There are three incumbents and three newcomers vying for four seats on the Joliet Township High School Board during the April 5th election and not everyone agrees on Silver Cross Field.
Incumbents Arlene Albert, Chet June and Jeff Pierson are hoping to keep their seats.
Newcomers Paige Stonich-Vanderhyden, Don "Duck" Dickinson and John G. Linehan are hoping for a win.
Before installing turf at each of the campuses, the district tried to work out a deal with the City of Joliet and the JackHammers to use the field but the negotiations stalled.
In February, Joliet Township High School Board approved about $3 million in contracts last week to ready the fields and install artificial turf and new tracks at Joliet Central and Joliet West high schools.
With the creation of two sports teams at both campuses, the board decided to install artificial turf at both schools. Last fall, Joliet Central Steelmen played at Joliet Park District's Memorial Stadium, but next season, the district is hoping both the Steelmen and the Tigers will be playing their first home football games on artificial turf .
Q: Now that the board has moved forward with its plans to put turf at both campuses, what is your stance on a partnership with the City of Joliet regarding using Silver Cross Field? How much are you willing to spend to let students play at the field?
LINEHAN: While I am not privy to any discussions that the board may have had on this issue and the budget details, I believe that with competent negotiations with city officials that a mutually favorable agreement can be struck. I also think that playing in such a fine facility would be beneficial to both our athletes and our fans.
JUNE: Actually, the board will be negotiating with the tenants of the Silver Cross Field, the Slammers, who I believe have a ten year lease with the City of Joliet. It's crazy for Joliet Central not to use the beautiful stadium that is right across the street and is now not used almost 9 months out of the year.
As far as spending, again, it is ridiculous for the board to pay $25 million for a new stadium when there is a 6,000 seat venue sitting on the other side of Eastern Avenue from JTC. The board is working with our administration and the Slammers to work out a deal which makes sense to us and the taxpayers who support JTHS.
STONICH-VANDERHYDEN: Because Silver Cross Field is conveniently located across the street from the Central campus, it would be an excellent opportunity to explore for our students to be able to play on a field in a facility that is currently under-utilized. The decision of how much to spend to let students play at the field could only be made after reviewing, analyzing and discussing all the associated variables.
ALBERT: I support continuing to explore the possibility of an intergovernmental agreement that would result in our students using the field. Before that happens there must be discussions about when and how it would be used, who is responsible for what and how much is a reasonable amount for that use.
DICKINSON: With the development of our new facilities at both campuses I don't see why we are going to spend the money to do this? Couldn't this money be put to good use in other areas?
PIERSON: I have always looked for opportunities for JTHS to enter into inter-governmental agreements with the City of Joliet and the Joliet Park District. Due to its proximity to the Central Campus and the uniqueness of the venue, I am in support of pursuing this agreement with the City of Joliet with respect to fiscal constraints.