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Hilltop Field Upgrades Planned, Agreement Reached

Youth football league to share facilities with high school teams.

After more than a year of planning and negotiations, the Hopatcong Warriors will be able to call the Wayne L. Threlkeld Hilltop Sports Complex their home.

The youth football league reached an agreement with the Hopatcong Board of Education at last week's meeting to share the field for all sports activities.

The field, currently used for the high school's football practices and soccer games, will now allow the Warriors to use the field for its youth football program.

In exchange for the field license, the Warriors will be responsible for completing a number of improvements on the fields.

The football league agreed to expand field No. 1 by 80 feet in width for the entire length of the field, and replace all of the fencing.

Warriors General Trustee Dave Barella said the Warriors are also considering adding a fourth field.

A new field house will be built next to the Hopatcong High School storage facility that will be used as both a concession stand and a storage unit.

The team also agreed to widen the access road from Lakeside Boulevard to the top of the Hilltop Complex, mill the entire parking lot and stripe for parking, and install safety guard rails aound the whole property.

Barella said new lighting around field will also be put on field one.

The renovations will solely rely on volunteers, donations, and funding from the Chris Anderson Memorial Field Foundation. 

Although all of the improvements will be made in phases over the next few years, Barella said some of the work has already begun.

He said Rich Hoer, of Lakeside Construction, has already started to work on the parking lot.

Barella said that while not everything will be done by next season, the team is hoping to start practice by the summer.

"It's our hope that we will be able to get the whole program up there by Aug. 1 next year," Barella said. "We're hoping to have the lights in place, and the concession and storage building in place."

Hopatcong Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano referred to the plan as a "win-win," as it will benefit multiple groups in the borough.

"The town gets more use of the existing fields, the Warriors get a place they can call home, and the school board gets needed improvements that we can't afford at this point in time," Maranzano said.

"It demonstrates the power when you combine recreational interests with school interests, and you combine your resources," he said. "It becomes a very powerful vehicle for accomplishing something. With the spirit of volunteerism in town and support for athletics, this is clearly a win-win for both the school and the Warriors."

BeachBum November 27, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Revitalize lower River Styx as well as update Lakeside Blvd - a town needs "business" to survive, NOT THIS!
JOE HOPATCONGITE November 27, 2012 at 06:49 AM
I totally agree with that.They need to stop it with this type of stuff.This used to be a nice wooded area in Hopatcong,and I used to hike there as a kid.Now there is several sports fields on this hill and they are now going to destroy more wildlife as they "expand" the fields,"widen" roads and build concession stands and storage units.It's sad, but in this town wooded areas are just looked at as a place to pave or to turn into sports fields,even if there are already around a dozen of them.Soon the sports fields will take up more land than businesses or residences in this town. How about using these resources for something else,like fixing the rest of the town that's around the sports fields? Also if the BOE used its resources for educating kids in areas besides physical education,then maybe local reporters wouldn't write things like "licenese" or "various road improvements will be renovated on". Or at least learn how to proofread.
speedyspeed November 27, 2012 at 07:15 AM
Okay, I have to ask...Why??? How many fields does our town need? We have a dozen baseball fields and a half dozen soccer fields and a handful of football fields. "The renovations will solely rely on volunteers, donations, and funding from the Chris Anderson Memorial Field Foundation. Although all of the improvements will be made in phases over the next few years, Barella said some of the work has already begun." And then when they abandon this project halfway through we will be stuck with the eyesore that they've already begun by cutting down a bunch of trees up at the civic center...
jazzman November 27, 2012 at 12:13 PM
dont forget your looking at two piles of cash....the boro and the board of education
Dee November 27, 2012 at 01:13 PM
The kids need this. This is a wonderful idea and keeps a lot of kids busy and exhausted. The Warriors seem to be kicked out of every field whether its a soccer field at hilltop they aren't allowed to use or the cranky man that lives by Nariticong that feels kids should be seen not heard who everyone seems to coward too. Any other person taking pictures of young cheerleaders would have been arrested. . I hope if all teams in town are allowed to use it they all help pay for it though. What a great start! Go Warriors !
Me22 November 27, 2012 at 01:52 PM
This I not about putting business in town, this is for the kids. Great job Warriors keep up the good work. Thanks for wanting to making the program better for the kids because after all it's all about the kids. Sports is what helps keep the kids out of trouble.
Peter James November 27, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Why was this even an issue, can the adult "kiddies" not play nice in the sandbox?
Chrissy November 27, 2012 at 03:40 PM
The funding is from the Chris Anderson Memorial Field Foundation (mentioned in the article above). The Warriors have been looking for a field to call their own for quite sometime. And the Chris Anderson Fund is for this purpose. The town is not paying for it. Yes, there are LOTS of fields in this town. But I must say, that section of land that is behind the Civic Center - (AKA - Senior Center) was just wasting away. It is a perfect place for the Warriors to go. When my kids were in soccer I hated trekking up that hill, the road leading to the fields are in horrible condition, and the parking lot is in horrible condition too. So, any improvements should be welcome! Why let all this field area go to waste? It is a much better decision than choosing a wooded, natural, untouched piece of land and make a whole new football field.
Chrissy November 27, 2012 at 03:43 PM
If you have ever been up there you will see there are already 2 fields up there. And a giant parking lot. No need to clear anymore trees. It just needs some minor renovations and it will be perfect for the Warriors.
Me22 November 27, 2012 at 04:41 PM
To all that have a problem with this Keep in mind that the boro and the BOE are not funding this project. These kids have all worked very hard along with parents to raise the money and have given a lot of time and effort to help fund this project. It's very sad that you have people that would give negative feed back for a program that has gone above and beyond for the kids. All the other sports programs have there own fields but football and cheer ,and now we have a place to call our own. HATS OFF TO THE FOOTBALL AND CHEER PROGRAM FOR A JOB WELL DONE.
The Watcher November 27, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I hope someone turned in this person for taking pictures of young cheerleaders. Is anyone considering that many of the students are lining up to go to other school systems for their education? That's even more taxpayer monies going to other districts. If it comes between keeping your child in a school system that has seriously outdated books and is ranked lower than Camden just because of a new field, or going to a school system that can prepare your student for one of those "ivy league" schools what would you choose? We may be left with a field and no students to enjoy it, but maybe we can rent it out to the other school systems.
Daniel Rodriguez November 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
A lot of you need to learn how to read before commenting the article stated the money was not coming from the town or schools. So go cry somewhere else!
Cliff Lundin November 27, 2012 at 05:43 PM
To the naysayers. 1) This is not taxpayer dollars. It was done to save taxpayer dollars. 2) This tract was formerly a golf course not woodlands. In the 70s it was proposed to be 1000 units of garden apartments. Many of us fought that proposal and arranged for the BOE to buy it for future educational and recreational use. 3) The remainder of the tract is still available for hiking and other uses. 4) The Borough has set aside more than 400 acres as permanent open space in the Natural Area Preserve (established when I was Mayor) and supplemented by recent Green Acre grants. (All at minimal cost to the taxpayer.). In sum: The agreement with the Warriors is a win-win for all.
Edubb November 27, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Football does not have any fields. They use 2 baseball fields and a soccer field. Cheerleaders are usually at the high school. A parent that has more than 1 kid in the program will usually have to get the kids in multiple fields. The single facilty with 3 or 4 fields will now allow the entire program to be in 1 location. Now that parent can go to 1 facility and be at ease knowing that they are nearby should a child get hurt or if practice ends early. They are taking an existing area and are making upgrades out of their own pocket through many contributions from residents and family and friends of Chris Anderson.
Hopeful November 27, 2012 at 06:35 PM
You must not have kids in the sports program?
speedyspeed November 27, 2012 at 06:37 PM
There IS already a football field at the civic center. There IS a football field at the high school. There are already 3 fields at the civic center, why not use portable goal posts and the soccer fields can double as football fields?
speedyspeed November 27, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Once upon a time that area was Hopatcong's cross country course. Now the runners have no place to call a home. Now they have to run around the roads of Hopatcong dodging cars because our town has no sidewalks.
Edubb November 27, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Speedy, THESE are the fields that the warriors are going to upgrade to acccomodate the entire program at 1 facility. These fields all belong to the high school and until the agreement was made nothing could be done on the fields. The soccer fields are fully used by soccer and softball and the field will be nothing but dirt and mud with all the usage. As Mr Lundin stated below its a win-win.
Edubb November 27, 2012 at 08:29 PM
See above ^^^ more than 400 acres are available and the tract is still available for hiking and other uses. The program is expanding 1 field by 80 feet on all 4 sides. None of your money is being used unless you donated to the Chris Anderson Fund.
Ron Willis November 27, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Hats off to the to all that are playing a proactive role in this worthwhile project. 1st and 10..... Hopatcong Warriors..... Nice!
Brian Garland November 28, 2012 at 02:41 AM
There is a Cross Country course. That is used by both the High School team and The Hopatcong Hawks youth team its the High Schools home Course it uses part of Hilltop. Use of Hilltop by the Warrior Program is a positive for this Community! There are still trails to hike ride your mountain bike, walk your dog!
speedyspeed November 28, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Was up at the course the other day looking to go for a run and do some hills, the place is a mess now. Trees cut down with no rhyme or reason and left just laying across the trails. Between the new fields and solar farm, there is maybe a 1/4 mile of xc course left. You can't even access the agony loop anymore and it's all overgrown and eroded. Judging by the way they're clearing the trees right now, the current expansion it will cut off access to the misery loop as well. When all is said and done, there won't be a xc course for the hawks and chiefs and they will be forced to practice on the roads.
Dee December 13, 2012 at 04:19 AM
This is a false statement. There is a cross country track. The boy scouts helped a another scout who chose the cross county track as his Eagle project. They spent hours cleaning the track, weeding, picking up garbage, and building a new bridge. Of course, this was before the hurricane so they will need to clean up more. There most certainly is a cross country track.
Dee December 13, 2012 at 04:21 AM
People have been busy helping families clean up from the storm. If you cant run the track, maybe you can start clearing it? If not, the boys will be back out there I am sure as soon as they can find the time.

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