In the midst of the pandemic, residents of Glen Ridge had already been pushed to the brink. But many weren't ready for what what would happened next.
Bulk trash pickup was delayed.
As of Saturday morning, the remains of Ikea Svrtlsnjrmanfrup desks, old weight lifting benches and lax bounce backs were still littering the south end like Busch light cans below a Sussex county tree stand.
While the papers have not been signed, it appears that Glen Ridge will be the new home of a state of the art athletic complex featuring a 6,500 seat stadium and the largest high school scoreboard in America.
It is a move sure to divide the town - many are excited at the prospect of actual legitimate sports facilities in the town, while others are terrified at what it may bring to the quaint borough.
A Little Known Provision for Federal Aid and an Amazingly Lucky Fit
Expected to be signed on Friday, the plans came about in less than 36 hours after town councilman April Solof was reading through the provisions of the recent $2 trillion federal aid package.
Hidden away on page 4,001, was an extremely narrowly written clause that was inserted by a Houston area Congressman with hopes to build a state of the art football stadium in a small town in his district. The package allowed for a single athletic complex in the country to be funded at a cost of $39m - but was written explicitly for his town. Little did he know that Glen Ridge was also a match, and that they had an eagle eyed councilwoman.
The funding was only available to towns with between 7,300 - 7,800 residents, located within 12 miles of one of the top 5 populated cities in America, whose current athletic fields have no artificial turf and "turn to mud with less than 1/4" of rain" and whose town council "would rather be eaten alive by rats than go through another townwide turf referendum". The councilwoman read this and quickly submitted for the funding - just minutes ahead of the Texas Congressman.
An Amazing Facility - 42' Scoreboard, Organic Turf & Community Center
The complex will be named Bottle King Park at Hurrell Field, and will include:
A 125 foot tall replica gas lamp towering over the south end zone.
In seat food delivery from Fitzgeralds, Just Sandwiches or the Ridgewood Avenue School Cafeteria.
A 42 foot scoreboard, with a 180 decible leaf blower horn that will sound each time GR scores, as well as on the hour 24 times per day when games are not in session.
A 3 level parking garage modeled after the parking lot in the Glen Ridge arcade. The lot will hold a total of 6 cars, none of which can actually fit between the painted lines.
No environmental consideration was overlooked for the stadium, which also offers:
6,500 heated naughahyde seats, made from the pelts of 100% free range, grass fed naughas.
A turf field made of synthetic fibers created by artisinal craftsman who were fed a 100% organic diet and let out of their cages daily. Instead of rubber pellets, the field will be softened by "Beyond Turf" plant based infill.
While construction is expected to be finished by June 30th, opening day is pegged for the expected end of quarantine - September 1st, 2021.
Seating in the stadium will be divided by north side / south side residents at the 50 yard line. This will allow north siders to sit together and talk about the wonders of Forest avenue and make fun of south siders, while south siders can talk about their easy walk to the train and laugh at north siders.
Facilities for More than Just Sports
While the sports facilities are getting the headlines, the complex will include facilities for other activities Glen Ridge residents are truly passionate about.
The largest of these areas will be the "GR Facebook Lounge", where people can go to complain about stupid shit on the town Facebook page (dedicated to the Lincoln Street Leaf debate of 2018), and ask if anyone knows the name of a good plumber for the 43rd time this year.
The "Scholarship Room" will allow hopeful parents of athletically inclined 3 and 4 year olds to discuss their plans to have their children go to college for free.
Borough Gives 2 Flexible Options for Residents to Pay
While 95% of the stadium will be covered by Federal Aid, the remaining 5% of the $39 million must be paid by local taxpayers before December 31st. Understanding that a small minority of residents feel their taxes are too high, the borough has created 2 flexible payment options for residents, allowing them to either:
1) Pay $395 per month via Venmo to GR-BigAssStadium22 2) Volunteer one weekend per month on the Glen Ridge Slate Sidewalk Leveling Crew (GRSSLC). Note that the GRSSLC is overseen by the Glen Ridge Committee on Judging Everything (GRCJE). The GRCJE is one of the largest committees in town and is 100% self appointed.
You can watch the virtual bill signing ceremony live on Facebook Friday at 4am. (stay safe out there people!)