The turnout was sparse but enthusiasm abounded Monday at the New Milford turf field construction committee's meeting in New Milford.

Resident input was sought by the committee about people's thoughts regarding playability on two fields being planned for artificial turf installation and lighting at New Milford High School.

NMHS' spring sports awards ceremony held at the same time could have affected turnout to Monday's meeting, yet some supporters of turf fields had emailed letters to committee members.

"We need lights on both fields," wrote Joe Wunderlich, "and artifical turf that is closest to natural grass would be preferred."

"I am a nationally rated women's lacrosse coach and I support this change," wrote New Milford native Connie Chapin. "As a taxpayer, I would like to compare maintenance cost on the present natural grass fields to the cost of artificial turf."

The committee will fashion a request for bids to install the new synthetic turf. The estimated cost is $3 to $4 million. Lighting could be added and improvements made to the high school track complex.

Kathy Rehaag, an NMHS band parent who also has two children who play sports, said she would like to see lighting on both fields

Band practice, which is currently held in the school parking lot, continues as late as 8 p.m. in the fall.

If the main field and adjacent practice field were to be turf, th eband could practive there, she conjecturd.

NMHS assistant field hockey coach Jennifer Wyslick also would like to have both fields lighted.

To get the best referees, she explained, night games are often required.

The youngest voice at the meeting was that of Ben Marano, an eighth-grade student at Schaghticoke Middle School.

"I play (ice) hockey so I don't use the fields at the high school," Ben said, "but a lot of my friends play on those fields and they say they want artificial turf. It's easier to move the ball around when playing soccer than on a natural grass field when the grass gets high."

The committee has targeted Aug. 3 to submit designs and specifications to the town for approval.

Bid requests would go out Sept. 4 and be due in Sept. 17.

A funding request would be submitted Sept. 18 by the committee to the Town Council and Board of Finance.

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352