GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Krissy McGinty’s relationship to Gabriel Field on Duerer Street stretches to the 1980s, when she cheered for the Galloway Mustang football team.
McGinty, 46, has been a member of the board of directors for the past six years of the Galloway Township Athletic Association, which owns the athletic field.
For years, portable toilets have handled the bathroom needs of the children and parents who used Gabriel and Tartaglia fields, both on Duerer Street. She was among the many township residents who did not think it would change.
“I thought it was not possible. We thought we would get turned down at the state level,” McGinty said of a request for a new bathroom building at the complex.
In 2016, an agreement among the township, the Athletic Association, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the state Pinelands Commission and the Atlantic County Utilities Authority allowed for the installation of new bathrooms at Tartaglia and Gabriel.
The bathrooms cost $268,111, but the township did not approve the spending of the money until last year when the cost could be absorbed into the municipal budget while still decreasing the tax rate.
Now, the exteriors of the bathroom buildings at Tartaglia and Gabriel are both up, but work still needs to be done on the interiors. The bathrooms will be operational before the end of the fall, said Township Administrator Chris Johansen.
The bigger of the two bathroom buildings is the 1,100-square-foot structure at Tartaglia because it will not only have bathrooms, but also a small area for concessions and storage, Johansen said.
Tartaglia Park’s fields are only about 10 years old, and they have only ever had portable toilets, Johansen said.
A bathroom unit was tied to the septic system during the 1970s and 1980s, but it failed during the 1990s and was replaced by bathrooms in the current concession building, McGinty said.
There was a bathroom trailer system with a holding tank during the 2000s, but it failed over time, McGinty said.
Football, softball, wrestling, baseball and lacrosse take place at Gabriel Field.
The Renegades football and cheerleading teams and Galloway United Community Soccer teams use Tartaglia Field.
Renegades head coach Chuck Endicott, who started the Renegades in 2005, said about 150 children are members of the club.
They range in age from first graders through eighth graders. The Renegades are a part of the Cape Atlantic Junior Football League, which has 1,150 children as participants.
“It will be a great feeling and something we have been looking forward to for many years,” said Endicott about when the bathrooms are finally operational.
This initiative has been ongoing through township government administrations. It began under Republican Mayor Don Purdy, continued under Republican Mayor Tony Coppola and will be finished under Democrat Mayor Jim Gorman.
Pipes will be installed to carry the waste from the fields down Genoa Avenue to connect with the municipal sewer system at Jimmie Leeds Road, Johansen said.
“This is a project that I’m extremely proud of. Hopefully, it will be finished soon enough, so that the football season can use a new building,” said Johansen, who added the township owns Tartaglia Park.