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Delay in Artificial Turf Field Plan at Historic Zabriskie-Schedler House Due to Soil Contamination

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, a controversial plan to construct an artificial turf field at the historic Zabriskie-Schedler House in Ridgewood has been put on indefinite hold after soil tests revealed contamination. The soil, used to build a noise reduction berm, was found to contain lead, mercury, and two probable carcinogens: Benz(a)Anthracene and Benz(a)pyrene.

The discovery was made following soil tests conducted on May 3 by Ridgewood’s environmental consultant, Matrix New World Engineering. The results, shared during the village council work session on June 5, showed that Benz(a)pyrene levels exceeded DEP safety standards. Despite reassurances from Matrix engineer Tom DeMichele that there was no immediate cause for alarm, Ridgewood officials decided to take action.

Immediate Response and Next Steps

In response to the contamination, the council adopted a $350,000 bond issue to expand soil testing across the entire seven-acre site and to prepare for any remediation required by the DEP. Village Manager Keith Kazmark has requested the State Historic Preservation Office to pause its application for the artificial turf field until the contamination is fully investigated and resolved.

“This is going to push back the application,” Kazmark said, without speculating on the duration. “Right now, I want to get the drillers on the property, get the results, and consult with the DEP.”

Historical Significance and Controversy

The Zabriskie-Schedler farmhouse, dating back to 1825, is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits on the largest undeveloped land in Ridgewood. The proposal to build an athletic field has been driven by Mayor Paul Vagianos and a majority of the village council, citing a need for more playing fields in Ridgewood. They view the Zabriskie-Schedler tract as the last best hope to meet this need.

However, opponents argue that artificial grass should not be placed on a historic site potentially linked to the American Revolution. They point to environmental concerns and the newly discovered soil contamination as reasons to reconsider the project.

Environmental and Historical Concerns

Studies, including one published by the National Institutes of Health, have shown that synthetic turf can contain semi-volatile organic chemicals and heavy metals, which may leach into the environment, particularly when the turf is removed and discarded.

“I’m happy that finally the right thing is being done,” said resident Jackie Hone. “But I’m disappointed that the mayor and the village council majority didn’t do this willingly when residents asked. It’s only now, after residents had to turn to the DEP to get them to mandate testing, that they are doing this.”

Supporters of the project emphasize the historical significance of the property due to its proximity to the Old Paramus Church, a Revolutionary War site. They argue that without solid proof of soldiers fighting on the Zabriskie-Schedler property, it should not be considered hallowed ground.

Future Uncertain

For now, all plans are on hold as the village investigates the extent of the soil contamination. The outcome of this investigation will determine the future of the proposed artificial turf field and the preservation of the historic Zabriskie-Schedler House.

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31 thoughts on “Delay in Artificial Turf Field Plan at Historic Zabriskie-Schedler House Due to Soil Contamination

  1. Throw another $350,000 log on the fire. Evan thinks bonded money is free.

    1. If they had done the sensible thing and built the field at Glen, all of Ridgewood’s future MLB and MLS superstars would be well on their way to glory already, sans the millions of wasted dollars, statewide embarrassment and shame, and pending litigation.

      So dumb.

      1. and there is still time. This contaminated property probably will be held up with red tape or caution tape, for years. Go with Glen. It is ready for development, Ridgewood just needs to think a little out of the box now and again.

        1. Massive unused green space from East Glen to the school…once the site of a tire playground. Minor-impact tree removal and hundreds of parking spots already on-site, unlike Schedler Woods.

          Strange. I wonder why our Mayor doesn’t want a field there that would solve this issue.

  2. Hopefully they test Habernickel before they give away 340,000 for a pavilion that will be used by a business

  3. And how do they know how much is going to cost already? Something is sneaky

  4. It is great that the soil test has been expanded to include other areas of the property where the illegal dumping occured. Once all of the tests are back, the NJDEP will likely provide a very prescriptive plan with clear instructions for Ridgewood to follow as it is a concern for Matrix to talk about lower levels and no concern. Also, as we’ve read previously, there are residents with private wells who are probably very concerned about contamination and it begs the question about artificial turf being a toxic product, so how does the council really think that they would get away with an act of gross negligence in light of being informed about possible groundwater contamination. I would think NJDEP would want to be notified as well.

  5. Spend a fortune to clean this mess up then contaminate it with artificial turf. Brilliant.

  6. When you have a Village Engineer riding around work sites in a mega Harley Davidson motorcycle and most VOR staff/committees running side businesses as an extension of Village Hall…
    #followthemoney #corruption

    1. Seriously this sounds insane. Side businesses

  7. Will the Village Manger investigate now?

    1. The Whistle bower won’t do anything , unless Pee Wee tells him to.. He’s corrupt as they come

      1. He needs to be investigated

  8. If they aren’t incompetent, they are corrupt. Take action!

  9. When are they coming to do more testing at the site.

  10. All I can say is everyone keep your eyes and ears open watching listen what they do. Judge for yourself because there’s a lot of bullshit going on. They’ve been doing illegal tactics for a long time and some of us feel that The attorney general needs to step in, overlook things for three months or so, they will come up with some interesting things in their investigation. That definitely should be some big sweeping going on clean house way too many people in positions throughout the village that have no business being there, it’s amazing that Village Of Ridgewood is a civil service town and no one is being tested, they are just handing out positions , no documented info. I’m sorry if you look at the village in the past 40 years, it’s been running terrible, Where are the improvements what vehicles, equipment, big deal, recording personnel, the inmates are running The town And 80% of them know zip.

    1. Whatever is going on, things just don’t add up. There should be some sort of investigation instead of “well Joe down the hall told me x”, which is how things usually are done. Vag and his pals Whino, Weitz and Perron wanted this project to be their ace in the hole and they have been dribbling with glee over their anticipated victory being easy because they figured no one was really paying attention. However, this turned out not to be the case and what they didn’t realize in the age old game of Power versus force, is that force may not always be the best approach. Instead they underestimated the resourceful residents and as a result, they have produced one botched outcome after another, but it didn’t come without a price to taxpayers all because of really bad decisions that this council, except for Lorraine. Reynolds, made time and time again. Given more time, they will keep up their routine, but I think people have taken off the rose colored glasses by now and even those that actually liked this bunch is over it by now and the sweet smell of victory is overshadowed by overwhelming defeat.

  11. Vagianos appreciates when people are concise and to the point, so Fugazy is the only word to describe not only this group of councilpersons but their ridiculous antics by trying to hoodwink the public with their flashes of light. The word fugazi has two main meanings. On the one hand, fugazi can mean fake, in which case it is used to refer to something inauthentic. On the other hand, it is used to refer to a messed up situation, one that has deteriorated quickly and is messed up beyond recognition.

  12. The shits been going on for a long time. This is nothing new. We have to remember when things were going on many years ago. You didn’t have social media, council meetings, weren’t aired. Everything went to the Ridgewood news and they controlled Ridgewood news the record, the real estate group, the board of ed,The women’s club, And so on.

  13. How can the attorney general get involved. This is very serious mis use of money and also dangerous situations

    1. call and write. if their office gets flooded with calls and emails, they will realize theres a problem.

  14. Exactly that’s why they would get him involved. Why wouldn’t they .they will conduct an investigation follow the money just like the Biden administration misuse of funds Follow all the money. of course you’re gonna see thumbs down from some people. Just like the investment crew that wants to open up a gay bar in the c b d.

  15. All we can say is blah blah blah from village Hall .

  16. “The well-being of our communities depends on access to safe and uncontaminated water,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Once again, our message is clear: We will pursue repayment and repair when corporate actions injure our natural resources. No one is above the law when environmental damages are at stake.”

    Please consider filiing a complaint with the Attorney General, Matthew J. Platkin

  17. Time for this shit show to come to an end! All of this for an unnecessary ballfield, in the wrong location, and for all the wrong reasons. Just improve the scheduling and utilization of what we have.
    I NEVER see these fields busy. The law of unintended consequences is emerging. This will cost MILLLIONS now that the testing is being done to remediate. Back off, leave things be, and move on. The problem will be completely solved. How stupid can these people be?

    1. That is the thing, the fields are not busy. It is all one big smoke show and there are also scheduling issues not due to lack of fields, but the powers that be in Ridgewood, our illustrious Mayor Paul Vagianos and Siobahn Whinograd, Evan Weitz and Deputy Mayor Pam Perron all want everyone to think there is an issue because they made promises to the sports people. With this being held up for who knows how long, they will have to buckle down and start getting creative.

  18. It is really outrageous that our Mayor and majority of the Village Council would take lightly something like contaminated soil. Now we have Mercury and Lead and two other dangerous sounding products and it is an oh we made a mistake in evaluating it the first time and don’t worry we will fix it? Do we trust this group with our lives, the safety and health of our children. Playing on a highway is out of character but now this. Lord knows how much this will even take to sort out and fix. So sad.

  19. This project has been nothing but ongoing drama and more often than not:

    Soap operatic
    clown show
    A joke

    -This group did nothing right.
    -Follow the rules laid out by a state agencies
    -provide oversight over staff-engineering, village clerk, others as necessary

    The mayor, in my opinion, knew that the soil could be contaminated and did nothing.
    The band has stopped playing and the ship is sinking.

  20. Comments keep questioning the obtuse members of the Council and occasionally the Village Manager is mentioned. Due to our “esteemed” (what a joke!) Mayor’s secrecy, how many are actually aware that our new Village Mayor’s qualifications consists mainly of being our Mayor’s Campaign Manager?

    1. Of course it is not purely a coincidence that Kazmark ended up here being a former mayor with mutual buddies shared with Vagianos plus his cousin is Wellinghorse who is or was affiliated with the Ridgewood zoning board so theres that. perhaps a little nepotism but frankly at this point he is in over his head. he probably thought this was going to be a picnic, instead he is playing the role of Julie McCoy, cruise director while Vagianos, Winograd, weitz, perron rearrange deck chairs on the titanic. Essentially they are all as useful as tits on a bull.

  21. Dear Lord does Winograd ever shut up!!

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