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Little Ferry Little League's Field of Dreams
By Gail E. Woolcott, Director of Operations New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association

Jody Shilan, executive director of NJLCA and Tom Barillo, Barillo Landscaping, direct an employee from Kindergan Landscaping as he scrapes away old turf. Rich Goldstein of Green Meadows Landscaping tills the field before grading.

Volunteers adjust the newly laid sod as Joe Bolognese (education director of RVETS) looks on at Charles Mastik Memorial Field in Little Ferry, N.J.
Photos courtesy of NJLCA

In July, members of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association came together to renovate the Charles Mastik Memorial Field in Little Ferry, N.J., which was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy, two years ago. Jeff Ware, volunteer district administrator for the NJ District 6 Little League, sent a letter to NJLCA asking if there was anything the association could do to help repair the field.

Ware explained that the township was hosting the New Jersey 9-10-year-old Little League State Championships the week of July 21 and the field was in complete disrepair. NJLCA executive director Jody Shilan called Ware back the next day and said that the NJLCA couldn't just do minor repairs, but they could install a whole new field.

Association director of operations, Gail Woolcott, immediately began reaching out to the NJLCA membership asking for material donations and volunteers. The first ones to raise their hands and volunteer were the combined board of directors, including president Tom Canete, vice president Nelson Lee and treasurer Rich Goldstein, along with directors Tom Barillo, Dan Kindergan, and Luis Rosero. Upon receiving the call, Downes Tree Service donated topsoil, DeBucks Sod Farm provided Sod and Al D.'s Landscaping and Tree performed tree work.

In just a few days, volunteers trimmed back all of the trees along the outfield fence, stripped the entire infield and installed new clay and topsoil. They then re-graded the field to Little League specifications and renovated the warning track. Lastly, they sodded the infield, installed brand new bases, a pitcher's mound and home plate.

''The NJLCA whipped up a baseball field in two days. It was pretty amazing to see,'' said Ware. When asked why the NJLCA spearheaded the project, Canete responded: ''Throughout our 47-year history, the NJLCA, its members have provided millions of dollars in volunteer work to local communities and will continue to do so.''

''In addition to the importance of giving back to the community, these projects raise awareness to our association and its members,'' Barillo said.

The renovation would have cost the league an estimated $20,000, but 15 landscape companies, 12 suppliers and other partners donated their time, equipment and materials to complete the project at no cost.

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June 27, 2019, 2:03 am PDT

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