A large turnout of sports enthusiasts Monday perhaps helped convince the New Milford Town Council to approve $19,000 in funding for testing of two sports fields at New Milford High School to determine if artificial turf could be installed.

"There are a lot of benefits to artificial turf fields," said councilman Joe Failla, who also serves on the turf subcommittee.

"The high school is a tremendous asset to the town," he added, "and once we are past the initial study, I will support installation of the artificial turf as it will enhance that asset."

Proponents for synthetic turf at the high school have been vocal in previous appearances before both the Board of Education and Town Council.

They want the synthetic turf installed on the school's main field field and one practice field.

"I urge you to go forward with this study," said Larry Badaracco, the Green Wave football coach. "We have a beautiful campus and beautiful fields. This will enhance them."

The $19,000 could come from the town's Waste Management landfill settlement fund, which was designated in the 1990s for open-space preservation and other projects that would enhance the quality of life in New Milford.

The consulting firm Milone & MacBroom will conduct the study.

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