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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."

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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