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Clarence turf battle on hold

  Although the Clarence School Board is "nowhere near" ready to make a decision on artificial turf for the high school playing fields, Superintendent Thomas Coseo recently said the issue will start moving front and center during either the Nov. 19 or Dec. 10 board meetings.

   "We owe it to them to at least start discussing it," Coseo said, referring to the coaches and sports boosters lobbying to replace the school's grass fields with artificial turf.

   Supporters asked the board at its Sept. 11 meeting to schedule a public referendum on the issue. The board took no action, other than agreeing to study the request.

   Varsity football coach Tom Goddard and Michael Swan, president of the football boosters, also proposed an all-sports complex that would accommodate a variety of sports programs, including baseball, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse.

   They estimate converting three fields and adding lights at two would cost less than $3 million.

   But talking with Coseo recently, it sounded like supporters will face a few hurdles.

   "We haven't even made it through our current capital project," Coseo said. "And certainly
you have to look at the district's educational mission ... the impact on taxes."

   --- Niki Cervantes

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