Queen of Peace and North Arlington high schools’ sports teams will be sharing a home at least for one season.
If you have driven on River Road in Lyndhurst and North Arlington and seen all the work that has been going on the last few months, the result will be a new sports complex at the Bergen County‘s Riverside Park at the border of the two boroughs.
The Vikings and Golden Griffins soccer and football teams will be playing this season at the new fields after meeting with Bergen County Parks Director Ronald Kistner a couple of weeks ago.
The programs will have access to the multi-use field for both football and soccer that will have a 600-seat capacity. There will also be a baseball and softball field.
In some ways it will be a welcome home for the Queen of Peace football team.
The Golden Griffins had their home football games for more than three decades at the other part of Riverside Park down River Road in Lyndhurst that included the current Breslin Field.
The county also has been renovating Breslin Field that now includes new turf field for the baseball field.
Queen of Peace Athletic Director Ed Abromaitis said that they were not counting on the county football field for the 2013 fall season.
“To be honest we did not think it was going to be ready,” said Abromaitis. “They told us in the spring that they did not think it would be done.”
But at the meeting with Kistner, the county parks director promised that the field would be ready for the first game, a September 14 tilt that will see Queen of Peace football game hosting Manchester on Saturday afternoon.
“It looks good and Ron Kistner promised that it would be ready,” said Abromaitis.
For North Arlington head football coach Anthony Marck, he would have been happy to play at either the new county field or Rip Collins.
But Marck added that playing on a synthetic turf that it will help the district avoid a guessing game if there is a heavy rain that would postpone the game on the Rip Collins Field grass field.
“If we had bad weather, we would have to change the site and it (county park) would not be available,” said Marck about moving the game from Collins to Riverside County Park at the last minute if they were stuck with an unplayable Collins.
Marck added that the turf field will also suit his young, swift Vikings this season.
“We feel that we have some speed that we haven’t had in the past,” said Marck.
Abromaitis said that they while the county will be moving in the new stands soon, locker rooms will not be ready. The teams will probably have tents like Rip Collins Field had last season after Hurricane Sandy damaged the field.
Both North Arlington and Queen of Peace football teams will play each other again this season, on November 1 with the Vikings as the home team. Last season, the Vikings defeated the Golden Griffins at Belleville High School.
For North Arlington, this might just be a one-year plan. The borough voters approved a $3.4 million referendum to renovate Rip Collins Field on River Road that will include a multi-purpose synthetic field, a six-lane track, storage, restrooms and concession stand buildings.
The field and renovations are expected to be completed for the start of the 2014 fall season.
After Queen of Peace left the county park football field in the 1990s, they moved over to Rip Collins Field.
But for the last couple of years the Golden Griffins have been calling the Harrison High School field home with Abromaitis saying it was a financial reason for not playing at Rip Collins.
According to Abromaitis as of last week, it still was not decided whether both the baseball and softball fields will be ready for the spring 2014 season with regular games starting April 2014.