WILDWOOD — The city is seeking funding from the Cape May County Open Space Trust Fund for a multimillion-dollar project to convert Maxwell Field to artificial turf.
In March, City Commissioners authorized the mayor to apply for as much as $2.5 million for the conversion, which will allow each area of the recreation complex to be used for multiple events.
Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said moving from grass to artificial turf will allow Maxwell Field, at 400 Park Blvd., to host more events and save the city the costs of maintaining grass.
“When you have grass, it limits you to the amount of games you can have on a field,” he said. “We just think there’s a lot of opportunity to bring in a lot of additional sports events to this field area.”
Currently, Maxwell Field hosts the Wildwood High School football team and four Pop Warner football teams, among other sporting events.
Vineland-based Triad Associates is the firm engaged by the city to write the application, according to a statement from the city.
The project, if approved, would allow for different field overlays to accommodate different sports year-round, Todd Noon, a senior associate at Triad, said in the city’s statement.
The Open Space Trust Fund is paid for through a 1-cent tax per $100 of assessed property value and, in 2013, was expanded from just protecting farm land and open space to funding projects related to historic preservation and parks and recreation.
Troiano said the city will save money if the field is converted to turf, including $460,000 over 20 years in water costs alone.
“It will save on fertilizer,” he said. “It will save on seeding. It will save on labor. It will save on water.”
Applications are evaluated by the county’s Open Space Review Board, which can decline the application or recommend the project be approved by the county Board of Freeholders.