance Nutrition (division of LidoChem, Inc.) and Natural Green Lawn Care, came together to deliver a $20,000 renovation project that transformed the playing surface at Steve Patterson Field from a dust bowl to a source of community pride.
The renovation project included leveling and reseeding the playing surface to repair severe erosion damage and dead turfgrass that came as a result of a hot summer and extreme fall rains.
Goldsberry says the field is used nine months out of the year and is home to both the league’s fall tackle football team as well as its growing spring flag football league. In total, more than a 1,000 players, cheerleaders, coaches and parents use the field each year.
“The flag football league will be the first to play on the new field this spring and they are really excited to get out there,” says Goldsberry.
The renovated field is more than just a place for the Hazlet Hawks to play and practice; it is a source of connection for friends and families.
“Not only is the field safer and more aesthetically pleasing but it is a source of pride for parents and the community,” says Goldsberry. “It will provide a place for people to come together.”
The lack of connection was evident when the league had to play games at a local high school field due to the poor field conditions.
“Playing on the turf at the high school had a sterile feeling and there was no home field advantage,” says Goldsberry. “People just came to the field for the games and left. No one stuck around to socialize.”
Returning to a renovated Patterson Field will encourage parents, players and fans to come early and stay after games, and create a safe, enjoyable, family-first environment.
“Hazlet has a small town feel and we have a lot multi-generational families involved in the league,” says Goldsberry. “It will be great when grandparents come back to watch their grandchildren play and see what we have accomplished with the field.”