No. 06] Caldwell/West Caldwell, New Jersey (December 2007).
No. 05] Nyack, New York (December 2007).
No. 04] Fairfield, Conn. (November 2007).
No. 03] Wellesley, Mass. (April 2007).
No. 02] Woodside, Calif. (July 2007).
No. 01] Atherton, Calif. (April 2007).
[No. 131] Wailuku, Hawaii: County officials say maintaining grass field is more cost-effective than installing artificial turf; they scrap plans for artificial turf. According to a news item on TribTown.com (26 June 2014), “MauiCounty is ending its plans to replace grass at War Memorial Stadium with artificial turf because of a $1.5 million price tag. The county originally planned to spend about $1 million on the entire project.” “The stadium was built in the 1950s and was the former home of the Hula Bowl, a college football all-star game. Now it hosts the Maui County Fair and other events. After reviewing the bids, county officials decided it would be more cost-effective to maintain a real grass field.” “[C]hanging to artificial turf also raised concerns about whether that would hurt the county's ability to attract high-quality sporting events. The field will now instead be properly maintained.” Source: Associated Press, “Maui scraps artificial-turf plan for War Memorial Stadium because of $1.5 million price tag,” on TribTown.com, 26 June 2014, at http://www.tribtown.com/view/story/8fecf9e5792f4f06ad383f0a4d458439/HI--Maui-Stadium-Turf-Plans .
[No. 130 - Update]: Natural grass rolls out at San Clemente’s landmark cultural center at Casa Romantica. According to a news report in Orange County Register (20 May 2014), “[a] plan to replace Casa Romantica’s courtyard lawn with artificial turf is dead. San Clemente’s landmark cultural center installed fresh sod in the courtyard at 415 Avenida Granada to replace barren-looking lawn after a proposal for manufactured turf drew thumbs down from the Planning Commission at a public hearing April 16 .” Source: Fred Sweglws, “Casa Romantica has fresh grass after dropping plan for fake,” inOrange County Register,20 May 2014, at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/turf-614962-romantica-casa.html
[No. 130] San Clemente, California: No to artificial turf at the historic site. According to a news report in the Orange County Register (17 April 2014), “Leaders of the landmark former home of San Clemente founder Ole Hanson said real grass is too costly to maintain, but commissioners said artificial turf would harm the historic site.” “Visitors entering Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens won’t be greeted by artificial turf on the courtyard, the city Planning Commission decided Wednesday [16 April] night. Commissioners said no to the Casa’s request for a permit to replace real grass with fake grass. City staff will prepare a resolution of denial that will be voted on May 21.” “Commissioners said artificial turf would downgrade the historic site and that the $4,000 to $5,000 cost of resodding once a year or more is simply the cost of holding events on the grass. They suggested fewer events, charging more to event renters, steering events onto patios or roping off the lawn at times to avert wear and tear. Source: Fred Swegles, “History worth the price: No fake grass at Casa Romantica, planners say,” in Orange County Register, 17 April 2014, at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/grass-610198-events-casa.html
[No. 129] North Arlington, New Jersey: NJ Department of Environmental Protection denies permit for artificial turf field due close to the Passaic Rivers due to flooding concerns. According to a news report on the NorthJersey.com (6 March 2014), “[t]he renovation of Rip Collins Field [in North Arlington] will not have a baseball field that is all artificial turf after a review by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The state agency informed the North Arlington Board of Education during its permit process that in the area where right field will be, the northwest corner of the complex, would have to have grass.” “According to school officials, the sticking point [was] the riparian rights in regards to the field and the Passaic River. A riparian zone is mandated by the NJDEP due to the flooding issues that are along the river.” “[G]rass is needed in that area so that a natural surface can help mitigate flooding issues.” According to the NJDEP that there is a 50-foot riparian zone along the Passaic River. A majority of the area beyond the track falls within this riparian zone. If turf was installed between the track and perimeter fence for the baseball outfield, there will be “a net loss of lawn space by more than 7,000 square feet, which will not meet the DEP requirements.” According to the NJDEP, “[d]ue to the high level of flooding, an exemption would have been needed to have artificial turf there. Riparian rights are an area close to water and needed for the greatest level of [water] absorption, something that artificial turf would not allow.” Source: James p. Hickey, “North Arlington’s Rip Collins design gets pushback from NJDEP, on NorthJersey.com, 6 March 2014, at http://www.northjersey.com/news/north-arlington-s-rip-collins-design-gets-pushback-from-njdep-1.732297
[No. 128] Olean, New York: Natural grass to replace asphalt, not artificial turf! According to an item in The Buffalo news (16 February 2014), the “[p]lans to install artificial turf as part of the ongoing renovations at Bradner Stadium have been scrapped as too costly. Instead, current plans call for replacing the asphalt with crushed limestone, the material that is used for the warning track of the baseball field, city Public Works Director Tom Windus told the Olean Local Development Corp. last week during an update on plans for the upcoming sports season. The plan is to do away with what once served as an asphalt running track in the north part of the stadium. Windus noted that plans to install artificial turf for sports, including for use by the New York Collegiate Baseball Association affiliate Olean Oilers, proved unaffordable.” Source: Chris Chapman, “Olean scraps artificial turf for stadium upgrade,” in The Buffalo News, 16 February 2014, at http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/olean/olean-scraps-artificial-turf-for-stadium-upgrade-20140216
[No. 127] Bangalore, India: Only natural grass for FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017! According to a news report in The Times of India (25 February 2014) “The Bangalore Football Stadium (BFS), one of the strong contenders to be among the six host cities of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, will shed its artificial turf and sport a new natural field when the venue is rebuilt for the mega event. ‘We are planning to have a new natural turf as we rebuild the stadium,’ BFC's Chief Operating Officer Mustafa Ghouse said. Ghouse said the present artificial turf may get damaged in the course of the construction work. ‘It is likely that the turf may get damaged that's why we are thinking of making it a natural turf. Moreover, it’s easier to maintain a natural turf,’ he said.” “The turf was laid at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore under FIFA’s Goal project and was inaugurated in May 2011. The turf, which was extensively used in various weather conditions, was poorly maintained. ‘The cleaning of the turf should have been done every week to clear all the dirt. The maintenance should have happened every year when the rubber is levelled and the grass is made to stand straight. We are maintaining the turfs in Goa and Mumbai but we never got any call to maintain the turf in Bangalore which would have cost them Rs 2 lakh annually,’ an official of Greenfields, which installed the turf, told [The Times of India].” “Asked about transferring the surface to a new ground, the official said it can be done easily. ‘It can be cut out in rolls and transported to the new place. Laying it on another ground needs less work compared to a new installation. The Bangalore turf needs no watering and is good enough to last another four to five years,’ he said.” Source: Biju Babu Cyriac, “Artificial out, natural in,” in The Times of India, 25 February 2014, at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/football/top-stories/Artificial-out-natural-in/articleshow/30989585.cms
[No. 126] English Premier League says ‘no’ to artificial turf, once again. According to a news report in the Daily Mail (29 January 2014), Artificial pitches will continue to be banned in professional English football after Conference clubs voted against allowing matches to take place on synthetic turf. Premier League clubs may have to occasionally play away on 3G (Third Generation] pitches in the Champions League and they are used frequently on the continent, but artificial surfaces have not been permitted in English professional football since 1995. The Football League voted against artificial pitches three years ago. Source: Laura Williamson, “Conference clubs veto artificial turf despite increasing number of postponements,” in the Daily Mail, 29 January 2014, at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2548253/Conference-clubs-veto-artificial-turf-despite-increasing-postponements.html
[No. 125] Greenlawn, New York: Harborfields School District votes down synthetic turf project. According to a news report in the North Shore Long Island dot com (12 December 2013), the “Harborfields school district voters on Wednesday [11 November] overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to borrow $3 million to install synthetic turf on [Harborfields High School’s] athletics fields, with 2,075 opposing the project, and 429 voting in favor of it, according to a district spokesperson.” Source: Jane Lee Bock, “Voters reject Harborfields turf project,” on NorthShore OfLongIsland.com, 12 December 2013, at http://www.northshoreoflongisland.com/Articles-News-i-2013-12-12-98089.112114-sub-Voters-reject-Harborfields-turf-project.html .
[No. 124] Hastings-on-Hudson, New York: Voters reject artificial turf bond proposal. According to a news report in the LoHud.com (29 November 2013), in October 2013, the voters of Hastings-on-Hudson, in Westchester County, “soundly defeated an $8.1 million bond proposal following debate over a synthetic turf field included in the plan.” “Under the rejected plan, a little more than half the bond, about $4.6 million, was aimed at renovations to the athletics complex, including a new synthetic field and track, refinished tennis courts, a relocated playground and new bleachers.” “The plan was defeated by more than 500 votes. According to exit polls, a majority of voters supported the building repairs and auditorium renovation but far fewer supported the synthetic turf field.” Source: Mareesa Nicosia, “Hastings school district to unveil repair plan proposals,” on LoHud.com, 29 November 2013, at http://www.lohud.com/article/20131128/NEWS02/311280068/Hastings-school-district-unveil-repair-plan-proposals . According to a news report on RiverTowns.Patch (5 December 2013), “[a]n exit polling showed that a million-dollar artificial turf resurfacing of the high school’s Reynolds Field was the main downfall of that proposal. Any referendum proposal including that option has since been thrown out the window. ‘Turf is off the table,’ Hastings Schools Superintendent Roy Montesano said. ‘You can all breathe a sigh of relief.’” Source: Michael Nocella, “Hastings School District ‘Fields’ Ideas for Facility Upgrade Plan,” on RiverTowns.Patch, 5 December 2013), at http://rivertowns.patch.com/groups/schools/p/hastings-school-district-fields-ideas-for-facility-upgrade-plan .
[No. 123] Hendersonville, North Carolina: Artificial turf field idea goes bust. According to a news report in Hendersonville Lightning (20 November 2013), “Like a grand play that looked better in the huddle than on the field, the idea of replacing grass with artificial turf at county football fields went bust before it could get started.” Even though the “bid for the turf itself, $321,000, came in well under than the county’s projection of about $500,000,” Henderson County’s new Athletics and Activities Center, the Commissioners Charlie Messer and Michael Edney said that the time was not “right for fake grass at the county’s four high school football fields,” as the “schools had expressed no interest in the idea.” Source: Bill Moss, “Artificial turf dies in cradle,” in Hendersonville Lightning, 20 November 2013, at http://www.hendersonvillelightning.com/sports/2236-artificial-turf-dies-in-cradle.html
[No. 120] Hinesburg, Vermont: Voters down artificial turf bond. According to a news report on the Greenwich Time.com (6 November 2013), on Tuesday, 5 November, the voters from Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne and Williston rejected a “$1.5 million bond that would help fund installation of two artificial turf fields at ChamplainValleyUnionHigh School,” which has seven grass fields. The “opponents said the money [$2.6 million] should be used to close the academic performance gap between lower- and higher-income students. Others questioned the health and environmental impact of the rubber particles used to support artificial turf.” Source: “Artificial turf proposal defeated for Vt.School,” on Greenwich Time.com, 6 November 2013), at http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Artificial-turf-proposal-defeated-for-Vt-school-4960005.php (based on information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com
[No. 121] GlenRidge, New Jersey: Artificial turf filed referendum is defeated. According to a news report on North Jersey.com ( 7 November 2013), on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, the voters in GlenRidge rejected the referendum for the much-debated synthetic turf. “Kit Schackner, who has been one of the most vocal critics of the referendum, had this to say on Thursday: ‘My thoughts are this: the proponents of artificial turf snatched their own defeat from the jaws of victory.’ She added, ‘Had (the referendum) been presented openly and honestly, with full prior participation of the community; had the concerns of the voters been taken to heart rather than dismissed, it might have passed.’ It is the second time in six years that a turf referendum has been put to GlenRidge voters and failed to pass. In 2007, a municipal bond referendum that included a turf project for Hurrell and Carteret fields was also voted down.” Source: Erin Rool, “GlenRidge reacts to Election Day results,” on North Jersey.com, 7 November 2013, at http://www.northjersey.com/news/230756001_Glen_Ridge_voters_turn_down_turf.html
[No. 122] Freeport, Maine: Artificial turf measure fails. According to a news report in the Portland Press Herald (6 November 2013), on 5 November, the voters in Freeport, Durham and Pownal split on two separate bond questions - agreeing to renovate Freeport High School but rejecting a synthetic turf field and track at the high school at the cost of $1.7 million. Source: Dennis Hoey, “Voters split on FreeportHigh School bonds,” in Portland Press Harold, 6 November 2013, at http://www.pressherald.com/news/Voters_split_on_Freeport_High_School_bonds_.html
[No. 119] Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Authorities urged to consider shortcomings of artificial pitches before converting football fields. The government’s proposal to convert grass fields in schools into artificial turf is finding resistance among “parents, teachers as well as sportsmen,” reported a news story in New Strait Times (1 October 2013). According to SMK La Salle Brickfields Parent-Teacher Association Committee deputy president Dr Christopher Nicholas, “[t]he field can be maintained provided there is a proper drainage and irrigation system.” Such conversions tended to “privatize” the fields as using them would require bookings and rentals, he added. According to the report, “RoyalSelangorFootballAcademy head coach V. Kalimutu said the government should stick to the basics. A good drainage and irrigation system and maintenance by a groundsman would prevent fields from yellowing, becoming patchy, being waterlogged or muddy. And converting a football field into an artificial field limits the usage for other sports. This defeats the national sports agenda to create all-round players in other sports like rugby and athletics. Moreover, these sports and a host of others cannot be played on artificial pitches. If such sports are played on the pitches, the players would hurt themselves.And if the school uses the artificial pitches as multipurpose fields by holding sports and other events it would greatly shorten the life span of the turf.” Former national player A. Jayakanthan was also sceptical saying there were aspects that needed to be detailed … The field gets very hot and the composite plastic and synthetic material scorches and injures players. And our edge in most field sports has been because our players play on cow grass which is more challenging than any other turf. Even in Europe, the best teams play on grass fields.” Source: Veena Babulal, “Grass field still a better choice,” in New Strait Times, 1 Oct0ber 2013, at http://www.nst.com.my/streets/central/grass-field-still-a-better-choice-1.365715
[No. 118] Toronto, Canada: BMO Field will never revert to artificial turf. According to a report on The Recod.com (28 September 2013), the President and Chief executive Officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Tim Leiweke, who is looking at roof options for Toronto FC at BMO Field, told the TFC supporters on Saturday [28 September] “the stadium would never revert to artificial turf.” “We can’t get the kind of DPs [designated players] we want to get if we’re on anything but grass - they’re not coming,” he said.Source: ByNeil Davidson, “MLSE looking at roof for BMO Field, shoots down talk of artificial turf,” on The Recod.com, 28 September 2013, at http://www.therecord.com/sports-story/4130817-mlse-looking-at-roof-for-bmo-field-shoots-down-talk-of-artificial-turf/
[No. 117] Woodbridge, Connecticut: AmityRegionalSchool District votes down artificial turf. The AmityRegionalSchool District serves the Bethany, Woodridge and Orange communities. The AmityHigh School is a regional public high school located in Woodbridge. According to a report by Aldon Hynes on Orient Lodge (24 September 2013), on Tuesday, 24 September 2013, some “1,803 voters in Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge went to the polls and rejected a referendum to spend $945,000 installing astroturf at AmityHigh School.” “[The vote] boiled down to the fiscal conservatives and the environmental conservatives against the sports parents, with many people not having an opinion, and voting based on the recommendations of their friends.” According to Aldon, “[t]he environmental conservatives were probably the loudest with comments against the proposal on the Conserve Woodbridge Facebook page, and presumably in backchannels. They expressed concern about fumes and runoff from the artificial turf. The fiscal conservatives spoke up at meetings raising concern about the towns' debt burdens.” Aldon decided to try an exit poll, which he set up using Google Documents: “A handful of people completed the poll, the results were 2 to 1 against the referendum in the exit poll and about the same 64% to 36% in the actual voting. For concerns express[ed], the biggest concern appears to have been the cost, followed by health issues, and environmental issues.” Source: Aldon Hynes, “Amity AstroTurf Referendum Results,” on Orient Lodge, 24 September 2013, at http://www.orient-lodge.com/node/5145?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter .
[No. 116) San Carlos, California: City Council rejects the renovation plan for CrestviewPark that included artificial turf. According to a news report in the San Mateo Daily Journal (10 July 2013), “[s]ynthetic turf is off the table but the San Carlos City Council sent staff back to the drawing board for other aspects of its Crestview Park renovation.” In its meeting on 8 July, the Council “opted against endorsing the recommended design known as Concept C” and instead asked for a new concept. Earlier the City’s Park Commission had split 2-2 over inclusion of artificial turf filed in Concept C. “Staff will also return with cost estimates for replacing the existing grass field with new natural turf to see if it fits within the $1.7 million project budget and options for a desired roundabout at the park entryway.” “Some of the lengthy public comment period included residents with opinions about the original call to use synthetic turf although staff changed its mind before the meeting and now recommends natural grass.” Source: Michelle Durand, “Council seeks new park design concept: Synthetic turf idea dries up at San Carlos’ Crestview Park,” in San Mateo Daily Journal, 10 July 2013, at http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2013-07-10/council-seeks-new-park-design-concept-synthetic-turf-idea-dries-up-at-san-carlos-crestview-park/1771487.html
[No. 115] Portola Valley, California: Valley town council votes down artificial grass. According to a news report in The Almanac (17 May 2013), “[t]he forces of a plastic modernity were politely shown the door last week in PortolaValley. After more than two hours of comments by residents for and against an artificial grass soccer field at the WoodsidePriorySchool, a slim majority on the Town Council told Priory officials that they must use real grass.” “The 3-2 vote overturns a March 20 decision by an equally slim majority on the Planning Commission to allow an artificial surface at this private Catholic school for grades 6-12. The council chose to review the commission's decision in April after a public outcry by those who opposed a step they viewed as inconsistent with the town's environmentally conscious vision of itself. That issue - the consistency of artificial grass with the town's vision as expressed in the general plan - was the matter before the council. In finding that there was a sufficient inconsistency, voting with the majority were Mayor John Richards and council members Maryann Derwin and Jeff Aalfs. Council members Ann Wengert and Ted Driscoll dissented.” Source: Dave Boyce, “PortolaValley council vetoes artificial grass; WoodsidePriorySchool is required to use real grass in rehabilitating its field,” in The Almanac, 17 May 2013, at http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=13654 .
[No. 114] Maryland legislature fails to approve open space money for artificial turf field project in P.G.County. According to a news report on WUSA (CBS Affiliate in Washington D.C.), the Maryland “state house measure requiring the Board of Education to install turf fields in Prince George’s County public high schools (MD HB 1108) by the end of 2018” stalled in the House Appropriations Sub-Committee. The measure planned to use public open space money for the purpose. The measures originally passed through the CountyDelegation by a vote of 21-2. Source: Allison frick, “Measure To Install Turf Fields At Prince George’s Co. High Schools Stalls At The House Of Delegates,” on WUSA, 15 April 2013, at http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/254719/189/Turf-Fields-Will-Not-Be-Installed-In-PG-County-Schools .
[No. 113] Sydney, Australia: Citizens say ‘no’ to the several artificial turf projects; force removal of some existing ones. According to a report in Sydney Morning Herald (22 January 2012), “Residents in some Sydney suburbs have successfully fought the introduction of synthetic grass, including at Arlington Recreation Reserve in Dulwich Hill, where they forced Marrickville Council to reverse its decision. At Montessori East pre-school and school in Waverley, the principal, Bill Conway, said he was worried about artificial turf and it was being removed.” Source: Natalie O'Brien, “Threat of toxic playgrounds,” in Sydney Morning Herald, 22 January 2012, at http://www.smh.com.au/national/threat-of-toxic-playgrounds-20120121-1qb5s.html .
[No. 112] Whippany and East Hanover, New Jersey: School district votes down artificial turf proposal. According to a news report in theHanover Eagle (12 March 2013), on March 12, the voters “rejected by a nearly 400-vote margin a $17.5 million bond referendum to build artificial turf football fields at both Hanover Park High School in East Hanover and Whippany Park High School in Whippany and lighting and improved parking at Whippany Park.” “The referendum received a positive tally only in FlorhamPark, where voters supported the measure by a 601 to 579 vote.” “The referendum was voted down in HanoverTownship by a 1,382 to 987 margin and in East Hanover by 673 to 664 votes.” Source: “Hanover ParkSchool District referendum fails: Vote is 2,656 to 2,274 against,” in Hanover Eagle, 12 March 2013, at http://newjerseyhills.com/hanover_eagle/news/hanover-park-school-district-referendum-fails-vote-is-to-against/article_39ca6408-8b89-11e2-89cc-001a4bcf887a.html .
[No. 111] Delmar, NY: BethlehemCentralSchool District taxpayers ditch the artificial turf project. According to a news report in theTimes Union (12 March 2013), on 12 March, the Bethlehem Central School District taxpayers voted on nearly $24 million in capital projects under consideration in Bethlehem Central School District and, when all was cast and counted, they approved a building and technology proposition (2,614 votes to 2,016) and rejected the proposition for track and field improvements (2,996 to 1,634). Source: “Split vote in Bethlehem,” in Times Union, 12 March 2013, at http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Split-vote-in-Bethlehem-4349554.php .
[No.110] Leesburg, Virginia: Finally, some adults in Northern Virginia! According to a news report in Leesburg Today (27 February 2013), on 26 February, the LoudounCounty supervisors began cutting the proposed capital improvement program (CIP) during the Finance, Government Services and Operations Committee meeting. “While only in the first stages, supervisors have already decided to cut a couple of big ticket items in the CIP - most notably the School Board’s plan to install artificial turf at eight high school fields over the next four fiscal years.” “Supervisors also expressed concern that the installation of artificial turf at high schools was not going to help the countywide field shortage because those fields would likely not be available for private sports leagues and other groups.” It has been proposed instead that the county install irrigation systems at the five fields identified as being in the poorest condition and irrigate the 25 fields with the worst quality. Source: “Supervisors Balk At Artificial Turf Fields; Pursue Expanded Irrigation,” in Leesburg Today, 27 February 2013, at http://www.leesburgtoday.com/news/supervisors-balk-at-artificial-turf-fields-pursue-expanded-irrigation/article_c2181636-8100-11e2-a639-001a4bcf887a.html .
[No. 109] Parsippany, NJ: Voters defeated artificial turf plan. According to a news report on NJ.com (23 January 2013), on 22 January, the residents of Parsipanny voted down the referendum for a $7.7-million project that would have installed new artificial turf fields in Parsipanny’s high schools. The vote was 2,373 (against) to 1,745 (for). Source: “Rejected: Parsippany voters shoot down $7.7-million plan for new turf fields,” on NJ.com, 23January 2013, at http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2013/01/parsippany_voters_reject_77-mi.html .
[No. 108] Bernardsville, New Jersey: No “Open Space” money for artificial turf field. According to a news report inThe Bernardsville News (6 November 2012), on Tuesday, 6 November 2012, the voters in the borough “opposed a question to spend between $1,245,000 and $1,411,000 from the Open Space Trust Fund to provide artificial turf on a field at the Upper Polo Grounds, by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, with 1,699 against and 858 in favor.” “Mayor Lee Honecker said the defeat of the turf referendum leaves some interpretive work for [Borough Council] members. They will have to sort out if the results were a statement of opposition to the possible depletion of open space funds as opposed to the overall project …. [T]he council could opt to use Open Space funds to purchase land for grass athletic fields….” Source: “Bernardsville votes no on turf, yes to road work,” in The Bernardsville News, 6 November 2012, available at http://newjerseyhills.com/bernardsville_news/news/bernardsville-votes-no-on-turf-yes-to-road-work/article_ff847488-2890-11e2-ab32-0019bb2963f4.html
[No. 107] Westfield, New Jersey: District voters give thumbs down on bond for artificial turf field and lighting. According to a news report on WestfieldPatch.com (25 September 2012), Westfield voters defeated the Westfield Board of Education’s proposal to fund “two multi-million dollar capital projects - district-wide roof repairs and a lighted turf field.” “Edgar Road resident Scott Robb opposed the synthetic turf field not only because of the traffic, noise and lights he believed would accompany it, but also because he did not agree with the bundling of the two projects.” According to Robb, “The taxpayers have spoken and have clearly said that it is not the time to issue more debt for these multi-million dollar projects, that we do not appreciate that our freedom of choice was taken away when they decided to bundle both projects, and that a lit turf field does not belong in an over-burdened residential neighborhood. We are hopeful that the BoE has heard us, and in the future, will work with us to come up with a solution that is fair to all.” Source: Elizabeth Alterman, “$16.9 Million Bond Referendum Defeated 3,874 to 1,508,” on WestfieldPatch.com, 25 September 2012, available at http://westfield.patch.com/articles/16-9-million-bond-referendum-defeated-3-777-to-1-477 .
[No. 106] Trenton, NJ: City council votes down artificial turf for high school. According to a news report in the The Times of Trenton (28 July 2012), on 26 July 2012, “ A proposal to fund an $800,000 synthetic turf football field for Trenton Central High School was shot down by city council …, dealing a blow to a project pushed by Mayor Tony Mack.” “City and school officials said Mack, a former athletic star at TCHS, personally requested the football turf … though school officials said the sports improvements were not high priorities for the district. The mayor’s brother, Ralphiel Mack, is the head football coach at TCHS. The FBI raided both their houses last week, although no charges have been filed.” According to the state commissioner of Department of Community Affairs, “While the board wants to make sure students have an appropriate football field, it remains unconvinced that spending $800,000 to install artificial turf is the most prudent use of funds.” Source: Erin Duffy, “Trenton council rejects Trenton Mayor Tony Mack’s plans for TCHS turf field,” in The Times of Trenton, 28 July 2012, available at http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2012/07/trenton_council_shoots_down_ma.html .
[No. 105] Swampscott, Mass.: A wise minority stops the majority’s field of nightmares. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. 14 June 2012. According to a news report in the Swampscott Patch (8 May 2012), “The artificial turf and other improvements got a slim majority at Town Meeting Monday [7 May 2012] but not the necessary two-thirds majority.” “ Proponents of a proposed $2.6 million artificial turf field, new stands and other improvements at Blocksidge Field failed by about 30 votes to win approval at Town Meeting Monday night. The measure, which was supported by the town's Finance Committee, Capital Improvement Committee and three Selectmen, won 154 votes. It needed 185 to garner the two-thirds majority of those who attended the Town Meeting. One hundred and twenty of those voting at Town Meeting opposed the measure, which would have required that the town borrow $1,857,856 to pay for the new field…. Opponents, led by Selectman David Van Dam, voiced concerns about the costs of the debt service and about the potential health risks of the artificial turf. Much was made of the ‘crumbled rubber’ that cushions the turf as a base. The material is made of old tires that opponents, such as Board of Health member Dr. Larry Block, argued contained toxic materials. Opponents painted a vivid picture of storm waters washing the crumbled tire bits onto the nearby beach.” The three-member “board of health opposed the construction of the artificial field.” “The board was concerned about the heat levels generated by the turf and an increase in knee injuries.” Source: Stewart Lytle, “Blocksidge Field Improvements Proposal Comes Up Short,” in Swampscott Patch, 8 May 2012, available at http://swampscott.patch.com/articles/blocksidge-field-improvements-proposal-fails-to-get-two-thirds .
[No. 104] Washington Township, New Jersey: Council re-opts for re-sodding field. According to a news report in The Record (8 May 2012), “Disappointed residents who favor installing artificial turf at Memorial Field stormed out of [the Washington Township Council] meeting Monday night [7 May 2012] after the governing body voted once again to have the field re-sodded… On Monday night, the council learned no bids were received [for re-sodding], and then voted 3-2 this week to re-advertise for them. The vote followed a motion from Councilman Glenn Beckmeyer to bond $2.5 million for turf. No one seconded the move.” Source: Chris Harris, “Artificial turf fans in WashingtonTownship leave meeting angry,” in The Record, 8 May 2012, available at http://www.northjersey.com/news/Washington_Township_council_agrees_to_resod_Memorial_Field.html
[No. 103] Northbridge, Mass: Voters give thumbs down to artificial turf field. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. 14 June 2012. According to a news report in the Worcester Telegraph & Gazette (16 May 2012), on 13 June 2012, voters at the annual town election soundly defeated a question that asked for $900,000 to put artificial turf on Lasell Field. “The Friends of Lasell Field had won the support of most town officials going into yesterday’s election but voters determined that fixing the town’s crumbling roads and Town Hall were the top priorities.” “[I]t appears the issue won’t come up again.” Source Bill Fortier, “Northbridge voters OK Town Hall project, roads; reject turf,” in Worcester Telegraph & Gazette, 16 May 2012, available at http://www.telegram.com/article/20120516/NEWS/105169947/1246 .
[No. 102] Guadalajara, Mexico: Chivas replaces artificial turf field with natural grass. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. 14 June 2012. According to a news report in Sporting News (17 May 2012), one of the only two artificial turf soccer clubs has decide to convert to natural grass. “The move was suggested by former Dutch great Johan Cruyff, who was hired by the club in February as an adviser…. Chivas is one of Mexico’s most popular clubs but is coming off one of its poorest seasons. The club finished 15th in the 18-team Mexican first division in the Clausura championship, the second half of Mexico’s split season. ‘In the first place, we want a competitive team,’ Cruyff said. ‘In the second, we want one that plays good football.’… Chivas players seldom complained openly about the surface, but visiting teams often criticized it.” Source: Associated Press, “Mexican league: Guadalajara Chivas replacing artificial surface with grass,” in Sporting News, May 17, 2012, available at http://aol.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2012-05-17/mexican-league-guadalajara-chivas-replacing-artificial-surface-with-grass .
SynTurf.org Note: Omnilife Stadium, formerly known as Estadio Chivas is the 4th largest stadium in Mexico. A multi-use venue, it is used mostly for soccer games including home matches for Club Deportivo Guadalajara, commonly known as the “Chivas.” Construction of the stadium started in February 2004, but due to financial problems and other issues, the stadium’s completion was delayed for a number of years. FieldTurf, a purveyor of artificial turf fields, has listed this field as one - Guadalajara Chivas (Mexico) – as one of “The #1 Choice for Soccer Clubs at All Levels” – seehttp://www.fieldturf.com/soccer-turf/ or click here. No more!After only a few years of playing on it, Chivas decided not to replace the artificial turf system with another - and switched to natural grass instead!
SynTurf.org asked one of the Boston-area’s respected sports writers to comment on this story – he wrote: “I think Cruyff is totally against artificial turf, because it makes it very difficult to play a skill-based, passing game ... the conundrum for those in favor at the professional level, though, is that a hard-running practice on synthetic surface causes extra stress, wear & tear, etc.; older players (from late 20s on) are extremely reluctant to practice on artificial surfaces -- so, teams with home synthetic turf end up practicing on grass, which does not prepare them for home game conditions. The [New England] Revolution have been doing this since 2006. I believe the Seattle Sounders also practice on grass, play on synthetic -- those are the only two teams in MLS with artificial turf stadia.”
[No. 101] Bellingham, Mass.: Voters reject artificial turf field proposal. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. 14 June 2012. According to a news report in The Milford Daily News (24 May 2012), on 23 June 2012 the members of the town meeting passed an article imposing a 0.75 percent meals tax on local businesses, but voted down – 159 to 154 - an article that would have had some of that money toward the funding of “a $1.4 million artificial field on Blackstone Street, including renovation of the surrounding track and parking area.” The field allocation article would have needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Source: Alison McCall, “Bellingham passes meals tax, rejects artificial turf field proposal,” in The Milford Daily News, 24 May 2012, available at http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/x1040013362/Bellingham-passes-meals-tax-rejects-artificial-turf-field-proposal .
[No. 100] Bridgeport, West Virginia: It’s thumbs down for artificial turf fields. According to a news report on Channel 5 WDTV.com (5News, 17 April 2012), “Artificial turf will not be coming to four HarrisonCounty high school football fields anytime soon. At a special meeting Monday [16 April] afternoon to discuss budgetary items, the Harrison County Board of Education decided that it could not afford to install turf at Robert C. Byrd, Lincoln, South Harrison and LibertyHigh School fields. The board has looked into teaming with other local counties interested in installing turf in an effort to keep costs down, but no other counties were interested at this time. The board will decide at some point if an how to upgrade the four fields.” Source: 5 News Team, “Turf Fields A ‘No Go’ at Four Harrison County Schools,” on Channel 5 WDTV, 17 April 2012, available at http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view§ion=5-News&item=Turf-Fields-A-No-Go-at-Four-Harrison-County-Schools2272 (this link has also a video report).
[No. 99] Bedford, Mass.: Town Meeting fails to pass artificial turf field proposal. According to a news report in Bedford Minuteman (27 March 2012), on 26 March 2012, the annual Town Meeting did not give the required two-thirds vote for the passage of the proposed synthetic turf field at Bedford High School’s Sabourin Field. Because the $1.8 million project was to be bonded, a 2/3 super-majority vote was needed for it to pass. “Supporters spoke of a dire need for more athletic fields and the ability to field many sports on a synthetic field, while opponents questioned the $1.08 million price tag, the environmental soundness of synthetic turf and whether the town needed to take on additional debt.” “Finance Committee member Barbara Perry told voters that the committee recommended against the project….She said the majority of the Finance Committee believed that the field would be ‘nice to have’ but did not think spending $1 million on a turf field, with the eventual necessity of replacing the turf in every 10 years would be a wise use of the town’s money.” Source: Eileen Kennedy, “Turf field fails to get votes of 2/3 of Town Meeting,” in Bedford Minuteman, 27 March 2012, available at http://www.wickedlocal.com/bedford/news/x586829448/Turf-field-fails-to-get-votes-of-2-3-of-Town-Meeting#axzz1qR1mg2sI .
[No. 98] Montrose, NY: School district gives thumbs down on artificial turf field. According to a news report in The Daily Peekskill (17 March 2012), “The Hendrick Hudson School District said the results of a late January community survey showed the performing arts center and artificial turf fields were the main reasons the district's $25.1 million December bond failed.” “Of the nearly 1,000 respondents, ‘71 percent of respondents felt the Performing Arts Center was beyond our means,’ and ‘23 percent of respondents mentioned the fields as beyond our means,’ reads the survey summary passed out at Wednesday’s [14 March 2012] board meeting.” Source: Jessica Glenza, “Hen Hud Survey: PAC, Fields Sank $25 Million Bond,” in The Daily Peekskill, 17 March 2012, athttp://www.thedailypeekskill.com/schools/hen-hud-survey-pac-fields-sank-25-million-bond .
[No. 97] Muskegon, Michigan: Fiscal responsibility, cool heads, save the grass field. According to a news report on Michigan Live (15 March 2012), the historic Hackley Stadium at MuskegonHigh School will get a new grass surface this summer. In 2008 a Muskegon athletic director “initiated a fundraising campaign to pay for a synthetic turf at the stadium, but the effort didn’t get off the ground.” The grass field at the stadium has not been replaced for 16 years. According to David Beckmann, the director of grounds and builds at the high school, typically, grass turf has a 10- to 12-year life expectancy. On the other hand, he said, “Artificial turf has a 10- or 12-year life expectancy too [, but] that’s $700,000.” “School officials considered placing a $1 million proposal before voters last year to put synthetic turf in the stadium on behalf of the Muskegon Big Reds Athletic Foundation. But the issue was dropped by foundation officials, who decided the economic climate wasn’t right for such a proposal.” Source: Lynn Moore, “Hackley Stadium synthetic turf issue dead for now; new grass planned,” on Michigan Live, 15 March 2012, available at http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/03/hackley_stadium_synthetic_turf.html
[No. 96] Briarcliff Manor, NY: Middle School goes with natural grass field. Briarcliff Manor is a village in WestchesterCounty. For two years now the softball field and an area near the high school known as the “practice field” have been off limits after questions were raised about the quality of the fill and cover materials on which the fields were constructed. According to a news item on Pleasantville-BriarCliffManorPatch.com 1 March 2012), “A contaminated softball field at Briarcliff Middle School will rely on natural materials to keep ballplayers safe from potential environmental hazards beneath their feet.” On 27 February 2012, School officials voted unanimously to install a natural grass surface that will be separated from the contaminated subsoil by permeable screens and clean dirt as the substrata for the filed. This was the “least expensive of several alternative ways to address the field’s pollution problem, including covering over the potential contaminants with asphalt or artificial turf.” The natural turf option will cap the field and will require involve regular site monitoring. Source: Tom Bartley, “Natural Turf Chosen to Cap Briarcliff Softball Field, on Pleasantville-BriarCliffManorPatch.com, 1 March 2012, available at http://pleasantville.patch.com/articles/natural-turf-chosen-to-cap-briarcliff-softball-field.
[No. 95] Glendale, California: City continues to hold the line on artificial grass. According to a news report in theGlendale News Press (17 January 2012), “ Some residents who installed the turf before August , when the City Council took a hard line against allowing the stuff in front yards, had hoped that they’d be grandfathered in under the ban. But city officials on Tuesday [17 January 2012] confirmed that any existing violators would have to restore their properties to comply with the law. The clarification came almost two months after Glendale began sending notices of violation to residents with faux turf in their front yards. The ban has been in place for years, but enforcement was put on hold as the council mulled changing the rule. In clarifying the policy, Community Development Director Hassan Haghani said no one would be exempt from the rules. Source: Brittany Levine, “City demands removal of artificial grass: Artificial grass apparently isn't greener for local homeowners,” in Glendale News Press, 17 January 2012, available at http://articles.glendalenewspress.com/2012-01-17/news/tn-gnp-0118-city-demands-removal-of-turf_1_artificial-turf-unnatural-surfaces-fake-turf .
[No. 94] Ontario, California (RiversideCounty): Bye-bye artificial turf from home gardens! According to a news report in The Press Enterprise (4 January 2012), the Eastern Municipal Water District (RiversideCounty) “is offering a turf buy-back program as another water conservation tool.” “Customers must remove existing turf irrigated with potable water from an area between 100 and 10,000 square feet, replace the irrigation system and replant with water-wise plants and water-permeable ground cover without using artificial turf. Qualified customers receive a rebate check for $1 per square foot of turf removed. The program has a budget of $100,000, funded by Metropolitan Water District, with Eastern’s staff administering the project, according to board planning committee minutes. The program began in November; turf must be replaced by June 30. The district is offering a free preparation, design and irrigation workshop about how to remove an existing lawn and redesign landscape from 8:30a.m. to noon Jan. 28 at the district’s headquarters in Perris.” (Emphasis added). Source: Wesson, “INLAND: Water district paying customers to remove turf,” in The Press Enterprise, 4 January 2012, available at http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20120105-inland-water-district-paying-customers-to-remove-turf.ece
[No. 93] Nassau County, New York: County shelves plans for artificial turf fields. According to a news item in News Day (27 October 2011), “Nassau County has temporarily shelved plans to install artificial turf ballfields at three area parks, but is proceeding with regular maintenance at the sites, county officials said Wednesday. Earlier this month, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board with control of the county's finances, rejected an $8.1 million contract to install turf ballfields at Cantiague Park...”. Source: Robert Brodsky, “Nassau Artificial Turf Ballfields on Hold,” in News Day, 27 October 2011, available at http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/nassau-artificial-turf-ballfields-on-hold-1.3278593 .
[No. 92]HowardCounty, Maryland: Board of Ed nixes proposed expenditure on artificial turf. According to a news item in The Baltimore Sun (27 October 2011), “Like a veteran quarterback seeing a defensive formation that gives him pause, the county school board has exercised the sensible option and called time out. The Board of Education last week nixed a proposal to use $2 million from the state to build artificial-turf athletic fields at Hammond and Atholton high schools, directing the superintendent and his staff to come up with a new list of priorities for the $4 million total that the state Board of Public Works on Oct. 5 voted to give to Howard County schools for capital projects. “ Source: Editorial (Our View), “School board must make real stand on artificial turf fields,” in The Baltimore Sun, 27 October 2011, available at
[No. 91]: Glendale, California: The city says no to faux front lawns. According to a report in Digital Journal, 17 November 2011, “City leaders in Glendale, California, have approved a ban on artificial grass and have begun issuing warning tickets to violators. Code enforcement officers have issued six warning notices to residents who refuse to remove their artificial lawns which were banned by the city three months ago, reports the Glendale News-Press. Mayor Laura Friedman cited ‘potential health hazards presented by high levels of lead in artificial turf in opposing changes to city codes that would allow property owners to install the faux grass in front yards.’ The city council voted in August to continue the ban on artificial grass in front yards of homes throughout the city.” Source: Kim I. Hartman, “California city bans artificial grass,” in Digital Journal, 17 November 2011, available at http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/314592 .
[No. 90] Redding, Connecticut: Voters defeat turf referendum. According to a news report in The Redding Pilot, 6 October 2011, “Voters turned down a town contribution toward a field conversion at Tuesday’s [October 4] referendum by a vote of 684 to 519, a 165-vote difference. The vote count was greeted by stunned silence from an audience of field supporters.” “Voters were asked whether the town should contribute up to $500,000 for the conversion of Field #2 at the ReddingCommunity Center from an undersized natural grass field into a full size artificial turf field.” “At a town meeting last week, the field issue was discussed but could not be voted on because of a petition that forced the vote to referendum.” Source: Susan Wolf, “Voters say No to money for field work,” in The Redding Pilot, 6 October 2011, available at http://www.acorn-online.com/joomla15/thereddingpilot/news/localnews/104569-voters-say-no-to-money-for-field-work.html
[No. 89]Park Ridge, New Jersey: Voters say “no” to turf field. According to a news report on NorthJerse.com (27 September 2011), “By a vote of 578 to 571, Park Ridge taxpayers defeated a referendum on Sept. 27 that would have redirected $1.4 million from a previously approved referendum to upgrade the Park Ridge High School football field and track. Park Ridge Board of Education Business Administrator Robert Wright said when he left the polls, the total was in a dead heat at 559 apiece. Absentee ballots, 19 no to 12 yes, made the difference.” “A new artificial turf football/soccer field, a resurfaced track and field lighting were all part of the proposed plan….” Source: Kathryn A. Burger, “Turf field in Park Ridge is a 'no-go'” on NorthJersey.com, 27 September 2011, available at http://www.northjersey.com/news/politics/130677548_Turf_field_in_Park_Ridge_is_a__no-go_.html
[No. 88]Montville, New Jersey: Thumbs down on artificial turf field. According to a news report in Neighbor News (28 September 2011), “ It wasn't even close in Montville this week went voters went to the polls to decide whether the Board of Education should spend almost $1 million to install artificial turf on the high school athletic field.
In Morris County where the freeholder race came down to just a handful of votes, the unofficial outcome of the turf question, according to the Morris County Clerk's Office, was 1,357 votes against and 1,171 votes in favor - a difference of 186 votes.” Source: Cindy Forrest, “Voters turn down turf,” in Neighbor News, 28 September 2011, available at http://www.northjersey.com/news/130713518_Voters_turn_down_turf.html
[No. 87] N. Kingstown, Rhode Island: Voters ditch artificial turf project. According to a news item in The Providence Journal (14 September 2011), on Tuesday, 13 September 2011, the voters “rejected a separate bond issue of $850,000 to pay for artificial turf and other improvements at the McGinn Park field, by a 1,281 to 437 vote.”
[No. 86] ] Sacramento, California: Gov vetoes pro-artificial turf bill. According to a news report in Los Angeles Times (July 15, 2011), on July 15, “Gov. Jerry Brown [Democrat] … veto[ed] legislation that would have forced condominium associations in California to give approval when homeowners want to install artificial grass.” “A decision to choose synthetic turf over natural vegetation is best left to individual homeowners associations, not mandated by state law,” Brown wrote in his veto message on Senate Bill 759. Source: Patrick McGreevy “Gov. Brown acts on turf disputes,” in Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2011, available at
[No. 85] Gorham, Maine: Voters defeat artificial turf project. According to a news report in American Journal (June 15, 2011), on June 14, 2011, “According to official results released by the town clerk’s office, 1,272 voters opposed the stadium referendum [with artificial turf for high school varsity teams] while 309 favored the project.” “’I voted no,’ said Matt Rowe. ‘It’s safer to play on real turf and a lot cheaper to maintain.’” Source: Robert Lowell, “Gorham Turf Project Sunk,” in American Journal, June 15, 2011, available at http://www.keepmecurrent.com/american_journal/news/article_925eb63c-979d-11e0-8881-001cc4c03286.html .
[No. 84] Boca Raton, Florida: Park Commissioners knock down artificial turf proposal. According to a news report in Sun-Sentinel (June 22, 2011), on June 20, 2011, the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District voted 3-2 to install sod on athletic fields at the new Spanish River Athletic Facility on former IBM land on Spanish River Boulevard. “The City Council is convinced that turf means more playing time on the fields and less long-term maintenance costs, and has promised that all new city fields will be turf, despite additional up-front costs. District commissioners disagree, citing safety and heat concerns with artificial turf. City figures show installing artificial turf on four new rectangle fields instead of grass could save about $2 million over 10 years. The district estimates turf would cost about $100,000 more than grass for the same period.”
[No. 83] Malden, Mass.: City council fails to pass a measure for a park project that included an artificial turf field. According to a news report in The Boston Globe (May 18, 2011), on May 17, 2011, “Malden City Council … voted down spending more to renovate South Broadway Park, and in doing so, passed up more than $4 million in possible outside funding for the project. The final 6-5 vote in favor of passing the $5.5 million bond fell short of the two-thirds majority required by council rules to approve spending measures. Questionable funding package – it had a turf and lighting component.” Source: Matt Byrne, “Mayor fails to get Council support for Malden park project,” The Boston Globe, May 18, 2011, available at http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-18/yourtown/29557187_1_funding-committee-meeting-cash-strapped-city .
[No. 82] York, Penn.: Educational priorities trump dream of plastic fields and crumb rubber infill. According to an editorial in York Dispatch (May 24, 2011), “In a 5-4 vote, the [Eastern York School District] board decided last week against a $1.7 million project to improve its athletic fields -- which would have included $919,000 for artificial turf at the stadium. Part of that was because of board member Darvin Shelley's change of heart, after suggesting in March the district use money from its capital reserve fund to cover the work. Now he says that money should be used for roof repairs at KreutzCreekValleyElementary School and a possible boiler at Canadochly Elementary.” “[A]s Superintendent Darla Pianowski says, the district will have to spend some money to get the stadium field ‘in playable condition,’ so be it. A bit of grading, seed and water will be a lot easier for most people to swallow than a nearly $1 million playing surface. It’s encouraging when school boards are able to separate their wants from their needs. It unfortunately doesn't happen often enough.” Source: Editorial, “Right call by Eastern,” in York Dispatch, May 24, 2011, available at http://www.yorkdispatch.com/ci_18128318 .
[No. 81] Rockville, Maryland: It is natural grass soccer fields for Potomac and Gaithersburg; health risks of artificial turf cited. According to a news report on WTOP (April 24, 2011), “Despite a report that says artificial turf is better value than grass, Montgomery county will be using the real stuff for new soccer fields in Potomac and Gaithersburg. A county spokesman tells the Gazette they're not considering turf because residents say they only want natural grass, and fears that chemicals in the artificial turf could pose health risks. The county has not ruled out artificial turf on other fields. The 98-page report says that artificial [turf] saves money on maintenance, is safer for players, and causes fewer weather cancellations. However, the report also says that artificial turf can expose players to harmful chemicals, heat-related illnesses and allergic reactions.” Source: “New Montgomery Co. soccer fields will use real grass,” on WTOP, April 24, 2011, available at http://www.wtop.com/?nid=46&sid=2357409 . For more on the same, see Cody Calamaio, “Report says artificial turf a better value for athletic fields; But questions remain over surface's safety,” in Gazette, April 20, 2011, available at http://gazette.net/stories/04202011/chevnew203246_32535.php . A copy of the Report is available http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/atreportwithappendicesapril132011.pdf or click here.
[No. 80] Moorestown, New Jersey: Council kicks artificial turf plan to the curb. According to a news item on Phillyburbs.com (April 6, 2011), “A multimillion-dollar parks improvement proposal went down in defeat late Monday night after it failed to get approval from a supermajority of the Township Council. The $2.85 million bond ordinance, which would have funded improvements and upgrades to JohnD.PryorMemorial Park on Salem Road and WesleyBishopPark on North Church Street, garnered only three of the five council votes.” “Council members Christopher Chiacchio and Stacey Jordan voted against the ordinance, saying the township needs to focus on more pressing issues rather than spend millions on just two parks.” “The project was proposed by the KIDS (Keep Investing and Developing Sports/Recreation) Task Force.
[No. 79] Western Springs, Illinois: Voters give thumbs down to artificial turf. According tonews report on Western Spring Patch (April 5, 2011), “Western Springs voters Tuesday [April 5] gave a resounding ‘no’ to the Park District's referendum to issue $1 million in bonds to pay for the construction of a synthetic turf field in Spring Rock Park. With all precincts reporting, the nays carried the day by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, with 909 "no" votes to 487 in favor. Green signs appeared around the Village on Tuesday, including outside many polling locations, urging residents to vote against the referendum, with the slogan ‘wrong place, wrong plan’ and protesting against raised taxes and environmental effect. No signs appeared in favor of the proposal. The result means that the Village will lose a $500,000 grant from the Township of Lyons obtained to build the field. The field will not be built.” Source: Darren McRoy, “Turf Field Referendum Soundly Defeated At Polls,” in Western Springs Patch, April 5, 2011, available at http://westernsprings.patch.com/articles/turf-field-referendum-soundly-defeated-at-polls .
[No. 78] New Westminster, British Columbia: Council votes down artificial turf for Queen’s Park. According to a news report in New Westminster News Leader(April 13, 2011) “A proposal to expand plans for a Queen's Park artificial turf field has been rejected by New Westminster city council.” A staff report had recommended additional money be spent to make optimal use of the current grass field between Queen's Park Arena and McBride Boulevard. “The change would have eliminated overlapping slo-pitch diamond outfields, provide a larger area for practices and also a place to warm-up for teams waiting to use the field.” Source: Grant Granger, “Proposal to expand plans for Queen's Park artificial field turfed by council,” in New Westminster News Leader, April 13, 2011, available at http://www.bclocalnews.com/greater_vancouver/newwestminsternewsleader/news/119796744.html .
[No. 77] Batavia, New York: Town gives double thumbs down to artificial turf. According to a news story on WBTA (March 30, 2011), “There will be no artificial turf at Batavia’s VanDetta Stadium, at least not anytime soon. Voters in the city school district cast a resounding “no” to spending 3.9-million dollars to upgrade the stadium and other athletic facilities. The vote was 542 in favor, 982 against. School officials said voter turnout was double that of typical budget votes.” Source: Dan Fischer, “Batavia Morning News” on WBTA AM 1490, March 30, 2011, available at http://wbtai.com/LocalNews/tabid/115/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1082/Batavia-Morning-News.aspx
[No. 77] Batavia, New York: Town gives double thumbs down to artificial turf. According to a news story on WBTA (March 30, 2011), “There will be no artificial turf at Batavia’s VanDetta Stadium, at least not anytime soon. Voters in the city school district cast a resounding “no” to spending 3.9-million dollars to upgrade the stadium and other athletic facilities. The vote was 542 in favor, 982 against. School officials said voter turnout was double that of typical budget votes.” Source: Dan Fischer, “Batavia Morning News” on WBTA AM 1490, March 30, 2011, available at http://wbtai.com/LocalNews/tabid/115/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1082/Batavia-Morning-News.aspx
[No. 76] Chicago, Illinois: The Bears will not replace grass with artificial turf. According to a news report in the Chicago Tribune (March 20, 2011), in an interview with the Tribune conducted in New Orleans during the NFL meetings, Bears President Ted Phillips was asked two questions about the future of the playing surface at Soldier Field Stadium. The following are questions and answers in verbatim:
[Q] Have you thought about replacing the grass at Soldier Field with an infill surface?
[A] We won't do that. We've had great success at Soldier Field in December and January. The grass field there will never be top-notch late in the season, but it's more of a perception issue than a real negative issue. The players know how to play on it, and frankly, it's been part of our home-field advantage. If the time ever comes that the technology gives us an infill surface that plays like grass, and more importantly the studies about lower-extremity injuries show there are not quite the discrepancies that they show now, we'll consider making a switch at that time. I don't know that time will ever come. I admit there is no completely conclusive study that's been done, but the tendency in the studies I've seen is that there is too high of an incidence of ankle and knee injuries on infill surfaces versus grass. We have too many millions of dollars tied up in our players to risk that right now.
[Q]What about the argument that the style of football the Bears play is more conducive to an infill surface?
[A] I understand it. I would just say we've had a winning percentage when the field is not top-notch late in the year. And you have to weigh that with the health and safety of the players. I guess I put a little more emphasis on the health and safety of the players versus the need to have a field that is more conducive to speed.
[No. 75] Canandaigua, NY: Third time is no charm - voters still reject artificial turf. According to a news item in the Democrat and Chronicle (January 26, 2011), “A $10 million plan to improve athletic facilities was soundly rejected Tuesday by voters in the CanandaiguaCitySchool District. The proposal that included an artificial turf field at CanandaiguaAcademy was turned down by a vote of 2,318 to 1,390… It was the third time since 2005 that voters in the district rejected capital projects that included artificial turf. The last proposal was rejected in 2008.” Source: Bennett J. Loudon, “Canandaigua voters reject athletics upgrade,” in Democrat and Chronicle, January 26, 2011, available at http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20110126/NEWS01/101260348/1002/NEWS/Canandaigua-voters-reject-athletics-upgrade . For previous reporting on this story, seehttp://www.synturf.org/justwords.html (Item No 33).
[No. 74] Mass. DCR removes rubber mulch from three Boston-area playgrounds. According to a news article in the Jamaica Plain Gazette (December 3, 2010), “the state Department of Conservation has decided to replace the controversial ‘recycled rubber mulch’ ground-cover-made from old tires-with woodchips at three Jamaica Plain, MA playgrounds along the SouthwestCorridorPark.” The decision to remove the rubber mulch came about as the result of the grassroots efforts of JP Moms, “an advocacy group that launched a campaign against the rubber mulch last summer.” The (new) playgrounds subject to the action are “at Amory Street, New Minton Street and Williams Street along the corridor were installed last spring and the rubber mulch groundcover was put in at that time.” For more of the story, go to David Taber, “DCR removes tire mulch from local playgrounds,” Jamaica Plain Gazette, December 3, 2010, available at http://jamaicaplaingazette.com/node/4495 or here.
[No. 73] Sacramento, California: Gov vetoes pro-artificial turf bill. On September 30, 2010, Office of Governor announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed Assembly Bill No. 1793. The bill had sought to make it unlawful if a provision of any of the governing documents of a common interest development would prohibit, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass. The bill was supposed to give the owners of units in common interest developments to be able to install artificial turf in their yards. Many folks liked this idea of faux grass because arguably fake grass needs no water or maintenance. In vetoing the measure, the Governor Schwarzenegger issued the following statement:
I am returning Assembly Bill 1793 without my signature.
This bill would void a provision in the governing documents of a common interest
development (CID) if it prohibits the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass in its landscaping rules and regulations.
CIDs provide a system of self-governance through a community association, responsible for managing, maintaining, and repairing the common areas, and have the authority to enforce special rules. Decisions such as these regarding the use of artificial turf can be made by the homeowners and amended into their governing documents. For this reason I cannot sign this bill.
[No. 72] Marblehead, Mass.: No lack of marbles here, town votes down artificial turf. There are not many more municipal toponyms in Massachusetts that invite a smile than the names of Marblehead, Peabody and Athol – all three of which, according to the detractors of one Endicott "Chub" Peabody, the 62nd Governor of Massachusetts (1963-65) were named after him! That be as it may, the folks in Marblehead are anything but, well, lacking their marbles. According to a news story in The Marblehead Patch (June 17, 2010), “In a resounding vote of 4097 to 1723, Marblehead residents decided against resurfacing Sgt. Christopher Piper Field with artificial material Tuesday during the special election. Conceivably, one of the biggest problems for Marblehead residents is the final bill for such an expense. Many locals claim a synthetic field is not a sound purchase during a time of economic recession. Marblehead Youth Football President and chairman of the citizen Field Turf Committee, Bruce Bial, estimated the cost at $1.5 million, with repair fees averaging $300,000 every 10 years.” Source: Nathaniel Snow, “Override Aftermath: Town Says No To Turf,” in The Marblehead Patch, June 17, 2010, available at http://marblehead.patch.com/articles/town-says-no-to-turf
SynTurf.org Note: According to the same news report, the proponents of the turf field had campaigned on the slogan “Save the Earth, Vote for Turf,” saying the turf is “a more environmentally friendly option because it does not require the current 300,000 gallons of water and various pesticides used each year to maintain Piper Field.” First, this is not an arid or semi arid part of the country requiring that kind of water. Second there are grass technologies that require shorter growing season and have deeper roots and shorter blades – all designed to make the grass drought resistant (less water use). Third, pesticides and fertilizers can be organic.
SynTurf.org endorses the remarks made by Marblehead resident Laura Berham, who told The Patch, “it most definitely does not save the earth; it’s actually an inappropriate use of the earth we're entrusted to protect.” “Shredded tires make up the base of synthetic fields, and research shows these particles can contain dangerous levels of lead, zinc, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and selenium. This creates a scenario for possible chemical run-off, which can end up in local bodies of water, including the ocean. Also, these chemicals can be very harmful if inhaled by athletes according to Berham.” “Another safety issue revolves around the increased heat-absorption properties of turf, which are considered dangerous to play on in extremely warm weather. On average, artificial fields are ten degrees warmer than their grass counterparts.”
[No. 71] HinghamMass.: Voters turn down artificial turf for Ward Street fields. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. June 15, 2010. According to the town’s website, “For the 20th time, Hingham has been named “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of the Town’s commitment to tree care and planting in 2007. Nevertheless, in its infinite wisdom, dictated by “community-minded” do-gooders we about to install artificial turf fields, and floodlights in area that is “mostly surrounded by a curtain of towering trees, barely visible from any houses,” according to Brian McGrory, a columnist for The Boston Globe. Perhaps for that reason and other considerations, the members of the Town Meeting decided to vote down in April 2010 the plan to desecrate this landscape with plastic playing fields. But according to McGrory, “So here we go again. The minority of petulant prima donnas had their way, leaving common sense — and the common good — in the dark.”
According to an item in the WickedLocal.com (Hingham Journal) (June 11, 2010) – “Town Meeting voters said “no” to 80-foot lights at the proposed privately funded Ward Street turf fields in April. As a result, project proponents are revising the layout for the project. “Basically, the two-field concept remains, retaining the existing grass field and then proposing to construct the new field of natural grass, with parking, on the surplus parcel controlled by the Selectmen,” said Jeffery Tocchio, attorney for the Ward Street Fund, in an email to the Hingham Journal. “No lighting is proposed, and fencing will be limited to the ends of the field (to protect people and parked vehicles).”
[No. 70] Bath, Maine: Voters say no to artificial turf. According to a news story in The Times Record (June 9, 2010), “Bath residents voted decisively Tuesday [June 8, 2010] to reject a $300,000 bond to cover the installation of artificial turf on McMann Field. According to unofficial results this morning June 9], 1,522 residents voted against the bond and 861 voted in favor of it. As a result, the ambitious, but controversial, project was dealt a serious blow.” “The City Council twice approved the bond by a 5-4 vote, but a subsequent citizens’ petition drive gathered 1,024 signatures to overturn the council decision and put the issue to a citywide vote. Opponents of the bond called the spending “frivolous” and worried that the annual $35,000 loan payments would increase taxes during a poor economy. But supporters insisted that the city would generate enough revenues through use of the new field that it would cover its annual loan payments and sock money away for an eventual replacement of the surface in the future.” For more of the story, please see Seth Koenig, “Bath voters nix turf loan,” in The Times Record, June 9, 2010, available at http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2010/06/09/news/doc4c0fc0a6792c0549716584.txt .
SynTurf.org Note: According to the news story, the plan claimed to rely “on revenues that could have come from the rental of the facility, new programs added because of the extra capacity and new advertising on the fencing at McMann Field.” Taken together, these “goodies” heralded a degradation of the environment, congestion, ghetto-ization of the field, and pollution. Is it any wonder the measure went to defeat?
[No. 69] Jacksonville Jaguars go with grass practice field! According to a news report in The Florida Times-Union (May 17, 2010), “The Jaguars decided they no longer need a practice field with an artificial surface. They are tearing up their FieldTurf surface and replacing it with grass so they’ll be able to rotate their practices on three grass fields.” According to coach Jack Del Rio, “Years ago, when you had the old-fashioned artificial turf, you used the basketball shoe on them. It was a completely different surface,” but now “FieldTurf is so similar to grass that the players use the same cleats they use on grass.” “There comes a time when you’re either going to have put in a new one or go to grass,” Del Rio said. “Going to grass and having three fields make a lot of sense. And for our fans, it brings some of the action under the lights closer to them, which will be a positive.” Source: Vito Stellino, “Jaguars Notebook: Team keeping it real by adding grass practice field,” in The Florida-Times-Union, May 17, 2010, available at http://jacksonville.com/sports/football/jaguars/2010-05-17/story/jaguars-notebook-team-keeping-it-real-adding-grass-practice?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=gardening .
[No. 68] Monroe, New York: Voters say no to artificial turf fields. According to a news report in The Photo News (May 21, 2010), on May 18, the voters in the Monroe-Woodbury School District approved a $147 million spending plan for the 2010-11 school year by more than 800 votes and also gave the go-ahead to replace 10 buses. But when it came to the artificial turf field, 3,331 voters defeated the measure “to install a multi-use synthetic athletic field at a cost of $1.69 million.” For more on the vote, see Bob Quinn, “M-W voters approve $147M budget, reject $1.7M synthetic field and return Budich to school board, in The Photo News, May 21, 2010, available at http://www.strausnews.com/articles/2010/05/22/photo_news/news/1.txt .
[No. 67] Chicago, Illinois: Da Bears pick manly grass over plastic due to risk of injury. According to a news report in The Chicago Tribune (May 13, 2010), the Chicago Bears are not interested in converting the Soldier Filed playing surface from grass to artificial turf, even though the Chicago Park District has been interested in changing the surface. “One of the complicating factors is the Bears still are awaiting results of a league study on injuries incurred on infill playing surfaces. They are concerned because preliminary findings have suggested lower leg injuries occur at a higher rate on infill.” According to Bears President Ted Phillips, “The Chicago Bears will always put a premium on player safety. Each year we will continue to discuss the pros and cons of grass and infill surfaces, and then make a decision.” Source: Dan Pompei, “Bears will stick with grass at Soldier Field: They have safety issues with substituting artificial surface,” in The Chicago Tribune, May 13, 2010, available at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-05-13/sports/ct-spt-0514-bears-chicago--20100513_1_bears-president-ted-phillips-infill-soldier-field .
SynTurf.org Note: We could not resist the characterization of the decision by the Bears to stay with natural grass as a manly act. In apiece headlined “Soldier Field Stays Grass. Real Manly Men Everywhere Rejoice,” Shea Johnson of BlogDownChicagoBears.com (May 14, 2010) (available at http://www.blogdownchicagobears.com/2010/05/14/soldier-field-stays-grass-real-manly-men-everywhere-rejoice/ ) wrote, “[C]consider news that Soldier Field will not install any type of artificial turf this season a win for tough, meat-eating, red-blooded Americans.” That said, Johnson continues, “All I know is that members of the Bears seem to be in favor of change: Of 36 polled by the Tribune last December, only 12 wanted to remain with grass, none of whom were speed position players (wide receivers, defensive ends and defensive backs). This flies in the face of the NFL Players Association Survey (2008) in which87.8% (43) of the 49 responding believedartificial turf filed are more likely to contribute to injury than natural grass. For the NFL Players Association Survey, go to http://www.synturf.org/playersview.html (Item No. 24) or http://www.synturf.org/images/2008_NFLPA_Surface_Survey.pdf .
[No. 66] Rutherford, New Jersey: School playground to go from rubber to wood mulch. In June 2009, SynTurf.org reported on the burning down of the Lincoln School Playground in Rutherford, New Jersey. The underlay of the playground was made of vulcanized rubber. This is the same material from which rubber mulch and crumb rubber for artificial turf fields are made (For details, seehttp://www.synturf.org/warnings.html (Item No. 47). According to a news report in the South Bergenite (March 18, 2010), the LincolnSchool fire was an act of arson by an 11-year-old who accumulated a pile of leaves at the playground and lit it with a lighter. The Rutherford fire officials indicated that no accelerant was used, but didn’t rule out that a contributor to the fire was the rubberized play surface. At the time of the Lincoln School fire, Consumer Reports “conducted a study where it placed a lit match on a tray of both rubber mulch and wood mulch and concluded the rubber mulch burned faster and hotter, creating a more severe fire that was harder to put out than the one in the wood mulch.”
Now, a year later, the lessons learned from that incident is now being applied to the playground at WashingtonSchool. According to the South Bergenite, “WashingtonSchool playground will get a new play surface within the next couple of weeks after officials are concerned that the synthetic rubber playground surface could be highly flammable.” “oon after the LincolnSchool fire, the South Bergenite tested the rubber mulch surface that lies underneath the WashingtonSchool playground and the results were astonishing. With just a flick of lighter, a pile of the recycled rubber ignited and burned into a molten ash in just seconds.” The work will entail the “upheaval of the equipment at WashingtonSchool, take out the rubber mulch surface and replace it with wood mulch, the same surface laid down at the brand new LincolnSchool playground this past summer in the wake of the blaze.” Source: Lamendola, “WashingtonSchool play surface to be changed out,” in South Bergenite, March 18, 2010, available at http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/88323302_Play_area_to_swap_rubber_for_wood_chips.html .
[No. 65] Middletown, New Jersey: Budget woes scraps artificial turf plans. According to a news report in the Holmdel Independent (April 6, 2010), on April 5, the town “officials laid to rest any and all plans for the construction of turf fields in Middletown.” “’There’s no way, in this economic climate when people’s jobs are hanging in the balance, we could go ahead with a project like that,’ Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger said of the turf field project.” “Township officials assured residents that they would still make efforts to repair and maintain the fields, which residents indicated were in poor condition. ‘Field maintenance and field improvements can still be addressed through the capital budget; the issue is there is no plan at this point to proceed with building synthetic turf fields … anywhere,’ [Town administrator] Mercantante said.” Source: Andrew Davison, “Tough economic times sink Middletown turf fields,” in Holmdel Independent, April 6, 2010, available at http://independent.gmnews.com/news/2010-04-08/Front_Page/Tough_economic_times_sink_Middletown_turf_fields.html .
[No. 64] Coal City, Illinois: High School goes with natural grass. According to a news item in the Morris Daily Herald (March 17, 2010), “One month after turning down the artificial turf option, CoalCityUnitSchool District 1 gained its footing Monday with regards to providing a quality surface for its football field at a reasonable cost. Board members gave their verbal consent for district officials to revive the field surface using a process called ‘top dressing.’” “Top dressing is a process that involves a machine moving across the field, spreading dirt in the low spots and dropping a small layer of top soil across the top. The process then involves reseeding and fertilizing over the soil.” The process smooths out the field and helps maintain the crown on the field. The “process will prevent the district from having to resod and recrown the football field in the future. It has been more than 10 years since the district has resodded and recrowned its field.”
In terms of the economics - The primary reason for going with top dressing“was due to the significant price tag for installation [of artificial turf], which amounted to about $600,000. Along with the cost of installation, the district would also face the likelihood in eight years of having to pay about $325,000 to replace the turf.” “Instead of the $70,000 cost to resod and recrown, top dressing would cost approximately $15,000 the first year, including $9,000 for the top dressing process alone. As part of that first-year cost, the district was advised to first put in a synthetic, clay-like product called DuraPlay, which would cost $6,000.” After that, the district “would be looking a recurring cost of about $9,000 a year to top dress, which means you can do a lot of top dressing for the cost of having to resod and recrown the football field.” For more of the story, go to Mark Malone, “CCHS opts to 'revive' football field,” in Morris Daily Herald, March 17, 2010, available at http://www.morrisdailyherald.com/articles/2010/03/16/52168039/index.xml .
[No. 63] Michigan Center, Michigan: School Boards ditches turf field, goes with natural grass. According to a news report in the Jackson Citizen Patriot, Match 8, 2010, “The Michigan Center School Board turned down a proposal Monday to seek bids on installing synthetic turf on its football field, favoring a new natural grass field instead.
The board voted 3-4 on the artificial turf proposal with President Gerald Holda, Mike Edwards, Debra Kruse and Ralph Branham all dissenting. The board then unanimously approved seeking bids to install a grass field and revamp the track.” “The estimated cost of grass is $90,000, compared to $480,000 for turf, Superintendent David Tebo said.” Source: Claire Cummings, “Michigan Center School Board turns down proposal to install synthetic turf in football field, favors natural grass,” in Jackson Citizen Patriot, March 8, 2010, available at http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2010/03/michigan_center_school_board_s.html .
[No. 62] Santa Ana, Costa Rica: Municipality will go with a grass field, because of lower cost, the environment, profitability and health. According to a news story on Nacion.com (February 2, 2010), the municipality of Santa Ana in Costa Rica is installing grass in its stadium because it is cheaper, more ecologically sound, and allows more uses than artificial surfaces. The trend in Costa Rica is for artificial turf – the country’s national league has the most artificial turf surfaces than nay other. Panama is second. The Santa Ana surface installation will cost $400,000, less than the Alajuelenses’ $1.2 million and Herediano’s (Rosabal Cordero) $750,000 for artificial turf. The field has a drainage infiltration system that drains 100 liters of water per minute and a fiber that attaches the grass and prevents it from bending. The natural pitch has a lifespan of about 30 years, against an artificial 7, and a monthly maintenance cost of around $900. Gerardo Oviedo, mayor of Santa Ana, said he received offers for a synthetic pitch, instead he turned “to natural because it is cheaper, environmentally friendly, profitable and healthy.” Source: Juan Jose Herrera, “Cancha con grama natural desafía modelos sintéticos,” on Nacion.com (February 2, 2010) valuable at http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2010/febrero/02/deportes2247074.html (for pdf click here). (with thanks to Frank Dell’Apa).
[No. 61] Poway, California: No artificial turf field for Arbolitos Sports Field? According to a news report in the North County Times (San Diego, December 27, 2009, the Poway Soccer League’s plans to install artificial turf at Arbolitos Sports Field may not materialize. “A report prepared by city staffers on the Poway Youth Soccer League's request to install the turf has concluded that there is a ‘strong probability’ that the fields would be flooded during the life of the turf, possibly voiding its warranty and leaving the city with a replacement cost of more than $1 million, and creating water-quality concerns. “[T]he staff report found that water running off the flooded synthetic field raised significant environmental concerns.” The City Council is scheduled to discuss the league's request on January 5, 2010. Source: Gary Warth, “Poway: City report recommends against artificial turf at playing field,” in North County Times, December 27, 2009, available at http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/poway/article_92ecfb38-4ca2-5dc2-ac47-59c671613c3d.html .
According to another news report on the same story, in Union-Tribune, December 25, 2009, the “artificial fields won’t work because the two existing turf fields are in a flood basin, and if and when the area floods, the fields would be destroyed.” “A report prepared by Robert Manis, the city’s director of development services, also said water-quality concerns exist because artificial turf is made of loose rubber granules at the base of the blades, which could be washed downstream during rains and flooding. ‘The Regional Water Quality Control Board was consulted, and they concur with these concerns when artificial turf is proposed in proximity to a storm-drain system,’ Manis wrote. Consequently, it is staff’s opinion that artificial turf is not appropriate for this location.” Source: J. Harry Jones, “Artificial turf not likely at fields,” in Union-Tribune, December 25, 2009, available at http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/25/artificial-turf-not-likely-fields/ .
[No. 60] Salinas, California: No artificial turf for the place of eternal rest. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. January 2, 2010. A few summers ago, two of this site’s researchers were out in Cambridge, Mass., looking to locate a public view of an artificial turf field at a private school bordering a cemetery. A peculiar sign greeted them as they drove through the front gate of the cemetery: “Please no plastic flowers.” The two got a chuckle out of this display, wondering what if one day artificial turf replaced the greens in the cemeteries as well. A briefresearch on the Internet produced a few stories on golf courses and cemeteries at the time actually contemplating on going faux, as did a few race tracks and airports. Each would have its own reason for ripping out the dirt track and natural grass and replacing it with lifeless plastic cover. The irony of it all was the most pointed with regard to cemeteries.
According to a news report in The Herald (MontereyCounty, December 29, 2009), the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas will be removing the artificial turf that presently covers 5% of the grounds. The previous management had installed it in hopes of reducing maintenance and watering costs. “It catches a lot of people’s eyes and they think it’s great, but it can get really messy,” said Maria Cardenas, cemetery office manager. According to The Herald, “Since April, current management has found the artificial turf is difficult to work with, Cardenas said. In the rain, the synthetic grass is slippery, and it can be ruined when digging graves. Krassow said the artificial turf doesn’t work with the design plan that aims to make the cemetery more visually appealing. ‘There are no vertical elements. It's flat,’ he said. ‘We want to get some trees in place.’ The existing lawn — the area without artificial turf — should be aerated and fertilized. ‘That hasn't happened in a long time,’ he said. Overall, the grounds of the cemetery, which opened more than 100 years ago, are well-maintained, but some improvements can make it more attractive, Krassow said. ‘Planting some new trees will really help,’ he said.” Source:
SynTurf.org Note: When people arrange for their burial spot or loved one’s select a location for interment of their departed they seek a pleasant surrounding, typically a natural setting, with trees, water, flowers, shrubs and like. One must wonder to what extent this expectation plays into signing the dotted line before spending thousands of one’s dollars for grave site and what if the cemetery then chooses to turn the place into a ghetto complete with artificial and plastic ground cover. One can only assume that an action my lie against the operators of the cemetery. And who would righten the one who’s turned in his grave?
[No. 59] Marrickville, Australia: Council votes down artificial turf, goes with natural grass. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. December 13, 2009. Marrickville is a suburb of Sydney (New South Wales), Australia, consisting of low and high density residential, commercial and light industrial areas. The Arlington Recreation Reserve at Dulwich Hill serves as one of the area’s local sporting fields, which is used by two soccer clubs for practice and competition. The surface of the playing field has been in a state of disrepair for sometime; it has been 15 years since it was repaired or replaced.
The municipal government – Marrickville Council -- proposed a resurfacing option that would have replaced the natural grass surfaces to artificial turf. The neighboring community did not like the idea one bit and so it mobilized against the project. Save Arlington Reserve set up a website/blog at http://savearlingtonreserve.wordpress.com/.
The website is actually maintained by one of the local Greens Councillors! The organizers included Dr. Gavin Edwards, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at University of New South Wales, with qualifications in the areas of organic and medicinal chemistry, having taught senior level environmental toxicology at UNSW.On September 20, 2009, Edwards submitted an extensive brief against the project to the Council. For a copy of the brief, click here.
In a letter to SynTurf.org, Edwards informs that on Tuesday night, December 8, 2009, “the Council voted 10-1 in favour of resurfacing the ground with natural grass. As you might expect, under Australian law, Councillors are bound to look after their constituents. The local residents raised mnay issues, including some legal and scientific arguments. I provided the latter,” he wrote. For a news media coverage of this story, please go to: http://www.torchpublishing.com.au/editorial/news_detail.yuma?ID=66704 .
[No. 58] Costa Rica national stadium will be a grass field. According to a news report on Nacion.com (November 24, 2009), Costa Rica has decided on a grass field for its national stadium. The Chinese government is donating the $85 million stadium. It would cost $500,000 less to install natural grass and, besides, “it’s a field less prone to injury,” according to Pandolfo, the vice-minister for sports. Source: Rodrigo Calvo, “El nuevo Estadio Nacional tendrá gramilla natural,” on Nacion.com, November 24, 2009, available here (thanks toFrank Dell'Apa).
[No. 55] Connecticut: Some playgrounds remove rubber mulch. According to a news story in the Greenwich Citizen (October 2, 2009), “GreenwichAcademy wanted to take a proactive stance to protect its young students on the Academy school playgrounds. So, the school recently replaced the shredded tire rubber mulch surface of its five playgrounds with a new ‘environmentally sound’ wood material called Fibar.” This followed a “similar replacement by the WhitbySchool in the spring.” “Town playgrounds are also making the switch, said Bruce Spaman, Superintendent of Parks and Trees.” For more go to, Anne W. Semmes, “Recycled tire mulch replaced on GreenwichAcademy playgrounds,” Greenwich Citizen, October 2, 2009, available at http://www.greenwichcitizen.com/localnews/ci_13467657 .
[No. 53] MLB’s turf wars are nearing the end. According to a piece on SI.com (September 24, 2009), Artificial turf goes way of the dead ball.“After the Minnesota Twins play their Metrodome finale on Oct. 4 and open Target Field next April 12, just two non-grass fields will remain in the major leagues: the Rogers Centre in Toronto and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. That’s down from a high of 10 artificial surfaces, in 1977-78 and again from 1982-94. While colleges and high schools actually are installing more faux fields - to accommodate multiple sports - artificial turf is unloved by Major League Baseball.” For more on the story, please go to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/wires/09/24/2010.ap.bbo.turf.wars.1st.ld.writethru.adv26.1481/#ixzz0SCB6qFPJ .
[No. 53] Toronto: Adios to BMO Field’s artificial turf. According to a news story in The Globe and Mail, September 12, 2009, “Two days after Danny Dichio stepped away from the game of soccer as a player to become a coach with Toronto FC, the club and the city agreed on a field improvement that might have lengthened his career. The board of governors for Exhibition Place on Friday approved plans by Maple Leafs Sport & Entertainment to install natural grass to replace the body-busting artificial surface used by Toronto FC for soccer matches.” “As part of a proposal that would see MLSE spend a total of $5.5-million at BMO Field, Lamport Stadium and a site in Etobicoke near Lakeshore Lions Arena, the pro sport group said it was offering Toronto a “no risk” upgrade of the rapidly degenerating artificial surface.” According to the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, “We need this stadium to be the national stadium and the home of Canadian soccer. It’s obviously the right thing to do. If we don’t grasp the opportunity,” the CSA [Canadian Soccer Association] would take its base for the world’s most popular game elsewhere in Canada. “Besides, as a season ticket holder for the home pros, he said, ‘TFC’s success would be more likely,’ on a real grass field. Dichio said his career would have been longer if his knees and wonky back hadn’t been subjected to constant jolts on asphalt or concrete-based fields. ‘I can only compare it to an ice hockey team always having to play and practice on glass. You’re slipping. It’s not good for bones... if it doesn’t cause injuries, it’s certainly no help in the recovery process.’” For more on this story, see “Time for a field of grass: MLSE - Owners of Toronto FC asks Exhibition Place board of directors for approval to replace artificial surf with the real stuff, plan gets instant backing of players,” in The Globe and Mail, September 12, 2009, available at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/time-for-a-field-of-grass-mlse/article1283901/ .
[No. 52] Minneapolis, Minn: Twins opt for real grass in new venue. According to a news report in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal (August 24, 2009), at 10 PM on Monday, August 24, 2009, crews would “begin installing grass at Target Field.” Te installation would be complete in four days. “Target Field, scheduled to open in April 2010, will have a complex heating, irrigation and drainage system beneath the grass. The Twins haven’t played on grass since leaving Bloomington’s Metropolitan Stadium at the end of the 1981 season. The Metrodome has artificial turf.” For more on the story, see John Vomhof Jr., “Target Field gets its grass Monday,” in Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, August 24, 2009, available at http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2009/08/24/daily9.html .
[No. 51] New York City’s Public Advocate calls for removal of turf fields. According to a news report in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (June 18, 2009), “Reflecting concerns raised by an internal memo by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and public interest organizations have again called on the city to schedule the replacement of artificial turf fields in parks throughout New York.” [For coverage of EPA on turf, go to http://www.synturf.org/epa.html ]. The EPA memo, sent in 2008 but not revealed until early this month, said that until a full study was performed, the EPA should take a neutral stance instead of approving of using shredded recycled tires, called crumb rubber, for play areas.” “It appears that there are valid reasons to take a broader perspective of all potential risks associated with crumb rubber,” said the memo.
Last December, the Public Advocate, who is an elected official, asked for a moratorium on the installation of new turf fields in the city. Seehttp://www.synturf.org/moratoriums.html (Item No. 15).
[No. 50] Western Michigan: Several turf funding measures go down in defeat.On Tuesday, May 5, 20009, the voters in West Michigan turned down some bond proposals and approved others. According to a news report in The Muskegon Chronicle (May 6, 2009), the voters in Montague defeated the proposal for athletic facility improvements, including artificial turf for the football stadium. In Reeths-Puffer, the voters nixed a high school renovation plan that included installation of artificial turf at the football and soccer fields. In Muskegon, the voters approved a proposal that included improvements to Hackley Stadium that do not include artificial turf. In Whitehall, the voters nixed defeated a proposal that would have spent $16 million for an outdoor athletic complex at the high school, with a stadium for soccer and football with artificial turf. Source: Lynn Moore and Marla Miller, “Fruitport voters nix bond proposal; Fremont OKs new high school”, in The Muskegon Chronicle, May 6, 2009), available athttp://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2009/05/fruitport_voters_nix_new_high_1.html .
[No. 49] Friday Harbor, Wash.: Residents says “no” to rubber mulch/crumb in playground.SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. April 26, 2009. Last summer,According to a news report in the San Juan Journal (April 22, 2009), last summer, the PTA leaders and the principal at Friday Harbor Elementary School, Jody Metzger, selected crumb rubber as the surface material for the newly planned playground. The PTA had raised the money for the new playground equipment called the Big Toy, and the school district appropriated $10,000 for the crumb rubber. The crumb rubber, cut up pieces of used tires, was picked because the PTA and principal “felt it provided the best safety in the event of falls.” The playground was put in August and by September a group of parents began to call for its removal. “[S]some parents complained about the mess, some said the odor prompted asthma attacks, some feared negative health impacts from continued exposure to the material and the chemicals it contains.” “Some parents said it was impossible to push a wheelchair across the loose material, and that it thus violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A letter-writing campaign was followed by a petition drive and the filing of a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
The school district agreed to resolve concerns about accessibility, by placing a mat across the crushed rubber pieces, the opponents pressed for the removal of the crumb. In October 2008, the board authorized the formation of a committee composed of board members and parents - Playground Underlayment Committee - to replace the crumb rubber with the stipulation that it would do so with the goal of no net cost to the school district. The committee raising over $7,000 in contributions and on March 7-8, 2009, a group of 60 volunteers removed the crumb rubber and replaced it with $6,000’s worth of engineered wood fiber. The crumb was collected and sold to Horseshu Ranch for $2,000.
Sources: Source: Richard Walker, “New use for crumb rubber: Horse arena surface,” in San Juan Journal, April 22, 2009, available at
The committee deserves kudos for its work and the result that it obtained. The accomplishment would have been all the better had the school district paid for the replacement of the crumb. If the product was deemed a health hazard and, arguably, not in compliance with the ADA, then legal and financial responsibility for the crumb rubber had to have rested with the district and its negligence in drafting the specifications for the project. These residents are entitled to reimbursement and the school board owes them a massive thank-you for their toil and treasure. Moreover, the board and the municipal authorities owe them a ton of gratitude for removing from their midst a product that could have exposed the children to harm that would have cost the community far more in damages down the line. Finally, a note to parents and PTAs elsewhere -- please insist on getting involved in the design and review of the specifications for a playground or playing field project prior to it going out to bid. Insist on alternatives to crumb rubber, synthetic surfaces and plastic grass.
[No. 48]Kenilworth, Ill.: Voters says “no” to turf on principle! According to a news story in Wilmette Life (April 8, 2009), on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, “Kenilworth voters sent a message to their commissioners on the Park Board. The majority who went to the polls Tuesday said they do not want a major renovation to Townley Field, be it with grass or artificial turf. A citizens group is willing to pay for replacing the grass in two-thirds of the park with an artificial surface, which could better stand up to the year-round use the park gets. But when the question, whether residents supported using private donations to pay for installation of an artificial turf, was put on the ballot, a majority of voters said "no": 562 (81 percent) to 128 (19 percent).” Here are some experts from the news story:
Several voters said they believed artificial turf is not as safe a play surface as grass. The Park District also asked voters whether they favored renovating Townley Field with grass, if it might cause the district to raise property taxes to pay for the rehab. Again, a majority of the people who went to the polls Tuesday voted “no,” although it was closer, with 387 people (55 percent) voting “no” and 312 (45 percent) voting “yes.” “I voted ‘yes’ for grass,” Debby Killion said. “I have concerns about the health issues of synthetic turf.” She mentioned “excessive heat” on turf during warm weather and the possibility that the materials used in the turf could “leach heavy metals into the water.” Her husband, Kevin Killion, said he voted “no” to both referendum questions. “No” to an artificial surface, he said, because "my big concern is open space. In a community that doesn't have much park space, we need to preserve what we’ve got.” Townley Field is more than an athletic field, he said. “People have picnics there, people fly kites.” Kevin Killion said he also voted “no” to a renovation with grass because “the time isn’t right. We don’t need to spend extra money right now.”
Charlene Washburn said she voted against an artificial surface “because I like things natural.”Ann Potter and her daughter Claire said they both voted against using private money to install an artificial turf on principle. “I don’t think private individuals should dictate what happens to public space,” Claire Potter said. Ann Potter said, in addition to having “questions about the efficacy of artificial turf,” she opposed it because she considers it “the ceding of public space to the preferences of private individuals.” If the group who had pledged to pay for a new artificial turf had offered to pay for either option, grass or synthetic turf, according to the wishes of the voters, “that would be different,” she said.
[No. 47] Maplewood, NJ: Township council votes for natural grass playing field at DeHartPark. Five months ago the residents of Maplewood voted down a $2.2 million proposal to refurbish DeHartPark, including an artificial turf field. According to anew report in The Star-Ledger (April 8, 2009), on April 7, 2009, township committee voted to issue $1.9 million in bonds, but this time the project includes “a natural grass field instead of the earlier proposed artificial turf, [which] will preempt any significant criticism of the $2.2 million project.” For the rest of the story, please go to Source: Richard Khavkine, “Maplewood to refurbish DeHartPark,” in The Star-Ledger,
[No. 46] Deerfield Beach, Florida: City ordains a ban on use of artificial turf in landscaping.On March 17, 2009, the Deerfield Beach City Commission outlawed the use of artificial turf for required landscape areas. The measure became effective immediately, requiring that homeowners give up the turf on the property by March 17, 2011. The action item on the Commission’s agenda (http://www.deerfield-beach.com/archives/32/031709.pdf) provided for “An ordinance of the City Commission of the City of Deerfield Beach, Florida, limiting the use of artificial turf for required landscape areas; providing for inclusion in the City Code; providing for severability; and providing for an effective date action.”
According to a news report in South Florida Sun-Sentinel (March 26, 2009), the ordinance was called for by the residents of Starlight Cove, an association community and West Deerfield Beach. The vice president of Starlight Cove told the Commission that the aesthetic grounds for removal of the turf spoke for itself, and “Then, there are the health and safety reasons.”
The Commission also heard from Philip Busey, associate professor of environmental horticulture (turf) at the University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and EducationCenter. “According to his research, real grass filters water as it seeps into the aquifer, provides wildlife habitat and shade, sequestration of carbon dioxide and generation of oxygen. Busey stated green carpeting, by whatever definition, provides none of those. Artificial turf breeds infectious organisms, heats up to temperatures that are 87 degrees warmer than asphalt and 86 degrees warmer than natural turf, according to Busey. Considering artificial turf as an alternative to a grassed landscape is similar to considering a green cardboard cutout of a tree as an alternative to a tree, Busey pointed out in his document.” Elizabeth Roberts, “City pulls rug from artificial turf owners,” in South Florida Sun-Sentinel (March 26, 2009), available at http://www.sun-sentinel.com/community/news/deerfield_beach/sfl-fldffturf0326dffmar26,0,7264397.story .
[No. 45] San Carlos, Calif.: Youth Council votes down turf field.According to a news report in The Daily Journal (March 21, 2009), on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, the San Carlos Youth Advisory Council voted 5-4 to recommend the City Council not move forward with synthetic turf on the Highlands Park Lower Athletic Field. “The San Carlos Youth Advisory Council, a group of middle school and high school students who offer opinions to the City Council, prefers to see the money spent on less expensive projects with a broader community benefit,” reports the Journal. Source: Michelle Durand, “Youth against artificial turf,” in The Daily Journal, March 21, 2009, available at http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=107155 . SynTurf.org has learned, the City Council will meet on April 13 to consider, among other things, the Youth Advisory Council’s decision. The opponents of the project would be out in force picketing the meeting.
[No.44] Manchester, New Jersey: The “nays” have it, again. According to a news item in the Asbury Park Press (March 11, 2009), on March 10, 2009, the voters in Manchester decisively voted against a referendum measure that sought to install an artificial turf field at the high school athletic complex. Fearing that the vote against the turf might sink also the funding for non-athletic items, the town put up two referenda. Both went to defeat, however. The vote ditching the turf dreams was 2,906 against and 1,542 for turf. A referendum to this effect also was defeated in December 2008. For more on this story and the reasons why people voted as they did, please go to Michael Amsel, “Manchester votes down facilities again in referendum,” in Asbury Park Press, March 11, 2009, available at http://www.app.com/article/20090311/NEWS02/903110357/1280/LOCAL04&source=rss .
[No. 42] Peru: At the National Stadium, it’s out with the artificial turf, in with natural grass. In a news article published on the webzine Living in Peru (February 3, 2009), “Arturo Woodman, the head of the Peruvian Sports Institute confirmed that the Andean country's government had approved the funds to revamp the national stadium in Lima.
This is an effort the government is making through the Ministry of Education.” “The main changes was that natural grass would be planted. Woodman affirmed that the synthetic grass the stadium had was constantly being criticized.” Source: “Peru to spend 20 million soles on improvements to National Stadium,” in Living in Peru, February 3, 2009, available at http://www.livinginperu.com/news/8274 .
[No. 41] San Jose: Calif.: School district says “no,” to fake grass on environmental and health grounds.According to a news story in The Mercury News (January 22, 2009),“After hearing from dozens of parents concerned that synthetic turf may contain harmful toxins and can be too hot for children to play on, San Jose Unified trustees voted Thursday [January 22, 2009] evening against plans to replace the current grass field at Trace Elementary School with synthetic turf.” Trustees Richard Garcia, Veronica Lewis and Leslie Reynolds voted against the turf project; trustee Jorge Gonzalez voted for it. Pam Foley was absent. According to the Mercury, “The grass-roots victory left Trace parents jubilant. For months, they have been meeting at Starbucks, researching turf safety studies online, lobbying board members and putting together a ‘Parents for Real Grass’ Web site.” “On Thursday, Trace parents spoke about the need for children to have more natural green space in their lives, not less. One speaker talked of children having a ‘nature deficit disorder.’ Trace parents also focused on other concerns about exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and bacteria.”
[No.40] Bentonville, Arkansas: Parks & Rec says “ no” to turf soccer fields; City to continue using grass fields, with more rigorous maintenance. In May 2008, the Parks and Recreation Director for Bentonville sought to replace the grass on seven of the practice soccer fields at Memorial Park with artificial turf. Fast forward to January 2009. The proposal is dead. According to an article in the Benton County Daily Record (January 15, 2009), the Parks & Recreation’s new director, David Wright, has nixed the project. The reasoning behind the decision is best expressed in his own words, as reported by the Daily:
If the city had decided to change to artificial turf, it would have been a “complete overhaul,” he said. Wright also said he's read studies that cite problems with artificial-turf fields. “There was a handful of parks departments across the country that had artificial-turf fields in a couple of their parks. The experiment had not gone originally as planned,” he said. For example, in some cases in which blood is spread on the turf during a game, it increases the potential for spreading diseases. “I don't think it's the best route to take,” Wright said. “Let's come back in and crown the fields the way they need to be crowned,” Wright said. “Let's utilize gravity as our friend (and) put proper grades on the fields,” he said. Source: Eleanor Evans “City foregoes artificial soccer turf,” in Benton County Daily Record, January 15, 2009, available at http://www.nwanews.com/bcdr/News/69796/ .
[No. 39]Irvington, NY says “no” to turf, mostly over process and environmental concerns. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. December 18, 2008. On Wednesday, December 17, 2008, the voters in the IrvingtonSchool District (Irvington, NY) voted down a $6 million bond referendum to finance the replacement of the natural grass field at the IrvingtonHigh-MiddleSchool with artificial turf. In better economic times, two years earlier, the bond measure also failed, but by a narrower margin. Yesterday, the electorate let it be known that environmental concern also weighed on the final tally – Proposition 1: 387 (yeas) versus 1,358 (nay); Proposition 2: 322 (yes) versus 1215 (nay). This time around, the Environmental Conservation Board got directly involved in a matter that the school district wished it had not. The ECB was openly critical of the Board of education for not doing its homework. A news story in The Journal News, the days before the vote statedthat the Board “failed to perform a thorough review of safety and environmental concerns of the proposed field and that it led the public to believe studies of synthetic turf all concluded it is safe.” “This was a very result-oriented process. The outcome was predetermined and the objective was to assemble material that would help make a case,” Thomas Jackson, chairman of the conservation board, told The Journal. For detail, see Dwight R. Worley, “Environmental concerns grow over Irvington schools' plan for artificial turf field,” in The Journal News, December 16, 2008, available at http://www.lohud.com/article/2008812160385 . The vote ally is available at https://www.edline.net/files/3cf2b242680ac1d73745a49013852ec4/iNSPECTORSTotalVotesCastedline.pdf .There were a total of 3 absentee ballots for and 42 absentee ballots against each measure. For a previous entry on this story (re Dr. Landrigan’s letter to the local paper a week before the referendum), see, http://www.synturf.org/warnings.html (Item No. 34).
[No. 38] Jordan, NY: School district says no to turf. According to The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), on December 11, 2008, “Voters in the Jordan-Elbridge school district today approved only one of three propositions in a $27 million capital project.” At issue were two propositions, both of which failed. First - Proposition 2 – sought to consolidate the playing fields at the high school and build new baseball and softball fields, refinish existing practice fields, add lighting to the two tennis courts, and build an athletic field where the existing wastewater treatment plant is located. The $3.3 million measure lost
[No. 37] South River, New Jersey: Cost and overreaching by County sinks turf field project. On October 23, 2008, the South River Board of Education “turned down a $1 million grant from Middlesex County for an artificial turf field at South River High School’s Denny Stadium,” according to a report in the Sentinel(Freehold, New Jersey). The proposal included lights and an public announcement system that residents found objectionable, as well as a use-easement on the field for county events. The additional cost of $300,000 toward the installation of the fields, as well as the annual cost of maintenance and lighting was to be borne by the town. The Sentinel did not report on whether the town or county would fork over the dough for replacement of the turf field after its useful life. Source: Kathy Chang, “Board says no thanks to $1M turf field grant,” in Sentinel, November 6, 2008, available at http://ebs.gmnews.com/news/2008/1106/front_page/001.html .
[No. 36] Brimfield, Mass.: Voters say “no” to borrowing for turf. According to a report in the Worcester Telegram (November 7, 2008), in a special town meeting on November 6, 2008, residents “voted against borrowing up to $2 million for synthetic turf on athletic fields at Tantasqua Regional Junior and Senior High Schools.” The vote was 83 against and 66 in favor of the school district borrowing the money. The Tantasqua school district serves Brimfield, Brookfield, Holland, Sturbridge and Wales. Brimfield’s vote in effect scuttled the regional plan, which had been favored by Holland and still subject of votes by other municipalities in the district. Source:Patty Lawrence-Perry, “Brimfield 1st in school district to reject artificial turf project,” in Worcester Telegram, November 7, 2008, available at http://www.telegram.com/article/20081107/NEWS/811070482/1004/NEWS04 .
[No. 35] Maplewood, New Jersey: Voters give thumbs down to turf for DeHartPark. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. November 5, 2008. On November 4, 2008, the voters of Maplewood, New Jersey, turned down Municipal Question No. 1 which sought to install artificial turf fields at DeHartPark. The final tally stood at 3,283 “yes” votes for the project and 3,895 “no” votes against the project. The opponents of the measure waged an effective public information campaign via the internet (www.noturf.org), letters and lawn signs. On Election Day, the opponents also worked the polls.
[No. 34] Hanover, Penn.: Sheppard-Myers Field will be grass. In 2004 the Hanover school board looked at both grass and synthetic turf when it was considering the renovation of Sheppard-Myers Field. At the time, the board made no final decision but it appeared to be in favor a multi-sport artificial turf surface. In March of 2008 the board moved ahead with hiring consultants to come up with options for renovation of Sheppard-Myers Field. On October 6, 2008, the board heard from the consultants. According to an item in The Evening Sun, the plan lays out three options: “renovating the stadium and installing a new track at the existing site along McAllister Street; building a new stadium and track at the high school and middle school campus; or renovating the current stadium without a track and building a track at the high school and middle school campus.” The board has directed the architects “to design a new stadium with a grass field, rather than a synthetic field,” the Sun reported. The cost of a synthetic field was estimated anywhere between $700,000 and $1.2 million, depending on its features, which priced turf out of competition. Source: Heather Faulhefer, “Grass, dirt help off half a million of Sheppard-Myers stadium cost,” in The Evening Sun, October 10, 2008, available at http://www.eveningsun.com/ci_10756787 .
[No. 33] San Luis Obispo, Cal.: City says “no” to turf; will give grass a chance at one field. According to an October 8, 2008, news article in The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, California), the city council has decided against “install[ing] synthetic turf on any of its athletic fields at this point, but accepted a staff report that if it were to go anywhere it should be the Damon-Garcia Sports Complex on Broad Street.” “Artificial turf has been discussed only for the upper field at Damon-Garcia, because the lower fields are in a flood plain and the silica base and the recycled rubber pellets in the turf can be washed downstream. Potential toxins in such turf have led to legislation now before the California State Senate,” reported The Tribune. The decision allowed the city to reallocate $961,000 to other park improvements. The council “postponed making any decision regarding athletic turf until the effectiveness of an effort to regenerate the natural grasses at Damon-Garcia can be studied. The grass at the sports complex, where soccer is played, has taken a beating since it opened in 2005.” Source: --Sally Connell, “SLO City Council decides against installing synthetic turf on athletic fields,” in The Tribune, October 8, 2008, available atttp://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/breaking_news/story/492647.html .
[No. 32] Reading, Penn.:ReadingJunior High School goes with natural grass fields. On September 22, 2008, the Reading school district’s director of facilities informed the school board that the new fields at ReadingJunior High School (also known as the Citadel) will be real grass, not artificial turf as originally planned. The reason, according to the director, is that “installing and maintaining a turf field would be extremely costly.”
[No. 31] Toronto, Canada: Mayor wants natural grass at BMO Field. The horror of the artificial turf field at Toronto’s BMO Field is not a new subject for this website. See SynTurf.org’s previous coverage of the field at http://www.synturf.org/miscellanea.html (Item Nos. 11 and 17) and http://www.synturf.org/playersview.html (Item Nos. 16, 20 and 23), andhttp://www.synturf.org/sayno.html (Item No. 29). According to a blog on Out of Left Filed (September 15, 2008), journalist Duane Rollins, cited the mayor of Toronto, David Miller, as saying that “he is working to get a grass playing surface installed at BMO Field next season.”In a blog on GlobeandMail.com, Ben Knight wrote, “Toronto is so close to getting this so right. BMO Field is an utterly delicious place to watch a professional footy match. Tucked in between the skyline, the lake, the island airport, Ontario Place, the visuals are dazzling and the atmosphere rocks. But we already know Canada's best international players hate the artificial turf. We also know that veteran English striker Darren Huckerby … was very interested in playing for Toronto, but walked because of the turf.” Source: Ben Knight, “Mayor calls for grass,” in Globe and Mail, September 16, 2008, available at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080916.WBsoccerblog20080916104430/WBStory/WBsoccerblog .
[No. 30] Morris, New Jersey: Harding says no to artificial turf.MorrisTownship has been planning to build a sports complex on a spit of land in got from Town of Harding, its next door neighbor, complete with artificial turf fields, bleachers and 72-foot high lights. According to an item in The Daily Record, “Harding officials said they did not want fields with artificial turf, lights and bleachers. Efforts to reach a compromise also failed. Now, MorrisTownship has given up the idea of artificial turf and bleachers, but it still wants lights. To the end, the township plans to demonstrate how high the lights would be with balloons.” Source: “Will field fly like balloons?,” in The Daily Record (New Jersey), September 8, 2008, available athttp://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080908/OPINION01/809080355/1094/OPINION .
[No. 29] Toronto FC converts to natural grass. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. September 12, 2008. The days of artificial turf at BMO Field in Toronto are numbered. For a catalogue of gripes about the turf field at MBO, see http://www.synturf.org/miscellanea.html (Item Nos. 11 and 17) and http://www.synturf.org/playersview.html (Item Nos. 16, 20 and 23). Next season  the pitch will be converted from artificial turf to natural grass. According to a report in Tribal Football, the money for the conversion in part will come from the £2.6 million in fees that Toronto FC and Major League Soccer received from the trade of the American soccer star Maurice Edu to the Rangers of the Scottish Premier League. Source: “Toronto FC to spend Edu cash on new pitch,” in Tribal Football, September 10, 2008, available athttp://www.tribalfootball.com/?q=node/199903
[No. 28]Terre Haute, Ind.: Lack of private funds sinks artificial turf fields for three high schools. OnSeptember 6, 2008, The Tribune-Star (Terre Haute, Indiana) reported that the proposal “to install synthetic turf football fields at Terre Haute North, South and West Vigo high schools has been scrapped because a committee says it is unable to raise sufficient matching funds.” According to the Superintendent of the school district, therefore, the amount pledged by the district also “is off the table completely.” “In May 2007, the School Board agreed to dedicate $980,000 in refinancing money to the project, but the remainder of the cost would have to be privately raised. At the time, the cost was estimated at $1.7 million to $2.1 million.” For more on this story, go to Sue Loughlin, “Synthetic turf idea for schools scrapped,” in The Tribune-Star, September 6, 2008, available at http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_story_250224857.html?keyword=topstory .
[No. 27] East Hartford, Conn.: Rentschler Field will stay with natural grass.The Rentschler Filed in East Hartford, Connecticut, is primarily used for football and is the home field of the University of Connecticut. According to a news story in the Hartford Courant (Aug. 24, 2008), the original sod at this facility was laid down six years ago. At the opening game in 2003 the grass field was immaculate when UConn played its first home game at the new stadium. For the 2007 opener, things were different. There were brown spots sprinkled on the grass and large divots. The condition of the field caused coach randy Edsall to suggest the field might be better with the synthetic FieldTurf. “But a year later, the coach expressed his preference for a natural surface at Rentschler,” reported the Courant. “If you have the right grass and it's maintained well, I really still believe is the way to go,” Edsall said. Source: Paul Doyle, “After Rehab, Field Isn’t Low-Rent: Edsall Backs Off On Artificial Turf,” in Hartford Courant, August 24, 2008, available at http://www.courant.com/sports/college/football/hc-rentschler0824.artaug24,0,339506.story .
[No. 26] Highland, Ind.: “Rather than installing an artificial surface, Highland [High School, Indiana) has opted to re-sod the field.”Source: Brian Hedger, “Highland may lose two home games,” in The Post-Tribune, August 2, 2008, available at http://www.post-trib.com/sports/1087655,highland.article .
[No. 25] Tyler, Texas: TISD goes with a new drainage system and Bermuda grass. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. July 25, 2008. It is no joke: In a state where everything is big, football is pretty huge. You do not have to be a fan of NBC’s Friday Night Lights series to appreciate the love affair between the LoneStarState and the gridiron. SynTurf.org is especially fond of Season 1, Episode 20 (March 28, 2007). A chemical spill near Dillon High School left Coach Taylor with the choice of playing at a glorious artificial turf field away from home or to preserve his tram’s home field advantage by playing the state semi-final game on a field hastily arranged on a farm, which degenerated into a veritable “mud bowl” when the skies opened. Ah, the glory of it all.
According to a news story in The Tyler Morning Telegraph, the TylerIndependentSchool District voted on July 22, 2008, to appropriate more than $110,000 for repairing hazardous drainage situations at the varsity fields at John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools.The district closed the fields earlier in July “to begin maintenance, which includes the installation of a new drainage system and reinstallation of Bermuda turf.”
According to TISD Superintendent, Dr. Randy Reid, “[t]he district looked, at one point, at putting an artificial surface on those fields, but believed it would be cost prohibitive.”
“We found what we believe to be a reasonable solution,” Reid said.
[No. 24] Manchester, New Hampshire: No turf for juvenile detention center due to health concerns. July 19, 2008. According to a news story in The Nashua Telegraph, “State officials have withdrawn a contract to install synthetic turf at the juvenile detention center in Manchester, after Executive Councilors and state workers raised health and procedural concerns.” Councilor Raymond Wieczorek said, “The bottom line is, before you make these changes you have to make sure it is to benefit the population you are serving.” Councilor Debora Pignatelli said “she was ready to vote against the contract due to health warnings about placing synthetic turf on children play fields in other states.” Source: Kevin Landrigan, “Juvenile detention center won’t install turf,” in The Nashua Telegraph, July 17, 2008, available at http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080717/NEWS02/106474411/-1/news20 .
[No. 23] Many Orange County communities do not allow artificial turf. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. July 12, 2008. It is a common shared view among many readers of SynTurf.org that the closer one looks at artificial turf, the uglier it looks. Apparently, many communities in Orange County, California, also agree. According to a news story in the Orange County Register, it is unlawful to put down artificial turf on residential and commercial properties in Garden Grove, Santa Ana, La Palma, Stanton and Orange. In ten other OC communities, there are “various synthetic turf restrictions and guidelines and many homeowners associations across the county ban and restrict turf as well.” The aesthetics is a primary reason for the restrictions on synthetic turf. The push to lift the restrictions is being encouraged by rebate programs afforded by water authorities like Orange County Water District, which would like to encourage water conservation due to drought. However, the residents who have installed turf are now in the danger of having their turf removed as well as having their water rebate applications denied.
SynTurf.org Editor’s Note:In the near desert heat conditions of Southern California, turf bakes to a nice hot temperature, which probably still requires watering to cool down. While conserving water is essential, nothing is without a price. While the property owner may well learn first hand about the heating up of the turf in the Southern California sun, the property owner ought o also learn about the potential risks of crumb rubber and silica, outgassing of VOCs, PAHs, and the leaching of lead, zinc and other substances to health and the environment.
[No. 22] Montrose, NY:Turf proposal for HendrickHudsonHigh School bites the dust. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. June 22, 2008. The HendrickHudsonSchool District is 45 miles north of Manhattan. The District serves 8 municipalities, including Montrose, which is the home of the HendrickHudsonHigh School. On Wednesday, June 18, 2008, voters in the district voted down a $2.1 million plan to replace the natural grass field at HendrickHudsonHigh School with artificial turf. The vote was 779 against to 518 for the plan.
The Journal News reports, “Lawrence Zeitlin, a retired professor, questioned whether the new field was even necessary, given the condition of the grass field now in use.” “It's a perfectly adequate playing field,” he told the Journal.
SynTurf.org Editor’s Note: The foregoing was brought to SynTurf.org’s attention by DD, a resident of Croton, New York; Croton is one of the municipalities served by the HendrickHudsonSchool District. In an e-mail to SynTurf.org, DD stated:
“Like many of you I am concerned about artificial turf. I am a big sports fan, and always prefered [sic] natural grass. Many schools in the region I live in have gone to turf over the last couple of years. It seems like when one school went to turf a whole bunch followed suit. The High School I went to (Hendrick Hudson) currently plays on natural grass. There have been talks about going to turf for years, but recently asked the public for a vote. On June 18, 2088 the $2.1 million proposal to install artificial turf and replace the track was defeated by a 779-518 vote. Many people had their reasons for not voting for the turf, but the citizens of HendrickHudsonHigh School do not want a turf field in their neighborhood.”
[No. 20] Cape Henlopen School District, Delaware: Artificial turf loses to economic woes. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. June 15, 2008. On June 12, 2008, the voters of Cape Henlopen School District defeated a measure that would have funded the installation of an artificial turf field at Cape Henlopen High School. The vote was 1,603 to 603 against spending $1.6 million on a turf field, when educational programs and staffing were on the chopping block due to budget woes. Source: Leah Hoenen, “Cape voters defeat rate transfer, turf field,” in the Cape Gazette, June 13, 2008, available at http://www.capegazette.com/storiescurrent/200806/capereferen061308.html.
[No. 19]Pelham, New York: Voters say “no” to turf .On May 20, 2008, the voters of Pelham rejected Proposition 2 for $2.7 million turf fields at Franklin and Glover fields.
According to one voter, “It's too expensive," adding that she believes artificial turf is unsafe. According to the Superintendent of Schools, concerns about turf safety influenced voters. "We were never able to overcome anxiety over the long-term health issues," he said. Source: Ernie Garcia, “Central and southern Westchester voters approve most school budgets,” in The Journal News, May 21, 2008, available at http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080521/NEWS02/805210414.
[No. 18 ] Maynard, Mass. says “no” to turf. On May 19, 2008, the voters at the town meeting overwhelmingly rejected a $1 million-plan to install an artificial turf field at Alumni Field. While “[a]ll other articles at Town Meeting passed handily,” the turf lost by a vote of 153-47, way short of the 2/3 majority required for its passage. The number one concern of the people who voted down the plan: “concerns about the field’s safety” followed by “there are other priorities.” Source: Meghan B. Kelly, “Town meeting nixes idea of synthetic turf,” May 20, 2008, available athttp://www.wickedlocal.com/maynard/news/x1191424304.
[No. 17] Portola Valley, Calif.: Conservation Committee says “no” but Town Council hedges for now. SynTurf.org, Newton. Mass. April 5, 2008. The chances are you do not know Portola Valley. One of the wealthiest towns in the United States, it is in San Mateo County, west of Palo Alto and south of Menlo Park. It is about 9 square miles and has a population of about 4,700. With street names like Alpine, Golden Oak , Grove, Applewood, Willowbrook,and Brookside, the place is equally bucolic and “rural” in character.
On February 27, 2008, a Town Council meeting was convened to discuss, among other things, if the town should pay a consultant to study the pro and con of natural grass versus artificial turf for any of the one of the town’s four fields Rossotti, Miller, Ford and Town Center. The Councilmen Steve Toben and Richard Merk and the Mayor Maryann Moise Derwin were in attendance,as were a few of the parks and recreation officials. Two of the 5-member Council members were absent. The meeting voted 2-1 to can the turf study for now.
The outcome of the Council’s vote was largely predictable because the Conservation Committee had already decided that artificial turf was inappropriate for any of the town’s fields and therefore the idea of spending money to “study” an artificial turf option was not a good use of the town’s resources. The committee unanimously opposed hiring a consultant because of three key concerns about artificial turf: long-term health risks, long-term environmental impact, and inconsistency with the town’s rural character.
Typically, the selling of a municipality on artificial turf begins by that internal study that shows, on a scale of 5, a very high incidence of use (close to maximum) and typically average or below average maintenance to keep pace with usage. Next comes the compulsory “outside study” to evaluate the pro and con of artificial turf and natural grass options. In an overwhelming majority of instances, the “independent” study by a “consultant” results in the predictable admission that grass is better, but because its maintenance is costly and does not withstand wear and tear, therefore, artificial turf is the best practical option for a community plagued with gophers and goose poop and muddy playing fields. Naturally, the seduction then moves to the area of conning the public that the upfront million-dollar investment will pay for itself in no time, as these “low-maintenance” fields will last forever, practically, notwithstanding the industry’s standard 8-year warranty and replacement and disposal cost of the carpet every 8 to 10 years. The environmental impact and health risks are virtually ignored, other than to emphasize that this not the old Astroturf and is a safer playing surface than grass fields!
None of the foregoing pro-turf hype clouded the sober and informed judgment of some dozen residents who got up and spoke during the “public comment” portion of the Town Council meeting.
Rosie Breen noted how the ball bumping in a different direction added to the challenge of playing soccer on the grass fields; how much fun it was actually to get dirty, with family watching from the sideline, and little kids picking at the grass. Annaloy Nickum noted the pro-turf bias in the terms of reference for the proposed study of the field situation. Elaine Taylor said, ‘The consultant should be used to figure out the best kind of grass, best kind of irrigation, etc.” Emma Ingebritsen and Haley Egbert testified about the fun they’ve had playing on natural grass. Angela Hey, who grew up playing hockey, said said, If the goals were muddy and there was no grass growing there, it was not the end of the world. If there were slippery places and dry places, it was not the end of the world… Kids falling [is] a part of the game.” “”Part of soccer was what bump the ball would take,” added Mary Enright. Jim Stoecker recalled fondly the muddy memories from when he played on the fields being the most memorable.
The testimonies by residents were informed also by science. Matt Stoecker noted that the turf was a petroleum-derived product, with a large carbon footprint, laden with toxins and chemicals and did nothing to add to the environment. Nickum emphasized the necessity for looking into advanced natural grass technologies. Jean Eastman spoke about infections and latex allergies. Yvonne Tryce, who teaches science classes, noted the multipurpose nature of the fields that one day would host sports teams and other time welcome her pupils catching butterflies and collecting bugs. She voiced her concern about the impervious nature of artificial turf, which would deprive tree roots of moisture. ssblock. Marty MacKowski called attention to the heating of artificial turf fields. “Dogs love the fields,” a Willowbrook resident said, “You couldn’t take dogs on artificial turf – especially if they are short and close to the ground.
Clair Jernick, whose kids participated in a variety of sports leagues, could not support the study/” The town has established itself as a leader in the protection of the environment and sustainable development,” she said. After a lengthy examination of turf’s inconsistency with town’s and state’s environmental agenda, Jernick urged the council to “build fields of acclaim, not fields of shame.”
When the public comment portion of the meeting concluded, Councilman Toben stated that he was not “pro-turf” but that he was curious about it. In a blatant form of disingenuous doublespeak he stated to the council that he wanted “to learn more and understand why there were arguments that suggested this could be an attractive alternative.” Humbug! Not that he did not know about low-maintenance cost of turf, or huge savings in town’s water bill and all the other fluff that the purveyors of this product foist on parks and recreation departments and sports leagues hungering fro more play time.
Councilman Merk displayed an uncanny ability to fence-sit when he stated that he was not against the turf but was against the study at this time, citing a number of years left in the existing fields and daily changes in turf technology. Mayor Derwin too supported a complete and impartial study of the matter, but she felt the timing was not right!
The Council moved to a vote despite Toben’s objection that the other two council members were not present. Mayor Derwin issued an equivalent of “tough luck” for the absentees and by a vote of 2 (Derwen, Merk) -1 (Toben) the council voted to decline the recommendation to fund the RFP for the field study. Because the vote turned down the turf study does not mean this issue is dead; far from it. As Councilman Merck indicated it just has been continued (postponed) for two years. It will resurface like a bad penny. The only safeguard against it recurrence is for the town to adopt an ordinance that makes it synthetic-turf free.
[No. 16] Haverling (New York) says “no” to turf. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. March 22, 2008. Bath is a town in the Steuben County in the Finger Lakes region of western New York state. With a population of about 6,000, Bath is the seat of the county, which is know for housing the oldest continuous county fair in the United States. The northern part of Bath borders a community known as Haverling, which houses the Junior and Senior High School of the Bath school district. Three months ago the voters of the Haverling school district rejected a capital project appropriation for $19.5 that was intended to renovate the schools, which included the installation of an artificial turf field at Haveling Junior/Senior High School. The city official went to work and came back with a new proposal for a $16.5 million project instead, eliminating the artificial turf part of the earlier project. On March 19, 2008, the voters approved the new deal.
[No. 15]Costa Mesa, California. By ordinance, no turf here, please! SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. March 19, 2008. Back in 1992 or so, Costa Mesa passed an ordinance that banned synthetic turf in most of the city’s development zones, including single-family residences. Now comes the town’s principal planner Willa Bouwens-Killeen, who would like nothing betetr than to allow the residents to cover their grounds in plastic. Synthtic turf, according to Bouwens-Killeen, has “actually come a long way, so we were hoping City Council can come up with something to give us better direction.” According to Daily Post, “City staff cautiously suggested the Costa Mesa City Council reconsider its ban on the product, saying the models could save the city water and money, but could also deteriorate if neglected. Following a preliminary discussion of the proposal at a study session last week, some members seemed hesitant about changing some aspects of the city’s regulations.” But, according to Councilwoman Wendy Leece, “I don’t think Costa Mesa is going to go for pulling out live grass and trees, and putting in fake grass for the sake [of] efficiency.” This stuff is developed with plastic — a petroleum-based product — and is an inorganic addition to local ecosystems that may rely on it. The City staff will likely schedule the issue for a council meeting sometime in the next few weeks, reports Daily Pilot. Source:Chris Caesar, “Synthetic grass not necessarily greener,” in Daily Post, March 17, 2008, available at http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2008/03/18/politics/dpt-plastic031808.txt.
[No. 14]UEFA says “no” to turf for Champions League final. March 9, 2008. The Union of European Football Associations is one and the most important of FIFA’s six continental confederations of national football (soccer) federations. While it oversees European national and club competitions, it is by far the wealthiestand most influential of the continental orgnaizations. According to SportingLife.com (UK), the UEFA has refused to allow artificial turf for the Champions League final that is to take place in May 2008. See, “Artificial Turf at World Cup,” March 9, 2008, available at
[No. 13] Minneapolis, Minn.: City Council Votes Down Artificial Turf. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. February 29, 2008. Earlier today, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to exclude artificial turf from the development plans for a stadium on Nicollet Island. The Council was hearing an appeal by the applicant, DeLaSalle High School, from an earlier decision by the Heritage Preservation Commission that had gone against it. This marked the third time that the Council had voted in favor of a grass playing field: twice before, it voted expressly for grass, but today’s vote was a direct hit against artificial turf. Today’s vote was made all the easier because the applicant withdrew its appeal moments before the meeting, therefore opening the procedural way for the denial thereof.. Whether the denial would be appealed to the courts remains to be seen.
For a wrap up the situation prior to today’s meeting, go to Shawne FitzGerald, “City Council To Vote on Friday Feb 29 on Artificial Turf at DeLaSalle,” February 26, 2008, at http://www.mplsparkwatch.org/node/787.
[No. 12]Minneapolis, Minn.: City Council Member Slams Turf. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. February 28, 2008. On February 22, 2008, the Minneapolis City Council member, Cam Gordon (Green Party - Ward 2) published a lengthy criticism of the turf filed proposed for Nicollet Island. “Putting plastic grass in the middle of the Mississippi in this historic National park is just a bad ides,” he wrote. Artificial turf is significantly worse than natural grass: “it does not sequester carbon, does not aid water infiltration, does not cool the air, and in fact contributes to the heat island effect. The state-of-the-art type that is being proposed also includes its own artificial dirt – 200 tons of ground up old (and toxic) tires. These are known to contain toxins and have yet to be proven safe for children to play on or for a river eco-system.”
[No. 11] Ridgefield, Conn.:Turf plan bites the dust. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. February 28, 2009. In a referendum held on February 26, the voters in Ridgefield defeated the plan to install 3 artificial turf fields in the town. SynTurf.orghas learned from Ridgefielders for Grass Fields (www.grassfields.org) that the tally was 2,390 against and 963 in favor of the plan. In an e-mail to SynTurf.org, an organizer of the “No” vote noted that the “Yes” vote did not even match the 1,200 number of signatures that the sports organizations had pulled when they petitioned the town for the project last Fall. Here, as is the case elsewhere, “It is wonderful to know that grassroots organizations can get out and make a difference. I hope that this provides hope for other towns facing similar issues and referendums,” the organizer told SynTurf in an e-mail.
[No. 10] Longmeadow, Mass. Community Preservation Committee Votes Down Turf Plan. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass., February 21, 2008. Last evening, the Longmeadow Community Preservation Committee decided by a vote of 9 to 0 not to recommend Community Preservation Act funds for the installation of a synthetic turf field at Longmeadow High School. The applicant had requested some $825,000 in CPA funds to be bonded over ten years.
A number of factors informed the Committee’s decision.. First and foremost is the legality of spending CPA funds on a project that involves the renovation or rehabilitation of a field that was not originally acquired or created with CPA funds. This legal issue is before a number of courts in the Commonwealth; the Supreme Judicial Court will hear one of them this spring. The town and possibly bond counsel were best advised not to proceed with a project that might run afoul of the law. The Department of Revenue is already on the record that CPA funds should not be used for artificial turf fields.
Another factor weighing on Committee’s mind related to the issue of crumb rubber and how to ensure that its leachate or migrating granules do not end up in the wetlands and town’s wells. The process of requiring a monitoring system, which the state’s environmental agency might require, would have complicated project.
The last-minute concession by the proponents of the project to substitute an alternative infill for the crumb rubber may have ended the project for now. While the proponents touted it as “safer,” the alternative infill has not been analyzed sufficiently to ensure that it does not raise a whole host of other environmental and health risks. Moreover, this constituted a material change in the project that possibly would have required further hearings by the Committee and other interested town committees.
The sheer size of the request also threatened to deprive the town of the badly needed resources to address the other CPA priorities like the acquisition of open spaces, preservation of historic resources and creation of community housing.
Even though the application has been denied CPA funding, it may well rear its head if alternative financing can be secured for it. That may include private funding or other public funds.
The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) voted unanimously Feb. 5, 2008, to deny a permit for artificial turf at the football stadium a private school proposes to build on public parkland on Nicollet Island. The HPC action upholds a Minneapolis City Council decision that only natural grass is appropriate for the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and that DeLaSalle High School may not install artificial turf. A DeLaSalle appeal of this latest HPC denial would mean asking city council members to reverse their strongly-expressed ruling that artificial turf does not belong in the national historic district. Late in 2007, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed a resolution asking DeLaSalle to return to the city council for permission to use artificial turf. The park board's 2006 agreement with DeLaSalle was supposed to allow the public to use the planned stadium during the summer, but that deal left the question of field surface material undetermined. Now the park board says natural grass would suffer so much wear from DeLaSalle's use during the school year that the public wouldn't be able to use the stadium.
[No. 08] National Park Service says “No” to turf fields at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, Va. December 22, 2007. Jones Point Park is an area of about 53 acres on the banks of the Potomac River’s Wilson Bridge, in Alexandria, Virginia. The Wilson Bridge itself connects Northern Virginia with Maryland.While the land on the Alexandria aide of the site belongs to the City of Alexandria, the National Park Service has a lot to say about what happens at the site. In reviewing the improvement plans for the site, the National Park Service’s “primary purpose was to have the least amount of impact on the nearby neighborhoods” such as noise, traffic, and parking. The plans had also called for multi-purpose artificial turf fields. In selecting Plan 4A, the Park Service opted for no artificial turf fields, no lighting and reduced parking. The Park Service will install the natural grass fields slightly above grade in order to ensure proper drainage. Chuck Hagee, “Park Service Details Its Decision On JPP,” December 12, 2007, in The Connection, Northern Virginia community newspaper, available at http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=91592&paper=69&cat=104.
[No. 07] Westmount, Quebec, says “No” to turf. December 19, 2007. On Tuesday, December 18, 2007, the City Council voted to reject the installation of artificial turf on the soccer fields in Westmount Park. The Mayor Karin Marks said that the decision came after many months of contentious debate about artificial turf. On November 26 the council had appointed a 12-member panel in order to find a balanced solution to the needs of the community for playing fields.The plan for Westmount Park’s natural grass fields will entail the reconstruction and equipping of a new underground drainage system. To met the community needs for additional playing fields, the he city will spend instead $1 million toward reconstructing two soccer fields at the Sherbrooke Street (West) Park. The panel’s rejection of artificial turf was made easy because of the incongruity of turf with the historic character of the Westmount Park and concerns that turf with its recycled tire component could pose risks to players' health and the environment. To read further on this story, go to “Westmount rejects artificial turf,” in The Gazette, December 19, 2007, available at http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=e8c1350e-0d87-4c0f-8234-bc41fcce69f9&k=59545; Martin C. Barry, “City unveils natural Westmount Park playing fields plan,” in The Westmount Examiner, December 20, 2007, available at http://www.westmountexaminer.com/article-169324-City-unveils-natural-Westmount-Park-playing-fields-plan.html; Cheryl Cornacchia, “Westmount decides against artificial turf,” in The Gazette, December 20, 2007, available at http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=e1f43bf1-337d-4f2a-9fd7-98b039d4e71a. Previous SynTurf.org reference to this community: http://www.synturf.org/grassrootsnotes.html (Item No. 09).
[No. 06] Caldwell and West Caldwell, New Jersey, vote down funding for turf! On December 11, 2007, the voters in the New Jersey communities of Caldwell and West Caldwell voted to raise $14.7 million for school repairs, but said “no” to a $2.4 million measure to make improvements at Bonnell Athletic Field at James Caldwell High School, which also serves West Caldwell. The improvements called for an artificial turf field. Source: Elizabeth Moore, “Caldwell and West Caldwell voters approve $14.7M in school repairs,” in The Star Ledger, December 11, 2007, available at http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2007/12/caldwell_and_west_caldwell_vot.html. It is not clear if the defeat of the ballot question on field improvement was as much an anti-turf vote as perhaps it was a vote against extravagance or misplaced priorities.
[No. 05] In Nyack, the turf is dead for now!Newton, SynTurf.org. December 12, 2007. Yesterday, voters in Nyack, New York, defeated a bond referendum which contained $millions for artificial turf playing fields. With a 62% versus 48% overall tally, in each of the four districts – Valley Cottage, Upper Nyack, Hilltop and Depew – the $16.5 million measure lost. Check here for the results. http://www.aninconvenientturf.com/. While this result rewards the hard work of many who opposed the artificial fields – especially www.aninconvenientturf.com -- it is by no means the end for turf. One must presume that the fiscal and other concerns helped achieve the outcome. In due course, a combination of private sector and public sector funding may end up still financing an artificial turf field or two in the school district. The public education undertaken by www.aninconvenientturf.com may need to continue until the idea of artificial turf becomes in itself least desirable of all options in the community.
No. 04] Fairfield, Conn. On November 6, 2007, the Connecticut Inland Wetlands Agency in Fairfield decided to deny Fairfield Country Day School’s request to install artificial turf fields. The Agency, which is housed in Fairfield's Conservation Commission at the Conservation Department, approved otherwise the rest of the application for reconstruction of the proposed playing fields at the private school. The Agency’s final condition of approval provided "A synthetic turf field will not be installed. Natural turf is a feasible and prudent alternative." This seems to mark the first time in Connecticut where environmental concerns have been placed ahead of turf’s selling points as a mud-free and weatherproof playing surface, with arguably less maintenance cost. Read more about this story in the "GrassRootsNotes" page on this site.
No. 03] Wellesley, Mass."When it comes to fighting a turf war, fielding a larger army doesn't guarantee victory. Despite receiving a solid majority of votes at this week's Town Meeting, the motion to appropriate funds to remediate the Sprague Fields with FieldTurf went down in defeat after it failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to pass." "Tom Brown, an abutter of the Sprague Fields who has been a vocal critic of the remediation plan, raised safety concerns about the proposed fields, noting that no study had ever been done on the long-term health effects of FieldTurf on small children." "Most of these [FieldTurf] fields are not next to elementary schools," he said. "Most of these fields are at high schools, colleges or stadiums." Town Meeting member Christine Olaksen also said she had safety concerns about FieldTurf at the elementary school. Particularly, she said, she was worried about younger children possibly ingesting the loose crumb rubber granules that compose the turf's infill. Larry Kaplan, a practicing physician, spoke out against the turf plan and argued that the risks were too great for the town to install the turf without more careful discussion. Kaplan did acknowledge, however, that there had been no conclusive evidence showing that FieldTurf was harmful. "The science is not definite, but the potential threat to our children's health is," he said. "The onus should be on the manufacturer to prove that their product is safe, rather than on the consumer." Brad reed, "Turf's Down," in Wellesley Townsman,Thursday, April 12, 2007, 11:32 AM EDT athttp://www.townonline.com/wellesley/homepage/x1222193239.
No. 02] Woodside, California: Situated on the San Francisco Peninsula, Woodside is one of the wealthiest small towns in the country. With a population slightly over 5,400, it is home to many captains of industry and persons of renown. As its name implies, it is wooded, with redwoods in the western hills and oak and eucalyptus trees in the lower areas. So, naturally, the proposal to install two artificial turf fields at Woodside School would have not been exactly “consistent with Woodside values.” Faced with an on-line petition, which was curiously dubbed “Keep One WES Soccer Field Natural Grass," on July 19, 2007, the Woodside Elementary School District agreed to use natural grass on the soccer field meant for K-3 children at Woodside School, but kept the turf plan for the filed to be used by the middle school. To read more about this story:David Boyce, Petition effort succeeds: Grass will grow on Woodside k-3 soccer field,” The Almanac, July 25, 2007, available at http://www.almanacnews.com/story.php?story_id=4617.
No. 01] Atherton, California: Unlike Woodside, California, where the opponents of artificial turf valued “half of a loaf” as a compromise between the happiness of having grass fields and utility, on April 3, 2007, the Menlo Park City Council opted for none of it for Encinal School, an Atherton elementary school, where the proposal would have installed an adult-size turf soccer field. Three of the five Council members voted against the proposal. They said that there were “too many unanswered questions concerning the effects on the surrounding neighborhood, and the health, safety and environmental impacts of artificial turf.” Among the concerns, they cited “injuries caused by playing on the harder surface, the fact that the artificial turf gets warmer than grass, and the environmental effects of replacing grass with an artificial surface.” The opposition to the turf plan was mobilized by an impressive on-line petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?Encinal). To read more about thisstory:Rory Brown, “No artificial turf at Encinal School: Existing grass field will be refurbished, but won’t be available until February,” The Almanac, April 11, 2007, available at http://www.almanacnews.com/story.php?story_id=3929.