Note to Readers - Beginning in January 2020, SynTurf.org will no longer post news items or stories on the ‘Say No’ page of www.SynTurf.org that do not give environmental and/or health/safety concerns as major components of decisions to reject or nix plans to install/re-install artificial turf fields. We recognize that the overwhelming majority of the “no” votes so far are due to fiscal issues and not necessarily out of concern fore athlete/player’s health/safety or the care of the environment.
[No. 204] Sharon, Massachusetts – Score one for the environment for now – Conservation Commission denies permission for installation of artificial turf at the high school, placing the burden of proof on the applicant to show no adverse impact on water resources.September 2020.
[No. 203] Denia (Alicante), Spain – Kids’ park goes with natural grass. January 2020.
[No. 202] Western Monmouth County, New Jersey - FreeholdRegionalHighSchool District referendum voters not in the mood for spending $ on artificial turf. December 2019.
[No. 201] Burrell School District, Pennsylvania (18 miles northeast of Pittsburgh) – When and where lack of financial resources leads to wise choices; district picks grass over artificial turf. September 2019.
[No. 200] Mexico City, Mexico – Back to grass is the call at Azteca Stadium.June 2019.
[No. 199] University of Arkansas going back to grass – an update. May 2019.
[No. 198] Wayland, Massachusetts – Annual Town Meeting does not adopt the artificial turf proposal for Loker Conservation and Recreation Area. May 2019.
[No. 197] FIFA says ‘no’ to artificial turf fields for Women’s Word Cup tourney – but how honest and firm is the commitment? April 2019.
[No. 196] Ringwood/Wanaque, New Jersey – Voters nix artificial turf funding measure. December 2018.
[No. 195] Dutch soccer’s elite league incentivizes switch to natural grass. December 2018.
[No. 194] Ellington, Connecticut – a whopping majority vote down artificial turf field plan, while ‘no artificial turf’ signs went missing from around down. December 2018.
[No. 193] Bend La Pine, Oregon: Schools’ Executive Director of facilities says artificial turf fields are not cost effective in drier climates. December 2018.
[No. 192] Brickell (Miami), Florida – Public protests forces the city to do 180 on artificial turf.November 2018.
[No. 191] Lagos, Nigeria - Teslim Balogun Stadium pitch is going with natural grass. October 2018..
[No. 190] Harvard, Massachusetts – No artificial turf filed on Pond Road field per Department of Environmental Protection.September 2018.
[No. 189] Staunton, Virginia - MaryBaldwinUniversity opts for grass field.September 2018.
[No. 188] Brookline, Massachusetts – 2018 Annual Town Meeting bars the town from spending funds to install synthetic turf at Cypress Field. June 2018.
[No. 187 ] Fayetteville, Arkansas - University of Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Stadium will switch back to grass. June 2018.
[No. 186] Austin, Texas – Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium could go back to natural grass.June 2018.
[No. 185] Constantine, Michigan – It is a “no” for artificial turf funding. June 2018.
[No. 184]Wachusett, Massachusetts – Voters turn thumbs down on artificial turf measure.June 2018.
[No. 183] East Durham, North Carolina – City Council orders rubber mulch removed from EastDurhamPark. May 2018.
[No. 182] Highland Park, Texas – No plastic turf for yards in this posh community. April 2018.
[No. 181] Westmoreland, New York – Voters turn down artificial turf field. March 2018.
[No. 180] Hockinson, Washington - Voters gave thumbs down to the measure to fund artificial turf; school district wants to know why! June 2017.
[No. 179] Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – Rationality helps natural grass fields plan triumph over plastic fields project.June 2017.
[No. 178] Harare, Zimbabwe – FIFA-sponsored artificial turf at Rufaro Stadium bites the dust, gives way to natural grass.April 2017.
[No. 177] Sag Harbor, New York – Scholl District turns on artificial turf; okays bond referendum for grass fields.March 2017.
[No. 176] Holmdel, New Jersey – Township Committee turns down conversion to artificial turf at CrossFarmPark. March 2017.
[No. 175] Sag Harbor (East and South Hampton, Long Island), New York. January 2017.
[No. 174] Chapel Hill, North Carolina - University of North Carolina says no to artificial turf at Kenan Memorial Stadium. January 2017.
[No. 173]Laurel, New York - Mattituck Park District commissioners shelve artificial turf for athletic complex. July 2016.
[No. 172] Baltimore, Maryland – Ravens’ conversion to natural grass moves apace. June 2016.
[No. 171] Hull, Massachusetts – Voters vote down funding for artificial turf. June 2016.
[No. 170] South Korea – Schools move away from artificial turf playgrounds. May 2016.
[No. 169] University of Mississippi reverts to natural grass. March 2016.
[No. 168] Brisbane Australia: Indooroopilly State School says ‘no’ to artificial grass after many years – it’s just DAGGY! March 2016.
[No. 167] Somerville, Massachusetts says no to artificial turf at Lincoln Park. February 2016.
[No. 166] University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium will stay with natural grass. January 2016.
[No. 165] Baltimore, Maryland: Ravens will switch to natural grass. January 2016.
[No. 164] Elko, Nevada: City goes with natural grass. December 2015.
[No. 163] Lower Macungie, Pennsylvania: Town council kills appropriation for turf fields. December 2015.
[No. 162] Glen Gardner, New Jersey: Voters give the thumbs down to a measure that included replacement of natural grass fields with artificial turf. December 2015.
[No. 161] Kolkata [Calcutta], India: ATK manager says he is happy to revert to natural grass. October 2015.
[No. 160] Willard, Missouri: Bermuda grass alive and well in age of artificial turf.October 2015.
[No. 159] Grass Valley, California: Bear River field remains grass for reasons of cost and preference of players and coaches. September 2015.
[No. 158] Middletown, Connecticut: All of City’s nine fields will remain natural grass. September 2014.
[No. 157] Hartford, Connecticut: Planning & Zoning Commission turns down TrinityCollege’s application for 8 acres of artificial turf. August 2015.
[No. 156] Woodstock Illinois: There is unintended virtue in poverty. August 2015.
[No. 155] Mount Vernon, Illinois: Township high school says not to artificial turf. July 2015.
[No. 154] Spanish Fort, Alabama: No to artificial turf! July 2015.
[No. 153] Winchester, Massachusetts: Voters reject artificial turf plan for Skillings Field.July 2015.
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. 204] Sharon, Massachusetts – Score one for the environment for now – Conservation Commission denies permission for installation of artificial turf at the high school, placing the burden of proof on the applicant to show no adverse impact on water resources.
Fort some time prior to the Conservation Commission Meeting on May 21, 2020, Sharon had been contemplating to install an artificial turf field at the high school. The opponents of the project pointed to the vulnerabilities of the town’s water resources to contamination from crumb rubber and other substances of concern in artificial turf systems. The debate between the opposing sides came to a head at the May 21st meeting. The following is an excerpt from the minutes of that meeting (go here for the pdf of the minutes):- emphasis is added by SynTurf.org -
Roll call was taken of members present: Peg Arguimbau, Chair, Keevin Geller, Jon Wasserman, and Stephen Cremer were the members present. Not Present: Alan Westman, Meredith Avery (joined the meeting at 7:45pm). Staff present, John Thomas, Conservation Administrator and Clerk, Linda Callan
Speakers for the evening include:
CapeClub – Paul Conti
Briggs Pond - Leslie Koval, David Dubois and Nina Frank
Schools – Will Schreefer, Chris Blesson
Town Residents - Debbie Tatro and Cheryl Schnitzer
SharonHigh School Fields; DEP #SE280-0617
Arguimbau announced that there would be no deliberating by Commission members this evening. Information would be received and listened to only. A review of Commission member eligibility to participate and vote on the project is being conducted. It is hoped that a vote can be taken at the next Commission meeting.
Debbie Tatro of Sustainable Sharon presented concerns of the proposed project. These concerns include threat to natural resources, the lake, drinking water, long-term potential health effects and financial burden of installing an artificial turf at the proposed location. She is speaking tonight on behalf of Sustainable Sharon, and is focusing on the health effects and the financial burden installing an artificial turf will have on the town, as she does not believe that other town committees have taken their concerns seriously.
Sustainable Sharon is concerned with the toxic chemicals used to maintain artificial turf as well as toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of artificial turf. They do not believe that the consultant has fully answered and addressed there concerns as materials presented by the consultant say there are no toxic chemicals, yet data Sustainable Sharon forwarded to the Commission show otherwise.
Tatro explained that PFAS is considered a forever a chemical, that PFAS is stable and does not break down. She noted that top scientists believe that toxics of PFAS present delay in developmental learning in infants and young children; suppresses the immune system and increases the risk of certain cancers among other things.
Further, Sustainable Sharon is concerned that the consultant hired, David Teter, only performed limited testing on a small panel of PFAS. Of over 4,700 PFAS, only samples of 29 were taken, and these were mostly on older PFAS. Overall, there is much concern with the consultant’s report. Among other things, Sustainable Sharon believes that Teter glossed over polyfluorene and the potential harmful effects it may have; are concerned with why total fluorine was not tested for; and is curious as to why Teter did not sample polymeric PFAS and how it breaks down.
Through research, Tatro learned that Sprinturf contains high levels of fluorine. Weston and Sampson (consultant used by the Town), claimed turf fields did not contain PFAS. However, through the Freedom of Info Act, it was found that Spritnturf backing contains 81 ppm fluorine and plastic blades account for and contain 430 ppm fluorine.
Other concerns include:
The TownLake. Though the consultant for the project claims water from the artificial turf field will not drain into the lake, the concern is that the drainage ditch does lead towards the lake and there is potential for PFAS to enter the water at the Lake.
Town Drinking Water. Sustainable Sharon believes there is a threat to the Town’s drinking water. Wells are located down gradient from the football field and provide 60 percent of the Town’s drinking water. Water regulations from Massachusetts DEP will soon regulate PFAS in drinking water at 20 parts per trillion. Why regulated at such a low level? Perhaps due to the suspected toxicity of PFAS?
Plastic blades. At the last meeting a proponent of the turf field claimed that blades do not break off the turf nor do they disperse in the wind. Tatro disagrees with this statement siting [sic] a Boston Globe picture showing soil nearby an artificial turf field, with an intact glass [sic] blade.
Fifty-year lifespan of the High School, while only 8-year warranty on the turf field which translates into 6 plastic carpets.
There is currently only one place which accepts the carpet to recycle, and that is in Denmark. After decades of producing artificial turf, what is the reality that within the next ten years another location will be found to recycle artificial fields? Currently, expired turf fields are piling up as there is nowhere to dispose of these plastic carpets.
Sustainable Sharon obtained a quote from Sports Turf Specialists of $200,000 to renovate the base of the existing field at the high school, and to lay down new sod. For an additional $620,000 ten additional town fields could be renovated. CPA funds could be used.
Annual maintenance cost comparison. The cost to maintain an organic field is significantly less, over time, than to maintain an artificial turf field. There are hidden costs associated with maintaining an artificial turf including replacement costs.
In 2015, a statement was signed by over 250 doctors and PhDs on the potential harm from PFAS.
Sustainable Sharon is asking the Commission to reject the proposed installation of an artificial turf field. They believe the presentation by Teter and others to be just talking points for artificial turf and the science they presented is outdated. They are asking the Commission to protect the surrounding wetlands.
Will Schreefer, project consultant, explained he could not comment on statements made by Sustainable Sharon regarding the Teter report. However, he did reiterate what he spoke about at the May 7th Commission meeting, including that there would be no removal of existing vegetation and that the intent is to mimic the natural conditions by placing approximately 12 inches plus of stone beneath the proposed artificial turf in order to hold water. Regarding concern from Sustainable Sharon and runoff of water into the lake, there will be 3.1 inches of retention of water below the artificial turf field. According to records, over the past ten years there have been only 11 storms which potentially would have had runoff, meaning, one storm a year may flow into the lake. Schreefer also noted the school’s athletic program requires a synthetic turf field.
Schreefer explained that he and other consultants have provided as much information as possible to the Commission for their review. As far as anything specific which came up this evening, he may be able to speak about at the next meeting.
The next Commission meeting date is scheduled for June 4. This hearing will be continued then. At the June 4 meeting, Arguimbau hopes there will be more clarity on member participation and deliberation. She mentioned that any additional questions from those watching this hearing should be emailed into the office and that questions from Commission members will be asked at the next meeting.
Thomas mentioned that he had sent an email to the Schreefer asking for a summary, noting that the burden of proof and any potential impact of project, (potential long term effects to lake, etc) should be provided by the applicant. Thomas believes it would be good for the Commission to get an abstract review from the applicant.
Arguimbau again explained that there would be deliberation at next meeting. She also explained that a spreadsheet has been developed recording all correspondence coming into the office.
Motion: to tentatively continue hearing to June 4 at 8pm.
The following is an excerpt from the minutes of the June 4 meeting of the Conservation Commission – (go here for the pdf of the minutes):- emphasis is added by SynTurf.org -
Roll Call of Attendance: Peg Arguimbau, Chair, Meredith Avery, Alan Westman, Jon Wasserman, Keevin Geller, Stephen Cremer and Colin Barbera, were the members participating. Conservation Administrator John Thomas as well as Clerk, Linda Callan were also on the zoom meeting. Potential speakers this evening: Will Schreefer, Chris Blesson, David Teter, Steven Luruso
7:30 P.M - Hearing Continuance: Notice of Intent - SharonHigh School Fields;
Installation of Turf Fields, DEP #SE280-0617
Conservation Administrator, Thomas, reached out to Schreefer to see if he had additional information to share with the Commission.
Schreefer showed a power point presentation in which he outlined how he has met the burden of proof in his NOI application.
A few key points:
Burden of proof. The applicant shall have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the credible evidence, that the activity proposed in the NOI will not negatively impact the resource area values protected by this bylaw.
The applicant believes he has met burden of proof. The proposed work is located within the buffer zone; no existing vegetation will be cleared. The existing grass field will be replaced by turf; the existing track will remain; the existing gravel path, adjacent to the wetlands, will remain; work beyond the grass field is related to drainage; and the overflow will be in the existing gravel path located next to the field.
Schreefer also noted that the stormwater management proposed for the site meets MassDEP standards required for new development and that it mimics the existing conditions by providing recharge beneath the turf surface. He explained that there would be 12” plus stone section which will provide drainage for the area. As has been explained prior, any over flow (over 3.06” of rainfall) will disperse over the entire field, and the likely occurrence of overflow, may be once per year. Also noted was that runoff from the field matches the existing flow.
Schreefer believes they are meeting all performance standards (MassDEP as well as the Sharon Bylaws and Regulations). Work for the proposed project is restricted to cleared areas only; they are maintaining existing, undisturbed vegetation located within the buffer, and will be providing MassDEP with a compliant stormwater design.
Further, over the course of several meetings, the applicant has presented numerous reports for the Commission to review. Schreefer also said that there are no specific standards provided in either the MassDEP or the Town of Sharon Rules and Regulations with respect to the materials being proposed for the turf field. There are no specific rules, regulations, calculations, or other info than can be provided to prove compliance for work regulated under the wetlands protection act as no standard exists.
Nitsch Engineering, Warner Larson Landscape Architects, David Teter Consulting and Weston & Sampson have all been involved in the process. If there are any additional questions, all consultants are on the call and available to answer.
Arguimbau then opened up the call to any comments from those in the audience.
Debbie Tatro, 10 Sturges Road. She wished to comment on the presentation by Schreefer. She understands that the landscape architect is following standards prior to knowing whether there may be PFAS in artificial Turf. She is concerned with infiltration of water under the field. Tatro noted that it is known that PFAS are water soluble and that they are able to travel with the water and travel through infiltration. She also inquired about a rebuttal report from Teter Consulting. She never saw that report and asked who received. Tatro believes that the previous presentation by the consultant for this project consisted only of industry talking points. It is her belief that there was no science behind any of the statements made. It is her belief that PFAS will be in the turf field. Further, she was confused by the statement Teter made about there being no flame retardants in turf and that he stated that he always made sure that there were no flame retardants in turf to be installed, yet, he then asked the landscape architect about flame retardants in turf, who responded, that there were, at times, the use of flame retardants.
Schreefer: A report on 1/27/19 Standing Building Committee meeting noted concerns which were raised in the Standing Building Committee meeting. The prepared report addresses concerns raised up to that point. That report was not intended as rebuttal to the last Commission meeting. Tatro asked who had access to the report. (it is available to anyone wishing to review).
Avery asked if this was new information and Arguimbau asked Schreefer if he could write an encapsulation to the rebuttal report.
Chris Blesson, Architect. The report being discussed was provided to the Standing Building Committee after its January 27th meeting. The report is a public document and has also been provided to Commission as part of the filing for this project. Blesson and his team do not believe anything new has come up.
Arguimbau: concerning the potential impact to the buffer zone, she inquired what would be the impact to the buffer itself, and what will be different with the buffer after completion of the project. The Commission is charged with protecting the natural wetland resources. There is a stream which leads into the lake. Arguimbau is concerned with water flowing into the lake from the turf field and according to the WPA Act, that is what the Commission is charged with protecting. Arguimbau then asked if there were any Commission members who wished to comment on potential impacts to the Resource Areas.
There was some confusion with Arguimbau’s statement. She further clarified, that she believed there to be a change in character in the way the buffer would function if a turf field were to be installed. While looking at preponderance of the evidence, and evidence submitted from lots of people, Arguimbau explained that the Commissions focus should be on the resource area which the Commission is charged to protect.
Colin Barbera asked for clarification: He understands that the Town of Easton’s water is contaminated. He also heard that the Sharon Water department believes that the contamination is not caused by the turf field. DEP is currently investigating, but has not made any determination of the contamination. Barbera would like this information prior to making any decisions. Arguimbau responded that the Commission needed to stay focused. She believed that it was dangerous for the Town Water Department to say contamination is not from turf field.
Avery responded that probably can’t say definitively that PFAS came from the turf as PFAS comes from all over. There has been lots of time and research spent on both sides regarding the turf field. She believes that the focus should not be just on PFAS, but the Commission should look at the bigger picture, the potential impact to the buffer if a turf field were to be installed.
Westman: lots of information has been presented. There has been a lot of talk about the usage of fields in town. However, he believes that the Commission’s purview is not about field usage, but rather, on the Commission’s role to protect the wetlands. He is having a difficult time in coming to a decision. Lots of professionals, along with third party reviewers and reviewers of the third party have been hired by the Town.
Wasserman agrees with Westman. Be believes the Commission should look at performance standards in bylaw. He is not having as hard a time with the preponderance of evidence as others. It is his belief that the filing meets performance standards, but what makes him nervous is that a lot of time has been put into this project. The town has spent a lot of money to get to the right answer, but what Wasserman is struggling with, is that it is hard to prove a negative. He acknowledges that PFAS are not good, but he does not believe, from information presented, that PFAS will come from the turf. He also is struggling to wrap his head around which direction to go. With regards to the stormwater report, and the data presented for the turf field, he does believe that the performance criteria have been met.
Cremer: spoke about comparing effectiveness of certain materials. Spoke about how lead paint was superior to today’s paint, and how gasoline with alcohol is not as good as leaded gasoline. He is not convinced that something in synthetic may not be dangerous, and he can’t approve something untested in the environment. He is strongly opposed to making a decision as it is his belief that there are alternatives/locations in town where a turf field is appropriate and where there would be less impact. He has found that there has been no evidence of safety presented and is concerned with potential dangers. He is also concerned with installation of turf at this location and the impact to the environment.
Geller –Agreed that the Conservation Commission is charged with protecting impacts to natural resources and to protect the resource areas.
The Town has hired consultants who have done a fine job presenting the information.
Geller is concerned with reacting to what we may think will happen instead of focusing on what, if any, impacts to the natural resources are. It is his belief that the proposal in front of the Commission meets performance standards for the project. Though many have opposed this project, it is Geller’s belief that the arguments against the use of artificial turf are anecdotal. He does not believe it is the job of the Commission to make or enforce laws, but rather, to determine effects on the natural resources. Geller agreed with statement made by Wasserman, that it is not the Commission’s purview of whether the natural grass is used or if turf is used, but our purview is the effect on natural resources. Based on what has been presented, Geller does not see anything to deny the project because of what could or might be in the future.
Arguimbau explained that the Commission has received a great many emails, of which the majority where not in favor of the project. Those against the field gave reasons such as environmental impact and concern for the lake; those in favor mentioned the need for more fields, benefit to athletes (77 against; 22-23 in favor). Arguimbau agrees that this is not an easy decision. Avery made a great point, in noting not to make PFAS the point of focus, but on what the resource area may look like as a result of this project. Arguimbau does not wish to be part of something which would result in a loss of a resource. She believes risking the character of the buffer is too steep.
Westman: Question for Chair of Standing Building Committee – if turf field is denied, will the current grass be torn up and redone? Westman noted that the maintenance of real grass ties into other concerns, including maintenance costs.
Wasserman: a couple of people mentioned another location in town. He was wondering if that option had been discussed. Arguimbau said that other locations have been discussed, but that it was not mentioned in the project scope for this project.
Arguimbau: Plenty of information has been presented, both from the hired consultants as well as from knowledgeable town residents. The specific location of the turf field is of concern. 8,800 square feet lies within the Commissions jurisdiction (buffer zone). The lake is located directly across the street. She believes Commissioners need to look at the potential harm to the resource area if a turf field is installed.
Avery: Consultants have done an excellent job. Trying to prove a negative is impossible. For her though, it comes back to even if there were no PFAS in the manufacture of the turf field, it comes down to the volume of plastic to be installed next to a resource area which is problematic. At this location, Avery does not believe that a “plastic” field is appropriate.
Cremer: concern with a statement architect made. He has reviewed the reports provided from both the applicant and Sustainable Sharon. He can’t remember exactly the statement made, but noted that it was something to the effect that the architect is only delivering what the client (the Schools) has asked for, and that is why the recommendation is for aturf field and not grass. Cremer seriously doubts that a field at this location would be a benefit to the town.
Barbera: He has played on turf fields as well as coached. He is concerned with the grass blades potentially ending up in the lake and in the towns drinking water.
Judy Crosby, Condor Road, Member of SharonSchool Committee. In response to has a turf field been looked at elsewhere: no, it was not considered. The project is a high school
project so to look elsewhere was not an option. By saying no to this project means that there will be no turf field in the near future as the Town would need to pass additional debt.
The existing grass field will need to be replaced and will cost a significant amount of money. The current field is unsafe. There will also be an added cost to bus athletes elsewhere.
Chris Blesson, Lead Architect in response to a statement made earlier by Cremer regarding a letter written. Blesson explained his firm was hired by the schools. They were his client. The letter in question was meant to be neutral and he takes exception of Cremer’s comment.
Debbie Tatro: responding to Geller comments. Problem is high level of fluorine is indicative of the presence of PFAS. Further, Sustainable Sharon did not present anecdotal evidence. Letters presented to the Commission have all been peer reviewed.
Steve Smith, 1 Old Wolomolopoag Road. He did not intend to speak this evening. He is a member of the Standing Building Committee. His committee voted in favor of a turf field 7-3. He believes installation of a turf field is the right solution.
Arguimbau asked Commission if they would like to make a motion vote on turf field or if they would like to continue the hearing to the next meeting. She was not sure of the benefit to put off the vote, but it was up to the Commission.
The motion to allow the installation of turf field fails, with two in favor and 5 opposed.
Arguimbau thanked everyone for all the hard work put into this. She asked Blesson if should close the hearing (NOI) or will they go back to Standing Building Committee and file with another NOI. Arguimbau noted that the existing NOI can be amended. She will send tonight’s vote over to the Standing Building Committee. She does not believe that a new filing needs to be submitted, but that he project can be amended using the same DEP file number.
Arguimbau asked Thomas to check with DEP for guidance on issuing a new number (close hearing), or could the hearing be continued. Either way, the project will be re-opened with an amended plan. For now, will leave the project open and to be continued. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for June 25th.
[No. 203] Denia (Alicante), Spain – Kids’ park goes with natural grass. According to news article in The Olive Press (28 November 2019), “[in] 2009 it was hailed as a cheaper alternative to natural grass that requires maintenance and frequent watering. But the artificial grass installed in a children’s play park on Calle Elx, in Denia, has now been turfed up due to a crisis in hygiene. Town Hall workers found the plastic ground cover soiled in dog excrement and urine, among other things, which did not decompose. The council now plans to replant the area with natural grass and install two more trees. But the plans must face another obstacle first: the broken irrigation system that runs through the Marina Alta capital.” Source: Joshua Parfitt,”TURFED OUT: Artificial grass flop in play park in Denia as ‘cheaper alternative to grass’ ends up plastered in dog excrement and urine,” in The Olive Press, 28 November 2019, at https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2019/11/28/turfed-out-artificial-grass-flop-in-play-park-in-denia-as-cheaper-alternative-to-grass-ends-up-plastered-in-dog-excrement-and-urine/
[No. 202] Western Monmouth County, New Jersey - FreeholdRegionalHighSchool District referendum voters not in the mood for spending $ on artificial turf. According to a news report on CentralJersey.com (12 November 2019), “[v]oters in the FreeholdRegionalHighSchool District rejected a $41.7 million facilities improvement referendum on Nov. 5. School district administrators had dubbed the referendum ‘Ensuring Excellence.’ The regional district has eight sending municipalities – Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, FreeholdTownship , Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro. The total vote from all eight municipalities combined determined the outcome of each question. …. The Board of Education proposed alterations, renovations and improvements at the district’s high schools in Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, FreeholdTownship , Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro in the form of three questions. … Question No. 3, which would have cost about $8.5 million, proposed the installation of synthetic turf athletic fields at FreeholdTownshipHigh School , ManalapanHigh School and MarlboroHigh School , and a new media center at ColtsNeckHigh School . The results on Nov. 5 showed voters defeating this proposal with a total of 17,339 ‘no’ votes to 14,690 ‘yes’ votes.” Source: Peter Elacqua, “Voters reject three questions in FreeholdRegionalHighSchool District referendum,” on CentralJersey.com, 12 November 2019, athttps://centraljersey.com/2019/11/12/voters-reject-three-questions-in-freehold-regional-high-school-district-referendum/
[No. 201] Burrell School District, Pennsylvania (18 miles northeast of Pittsburgh) – When and where lack of financial resources leads to wise choices; district picks grass over artificial turf.According to a news report on TribLive.com (23 August 2019), “Burrell School District and its architects will soon seek bids for a new, natural grass playing surface ringed by a new track at the high school stadium. Drainage problems have long plagued the stadium. The track replacement is estimated to cost about $757,000, while the stadium improvement with natural grass is pegged at about $400,000. The school board recently deliberated whether to install grass or artificial turf, with school board directors seemingly split over the choice. While natural grass was cheaper, artificial turf would allow more events and more student use. Artificial turf was expected to cost $1.2 million to $1.3 million to install….The school board voted 7-2 for the grass field…. Earlier in the month, school board members reviewed the numbers. Artificial turf was about $800,000 more expensive to install. When factoring in maintenance costs over 10 years, artificial turf still cost more, on average, by about $20,000 a year. Board members also looked at the safety of grass versus artificial turf and found the research was inconclusive …. “ Source: Mary Ann Thomas, “Burrell chooses grass over artificial turf for stadium makeover,” on TribLive.com, 23 August 2019, at https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/burrell-chooses-grass-over-artificial-turf-for-stadium-makeover/
[No. 200] Mexico City, Mexico – Back to grass is the call at Azteca Stadium. According to a news item by the Associate Press (27 May 2019), “[o]fficials at Mexico's famed Azteca Stadium say they will convert the field back to natural turf after a failed attempt at a hybrid playing surface led to the cancellation of a scheduled NFL game there last year. In May 2018, the stadium switched to a field combining synthetic and natural grass, which has been used successfully in some of Europe's biggest soccer venues. But it didn't take at Azteca and was ragged after a heavy schedule of events in November leading up to the planned NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams. NFL officials decided to move the game back to the U.S.” Source: Associated Press, “Mexico's famed Azteca Stadium to restore turf field,” 27 May 2019, athttps://pro32.ap.org/article/mexicos-famed-azteca-stadium-restore-turf-field .
A related story on ArrowheadPride.com (28 May 2019) expanded on the illp-fate of the hybrid turf at Azteca. According to the story, “Estadio Azteca’s playing surface — actually a hybrid synthetic-natural field — was installed a year ago…. [O]nce the damage to the field had been widely reported in advance of the Chiefs-Rams game, stadium officials (and the NFL) couldn’t act quickly to fix it; a natural grass field can be re-sodded in a matter of a few days, but the hybrid surface couldn’t be fixed quickly enough. Mexico City officials say they intend to change the field back to natural grass during an upcoming break in soccer games. Even if the worst happens — that is, the field ends up being in poor condition by the time Week 11 rolls around — the NFL would be able to step in and repair the damage quickly, which would prevent a repeat of last year’s debacle.” Source: John Dixon, “Estadio Azteca to replace synthetic field with natural grass - The move will virtually guarantee that the Week 11 Chiefs-Chargers game will be played in Mexico City as planned,” on ArrowheadPride.com, 28 May 2019, athttps://www.arrowheadpride.com/2019/5/28/18642421/estadio-azteca-to-replace-synthetic-field-with-natural-grass
[No. 199] University of Arkansas going back to grass – an update. Back in June 2018 we reported that the University of Arkansas’ Donald W. Reynolds Stadium will switch back to grass for the 2019 season. Seehttp://www.synturf.org/sayno.html(Item No. 187). According to project website for the conversion titled “NaturalState = Natural Surface : Back to Grass in 2019,” on Razorbacks.com (retrieved 19 April 2019) at https://arkansasrazorbacks.com/naturalgrass/ , “[w]hen the Razorback football team takes the field at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium for the 2019 season opener, it will be ‘Running through the A’ on a natural grass playing surface for the first time in a decade. Arkansas will open the 2019 season on the new surface on August 31 when the Razorbacks host PortlandState in Fayetteville. With spring practice in the books, the process of removing the current stadium field turf will begin followed by below the surface work to prepare for the new natural grass playing surface. The new grass, dubbed Tahoma 31, is currently being grown at Winstead Farms and should be ready for installation at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in late July. The return to grass is the fourth surface change since the original 1938 playing surface. Arkansas last played on natural grass in the 2009 season. Tahoma 31 derives its name from the Native American word, Tahoma, which means frozen water. In test after test, Tahoma 31 shows its exceptional winter hardiness, tested up to 75% more cold tolerant than other bermuda grass varieties. With the additional characteristics of both improved wear tolerance and drought resistance, Tahoma 31 is ideal for sports turf, golf courses and high-quality lawns in the Mid-Atlantic & Transition Zone. Evergreen Matrix is a ready to play sports turf replacement system that enables instant use straight after install – perfectly suited for high demand stadium/elite field applications. Matrix turf rolls feature an interwoven mesh support layer that provides strength and stability to the sod without compromise to drainage.”
[No. 198] Wayland, Massachusetts – Annual Town Meeting does not adopt the artificial turf proposal for Loker Conservation and Recreation Area. According to a news item in Metro West Daily (1 May 2019), the “$3.3 million proposal for an artificial turf surface narrowly failed to garner the needed two-thirds majority at Town Meeting on Tuesday ( 1 May] night. Tuesday’s night’s 894-468 vote in favor of the proposal was 14 votes shy of what would have been needed.” Prior to the vote, “Recreation Commission Vice Chairman Christopher Fay listed the benefits of turf, including that it was more durable than grass and less costly to maintain. Opponents focused on possible health risks, including crumb rubber infill and plastic pieces that threaten a nearby pond and wetlands.” Source: Henry Schwan, “Wayland turf field proposal comes up short,” In Metro West Daily, 1 May 2019, at https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20190501/wayland-turf-field-proposal-comes-up-short .
[No. 197] FIFA says ‘no’ to artificial turf fields for Women’s Word Cup tourney – but how honest and firm is the commitment? By Guive Mirfendereski, Newton, Massachusetts. 2 April 2019. In March (2019) there was a bunch of “Google Alert” items with headlines like ‘FIFA will only allow natural grass fields at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.’1 We here at www.SynTurf.orgset out to do a deep dive to see if we can unearth an official communique or document that actually contains a directive/commitment form the directorate that FIFA has found religion and has mandated that women’s World Cup tournament play forthwith on natural grass – as opposed to artificial turf.
It will be recalled, in connection with the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada a bunch of world class women soccer players took offense to having to play on artificial turf.The brouhaha at the time was aired in terms of discrimination against women, as men play on natural grass. According to one petition on Coworker.org, no less than 70 national team players from at least 17 different national teams signed a petition to FIFA calling for natural grass in the 2015 Women's World Cup. The petition called on FIFA to modify the Canadian venues to natural grass.2 Canada being the only country willing to host the games at levels required by FIFA pretty much left the players at the mercy of Canadian venues and their artificial turf surfaces. Perhaps timing, cost, and practical considerations associated with the modification of the fields were more of a factor than the alleged larger issue of gender discrimination.
The players’ complaint in 2015 however was not entirely for naught. As Coworker.org reported in an update: “In an interview with Julie Foudy, Abby Wambach broke news that FIFA leaders assured her that the Women's World Cup would never again be played on turf. She said, “[Valcke] assured us that the Women’s World Cup would never be played on turf again. He gave me his word, which for me, that’s a win. For me, that’s progress.”3 The creator of the campaign noted: “While we were not able to convince FIFA to change the playing surface for the 2015 World Cup, we did succeed in getting FIFA to commit to natural grass for all future Women's World Cups, and we showed the world how professional athletes can ban together to demand that women have access to the same playing conditions as men. Thanks to this global effort, women in professional soccer around the world are demanding more -- and getting it. Let's keep fighting and winning!”4
The lawyer in me would like to have seen a written communication form FIFA stating that Women's World Cup would never again be played on artificial turf.
Fast forward to Women’s World Cup in France in 2019. According to a reporting by Associated Press, “[t]his year’s 24-team tournament in France will not have any artificial pitches at the nine venues.”5 Is this FIFA making good on its word given in 2015 or is the nature of the playing surface (this time not artificial turf) again the result of the circumstance.
These are the nine 2019 Women’s Word Cup venues (and their surface): Roazhon Park in Rennes (hybrid grass); Stade Océane in LeHavre (Desso GrassMaster); Stade Auguste-DeLaune in Reims (Desso GrassMaster); Stade de Hainaut in Valenciennes (grass); Stade des Alpesin in Grenoible (grass); Stade de Nice/Allianz Riviera in Nice (grass); Parc des Princes in Paris (GrassMaster); Stade de la Masson in Montpellier (grass); and Stade de Lyon in Lyon (AirFibr hybrid grass). It should not go unnoticed that none of the games – not even the finals - will be played in the notable national Stade de France in Paris, even though its surface too is GrassMaster (hybrid grass).
(Desso) GrassMaster is a hybrid grass surface consisting of natural grass combined with polypropylene fibers. To reinforce the natural grass pitch, some 20 million 20-centoimeters long fiber strands are inserted vertically 18 centimeters deep into the soil in a grid about 2 x 2 centimeters. “The grass roots entwine with the fibres and grow deeper and wider. The PP fibres above the surface are designed to ensure an even and stable surface. GrassMaster can be installed before seeding, after seeding or on grass sods.”6
A first for FIFA World Cup, hybrid grass (Desso GrassMaster) was used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.7In the United States, the hybrid grass (Desso GrassMaster) is best associated with the surface at Lambeau Field, the home of the NFL Green Bay Packers. In England, the iconoic Wembley Stadium too is (Desso-GrassMaster.
A surface with some 20 million strands of polypropylene fibers (a petroleum derived polymer) is hardly a natural grass surface. The use of the term “hybrid grass” is misleading in that the product is not a hybrid of two kinds of grasses; it is an interspecies product, which also unlike natural grass fields requires sand infill.
That be as it may, according to Associated Press ‘[h]ybrid-grass systems are considered natural grass according to FIFA’s requirements and hybrid reinforcement should be considered for stadium pitches.’8
Let us fast forward to Women’s World Cup 20123. According to Associated Press,
“FIFA will only allow natural grass fields at the 2023 Women’s World Cup…. FIFA has made it clear such surfaces [synthetic] won’t be acceptable in 2023… ‘The pitch shall feature a natural grass playing surface,’ FIFA’s bidding requirements state.”9 Once again the misnomer persists that hybrid grass systems or hybrid grass is the same as natural grass. Consider the following blurb from an industry publication - “FIFA says no more artificial turf for Women's World Cup. The controversy surrounding Canada's use of artificial turf fields when it played host to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup will be forgotten for the 2023 event when only natural grass fields will be used. FIFA has made it clear artificial turf will no longer be acceptable.”10
What would FIFA say if Women’s World Cup is faced once again with a single candidate to host the games and it refuses to bear the cost of modifying its fields to natural grass for the tourney? Would FIFA bear the cost of such modification? When it comes to Men’s World Cup we already know that surfaces in the 2026 World Cup will be natural grass. The FIFA bid book for Men’s World Cup (Canada, Mexico and United States) in 2026, titled “UNITY. Canada, Mexico, and the United States. United Bid to Host the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” has the following assertions: “We have secured more than 150 venue-specific training sites and Team Base Camp options, including Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX practice facilities and stadiums, college and university facilities, and other natural grass facilities.”11 (Emphasis added). “The United Bid is already working to help ensure football can continue to be played at all levels, regardless of environmental challenges, economic barriers, and other limiting factors. We have challenged researchers in North America to create a hybrid grass that can be grown and maintained in an indoor facility or other challenging climates.”12
The gravamen in the 2015 action by the Women’s World Cup petition was that “the artificial surface is less forgiving than grass and impacts the game because of concerns over injury. They also claimed balls travel and bounce differently on artificial turf.”13 With FIFA’s endorsement of artificial turf for play other than World Cup matches, the proliferation of artificial turf fields in every level of play in the United States and elsewhere – including municipal facilities, public and private schools and universities – it is fair bet that over time soccer players would grow accustomed to playing on fields with the same characteristics as the object of players’ complaint in 2015. And a day may come when FIFA will sanction artificial turf for the Men’s World Cup as well – thus leveling the playing field for men and women in a race to the bottom.
2. Campaign created by Stephanie Vick, “FIFA: The World Cup Should Be Played on Natural Grass” and addressed “To:FIFA Women's World Cup Committee & Peter Montopoli, Chief Executive Officer for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015” at
[No. 196] Ringwood/Wanaque, New Jersey – Voters nix artificial turf funding measure. According to a news item in North Jersey Record (11 December 2018), “[v]oters on Tuesday [11 December] rejected the $2.4 million bond for the renovation of LakelandRegionalHigh School’s athletic complex. Roughly 63 percent of voters in the boroughs who participated rejected the proposal centered on the installation of artificial turf at the field behind the high school, according to unofficial results provided by the boroughs’ clerks…. [B]both towns had more than 60 percent of voters reject the project that Hugh Beattie, the school district superintendent, said would ‘help raise property value and encourage local students to dream of winning championships.’ The bond's rejection makes the project highly unlikely in the near future.” Source: David M. Zimmer, “Ringwood, Wanaque voters reject artificial turf upgrade at LakelandRegionalHigh School,” in North Jersey Record, 11 December 2018, at https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/passaic/wanaque/2018/12/11/ringwood-wanaque-voters-reject-artificial-turf-upgrade-lakeland-regional-hs/2277836002/
[No. 195] Dutch soccer’s elite league incentivizes switch to natural grass. Eredivisie is the highest level of professional soccer/football in the Netherlands. Its decision on 15 November 2018 is not a complete ‘say no’ to artificial fields, but it is something and deserves to be recognized as a second step to eradicating the scourge that afflicts field sports, the first step being the discontent of players to play on this surface.
According to a news report on Football-Oranje (15 November 2018), “[a] revolution surrounding the Eredivisie has been under discussion for around two years with two external consultancies coming up with new plans for the Dutch top flight. These included a new competition format, consisting of 16 clubs and end of season playoffs. There has also been discussions over the share of revenue and the banning of artificial pitches.” On Thursday, 15 November 2018, “the Eredivisie clubs came to an initial agreement on some of the changes proposed, but there will be no chance to the competition format. … Artificial pitches will not be banned, but clubs that play on grass or a hybrid will receive a share of up to 3.5 million euros. Eredivisie director Jacco Swart (pictured) said, ‘There is no obligation to stop using artificial grass. But we see this as an encouragement. It is a more than serious incentive to switch.’ … The new measures start from the 2020/21 season. Source: [Admin], “Eredivisie clubs agree changes on Artificial pitches and Revenue,” on Football-Oranje, 15 November 2018, at http://www.football-oranje.com/eredivisie-clubs-agree-changes-on-artificial-pitches-and-revenue/
[No. 194]Ellington, Connecticut – a whopping majority vote down artificial turf field plan, while ‘no artificial turf’ signs went missing from around down. According to a news report on WFSB (CBS affiliate, Hartford) (7 November 2018) “[r]esidents in Ellington did not pass a controversial artificial turf field at the high school. Town officials said 2,278 voted for the field and 5,065 voted against it. While some backed the project, many said the $2.6 million plan was too expensive. This week a number of signs that said, ‘no artificial turf’ went missing around town. Source: “Controversial artificial turf vote fails in Ellington,” on WFSB (CBS affiliate, Hartford) (7 November 2018) athttps://www.wfsb.com/news/controversial-artificial-turf-vote-fails-in-ellington/article_648acc6a-e2a3-11e8-b13b-abeee0281b45.html .
[No. 193] Bend La Pine, Oregon: Schools’ Executive Director of facilities says artificial turf fields are not cost effective in drier climates. According to a news report in The Bulletin (4 November 2018) “[a] fourth comprehensive high school in [Bend-La Pine] will open its doors in fall 2021, complete with a large sports complex. But its football, soccer and lacrosse teams will be using a natural grass field, instead of artificial turf such as on the field at SummitHigh School. According to Mike Tiller, Bend-La Pine Schools’ executive director of facilities, the school board decided in 2007 that all high schools would have exclusively grass fields. He added that turf isn’t cost-effective and that Central Oregon’s dry climate doesn’t require turf fields. ‘I think turf makes a lot of sense in the (Willamette) Valley where it rains a lot and grass can get muddy,’ he said. ‘Thankfully, we don’t have that problem.’” Source: Jackson Hogan, “No artificial turf for Bend’s new high school - Unless parents raise funds for turf, new school will have only grass,” in The Bulletin, 4 November 2018) at https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/6646944-151/no-artificial-turf-for-bends-new-high-school
[No. 192] Brickell (Miami), Florida – Public protests forces the city to do 180 on artificial turf.Brickell is a posh and happening neighborhood in Miami, Florida, which is also the city’s financial center with towering office buildings and luxury condos overlooking Biscayne Bay. According to an item on WPLG, the local ABC affiliate, “Miami officials have agreed to remove recently installed Astroturf from sidewalks in the city's Brickell neighborhood after protests from neighbors. Mayor Francis Suarez told protesters gathered along Brickell Avenue on Monday [15 October] that the company that installed the AstroTurf, Easy Grass Miami, has agreed to remove the plastic turf at no cost to the city. City officials plan [to] meet with residents next week to discuss lingering concerns and to ensure the areas are replanted with natural grass. Neighbors said the artificial grass is harmful to trees and worried that the plastic strips would become unsanitary from pet waste. Some of the sidewalk medians were covered in concrete with the fake grass placed on top. ‘I can tell you hundreds of dogs go to the bathroom in that Astroturf every day, and you can already see little dried poops all over the place,’ protester Miriam Merino said. The Astroturf was part of larger beautification project in the neighborhood that cost more than $300,000. Merino called it the ‘plastification’ of Miami. While the protesters were pleased with the city's decision, some of them remained skeptical. ‘We still will have a very sharp eye on top of them,’ Merino said."
[No. 191] Lagos, Nigeria - Teslim Balogun Stadium pitch is going with natural grass. According to a news item in The Eagle (16 September 2018), “[t]he promise of the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, to replace the artificial turf at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere with natural grass is gradually coming to reality. The government has mobilised the contractor to the site as the artificial turfs on the main bowl of the stadium are being removed for replacement with natural grass for the facilities to meet the required standard to host FIFA and Confederation of African Football matches. The Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh, confirmed the development, adding that the mainbowl artificial turf is being replaced with natural grass in fulfilment of Governor Ambode’s earlier promise. Tandoh said the development was in line with the commitment of the present administration towards providing world class sporting facilities across the State.” Source: “Lagos begins re-grassing of Teslim Balogun Stadium,” in The Eagle, 16 September 2018, at https://theeagleonline.com.ng/lagos-begins-re-grassing-of-teslim-balogun-stadium/
[No. 190] Harvard, Massachusetts – No artificial turf filed on Pond Road field per Department of Environmental Protection. According to a news item in Harvard Press (9 August 2018), “[a]Advocates for an artificial turf sports field on Pond Road were forced to withdraw their proposal in late July  after the state Department of Environmental Protection ruled against it because the field lay within Zone 1, a protected area immediately around the town well. In an email dated July 27, Susan Connors of the DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester responded to an inquiry from Karen Strickland, one of the group’s organizers, writing, ‘Unfortunately … this field cannot be constructed in a Zone 1 area. You cannot remove earth and replace it with plastic in a Zone 1 area.’” … “[T] the goal was to build a synthetic field within walking distance of the BromfieldSchool [Harvard, Massachusetts], using about $3.25 million in private funds. The proposed field would include a new softball diamond as well as space for soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.” … In the discussion [preceding the DEP decision] …. both [Department of Public Works] Director Tim Kilhart and Cindy Russo of the Water and Sewer Commission raised the crucial issue of the town well. Kilhart noted that part of the existing playing field is within Zone 1, the primary protection area around a well that supplies public drinking water. Within that zone, Kilhart pointed out, the town must be ‘environmentally safe, not just environmentally friendly.’ Both Kilhart and Russo also emphasized that the project would have to have approval from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection before getting the go-ahead from any local boards.” Source: Marty Green, DEP nixes artificial turf at Pond Road field,” in Harvard Press, 9 Augsut 2018, athttps://harvardpress.com/News/News-Articles/ArtMID/4510/ArticleID/17403/DEP-nixes-artificial-turf-at-Pond-Road-field or here.
[No. 189] Staunton, Virginia - MaryBaldwinUniversity opts for grass field. According to a news item in Staunton News Leader (30 August 2018), “[w]hat is now an active construction zone beside the Physical Activities Center (PAC) will soon become SMA [Peter] Worth Field, a world-class platform for [Mary Baldwin University]’s soccer program and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL). Worth, the founder and chairman/CEO of American Benefits Consulting, said he feels fortunate to be able to give back.” “[W]ith a gift of $450,000 to the university in honor of his time at the [StauntonMilitaryAcademy, which had owned the field before the school closed in 1976], Worth is fueling the transformation of the same field he once marched on as a young man. ‘I had my first total education at StauntonMilitaryAcademy, and it was where I grew up. I am very appreciative of Mary Baldwin coming in and joining with SMA to continue our traditions through the cadet corps.” “ ‘In the age of artificial turf, the installation of this caliber of grass will make it one of the nicest fields in North America, let alone NCAA Division III,’ said Jonas Worth, athletic director (no relation to Peter Worth). Jonas Worth said research has shown that playing on a natural grass surface is better for athlete health long-term, helping players avoid knee injuries and concussions…. MBU has contracted with Carolina Green Corporation, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm specializing in athletic field construction, on the project. They have built fields for elite Division I universities, including the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, and DukeUniversity, as well as for professional teams." Source: Jeff Schwaner, “$450K gift from military academy alum helps Mary Baldwin restore a field of dreams,” in Staunton News Leader, 30 August 2018, athttps://www.newsleader.com/story/news/2018/08/30/military-school-alum-gives-450-k-mbu-restore-his-field-dreams/1150258002/
[No. 188] Brookline, Massachusetts – 2018 Annual Town Meeting bars the town from spending funds to install synthetic turf at Cypress Field. According to a news report on WickeLocal.com – Brookline (23 May 2018), on the first night of the 2018 Annual Town Meeting [22 May] the town meeting “members made their way through the first seven of 37 warrant articles before wrapping up for the night. Complete with a passionate debate on the Cypress Field renovation, a review of the $291,669,854 budget for fiscal year 2019 passed with 178 votes in favor and one against.” “The heat picked up once Town Meeting reached the proposal to appropriate funds for the design of renovations at Cypress [Street] Playground and the athletic field. The project has been a source of heated debate among residents over installing artificial turf at the field. According to Parks and Recreation Commission member Nancy O’Connor, almost 2,000 people weighed in during scoping sessions on the project. ‘The opinions were truly split down the middle,’ she said. One of the oldest parks in Brookline, the field is on the town’s books for renovation as part of the upcoming capital improvement plan, with the renovation set to be coordinated with the high school expansion and renovation….. Arguing against synthetic turf, residents in the Cypress Field neighborhood have stressed that the field serves the neighborhood in many ways beyond athletics, as a destination for families, picnickers, those walking dogs and others. Those in support of grass argued that installing synthetic turf would eliminate those uses. Others raised concerns over the environmental impacts. ‘We need to do a better job of balancing between the needs of athletic teams and the many diverse neighborhoods that enjoy this park,’ said Precinct 6 Town Meeting member Brian Hochleutner. Ahead of Town Meeting, Hochleutner filed an amendment to prevent the town from spending funds to install synthetic turf at Cypress Field as part of the renovation. Following the hour-long debate, Town Meeting voted in support of Hochleutner’s amendment. Source: Emma R. Murphy, “Brookline Town Meeting: Members debate Cypress Field synthetic turf,” on WickedLocal.com – Brookline, 23 May 2018, athttp://brookline.wickedlocal.com/news/20180523/brookline-town-meeting-members-debate-cypress-field-synthetic-turf
[No. 187 ] Fayetteville, Arkansas - University of Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Stadium will switch back to grass. According to a news item on WholeHogSports.com (26 May 2018), “[t]The Arkansas Razorbacks will return to natural grass in 2019 after playing a 10th year on their current artificial turf surface at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Razorbacks Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said in Hoover, Ala., the decision has been made to install real grass when the 2018 season comes to an end. The life cycle of artificial turf such as the PowerBlade 2.5 installed at Razorback Stadium for the 2009 season at the behest of then-Coach Bobby Petrino is typically 10 years. The turf project cost roughly $1.1 million upon installation. The surface at the stadium was natural grass through the 2008 season. First-year Coach Chad Morris expressed a preference for grass over turf early this spring. ‘Let me say my preference is I love natural grass,’ Morris said on March 3. ‘That's just me. Maybe that’s just the high school coach in me.’ ‘Worrying about what the next surface out here looks like is irrelevant to me. I just want to get through a practice and get better today. But I prefer, I’m a natural grass type of guy. I love being on a grass field. There’s nothing better than that in college football, or football period.’ The announcement of a move to natural grass had been expected. Source:Tom Murphy, “Razorbacks plan return to natural grass field,” on WholeHogSports.com, 26 May 2018, at http://www.wholehogsports.com/news/2018/may/26/razorbacks-plan-return-natural-grass-field/
[No. 186] Austin, Texas – Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium could go back to natural grass. Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium has been home to the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns football team since 1924. According to an article on 247Sports.com (11 may 2018), “[o]ver the last 25 years, Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium has had almost as many changes to the playing surface as the Texas program has had head football coaches. The run of astroturf being the surface of choice ended following the 1995 season when the Longhorns went back to natural grass. The end of the John Mackovic era and the majority of Mack Brown’s tenure saw Texas play home games on grass, until 2009 when synthetic turf was installed (and eventually replaced by new turf in 2013). With athletic director Chris Del Conte in the midst of making a series of changes in and around the stadium, is replacing artificial turf with the real deal on the horizon? Del Conte said it’s ultimately up to Tom Herman [Head Coach] whether or not the change will be made. If it was solely Del Conte’s call, going back to natural grass would likely be surely in the works. ‘I like the smell of grass coming out and playing, but it’s also a coach’s preference,’ Del Conte said prior to the Fort Worth stop on the ‘This Is Texas Tour.’ ‘My preference is I just like a grass field.’ If Texas made the move, the Longhorns would be only one of four programs in the Big 12 to play their home games on natural grass with Iowa State, Oklahoma and TCU (where Del Conte was previously the athletic director prior to coming to Texas) being the others. Del Conte noted that a healthy number of college football programs are making the shift to synthetic turf — only four of 14 Big Ten schools play on and only five Pac-12 stadiums have a natural grass surface. That’s not the case in the ACC or the SEC, two conference[s] that each feature 10 stadiums with natural grass surfaces…. ‘I waffle a little bit on it,’ Herman said. ‘I would love grass — I love grass. I believe football was meant to be played on grass…’ ‘Football is meant to be played on grass,’ Del Conte said. ‘I like it and if you can grow grass — we’re in a great climate — grow grass.’” Source: Jeff Howe, “ Del Conte, Herman discuss merits of Texas going back to grass,” on 247Sports.com, 11 may 2018, athttps://247sports.com/college/texas/Article/Texas-Longhorns-Football-Tom-Herman-
[No. 185] Constantine, Michigan – It is a “no” for artificial turf funding. According to a news item in Sturgis Journal (16 May 2018), on Monday 14 may 2018, Constantine Public Schools Board of Education opted “not to install artificial turf at Sweetland Stadium, following heated discussion with residents opposed to the idea. More than 40 attended the meeting to voice objections. Several people called for the resignation of school board president John Shuler. In a recent edition of the school newspaper, Connections, Constantine Superintendent Steve Wilson announced the proposal to install artificial turf.” “Wilson said ‘artificial turf is not happening’ and there would be no more discussion about the subject…. Sod was last installed at Sweetland Stadium in May 2013.” Source: Angie Birdsall, “Board: No artificial turf at Sweetland Stadium,” in Sturgis Journal, 16 May 2018, at http://www.sturgisjournal.com/news/20180516/board-no-artificial-turf-at-sweetland-stadium
[No. 184] Wachusett, Massachusetts – Voters turn thumbs down on artificial turf measure.Wachusett RegionalSchool District in Massachusetts serves the communities of Hoklden, Paxton, Princeton, Rutland, and Sterling. The district’s high school – Wachusetts regional High School – is located in the Town of Holden. According to a news item in The Landmark (16 May 2018), during Holden’s Annual Town Meeting -14 May 2018 - “[t]hree hundred, seventy-five voters approved a town and school override by a small margin, but defeated additional money for an artificial turf field for Wachusett Regional High School … Voters turned down $60,120 for the town’s share to replace the artificial turf field at Wachusett Regional High School by 168 votes.” Source: Tara Vocino, “Voters pass overrides, reject turf field, elect Orell,” in The Landmark , 16 May 2018, at http://www.thelandmark.com/articles/voters-pass-overrides-reject-turf-field-elect-orell/
“Shredded tire rubber mulch at East Durham Park will be replaced, after the Durham City Council told city staff to move forward before results of an Environmental Protection Agency study on its use. Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan - firstname.lastname@example.org”
[No. 183] East Durham, North Carolina – City Council orders rubber mulch removed from EastDurhamPark.According to a news story in The Herald-Sun (10 April 2018), “[t]he shredded tire mulch in EastDurhamPark will be replaced after parent concerns about potential health hazards. While city staff members had been waiting on an Environmental Protection Agency study, the Durham City Council decided to go ahead and replace it. Council member DeDreana Freeman has led the effort to remove the tire rubber mulch from the playground on East Main Street and replace it with engineered wood fiber.” … “In Minnesota, The Duluth News Tribune reported last year that the Duluth School Board voted to replace playground rubber mulch with a wood product after parent advocacy. The Northeast Central Durham Leadership Council also asked the city to remove the rubber mulch in November.”
Council member Mark-Anthony Middleton said making a change because of residents' requests, but for reasons city staff cannot document, will set a precedent, and that the council is crossing a threshold.” … “Freeman said ‘as a parent understanding how chemicals interact with your child, is the threshold I want to set.’ She is worried about the potential environmental hazard. ‘I would err more on the side of caution and not have those around my child,’ she said.” “Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson said the issue is difficult ‘because we don't have clear science.’ But she also doesn't want to wait on a study from the EPA under the current presidential administration. ‘I feel like folks in the community have largely stopped using the park because they’re afraid of the health risk,’ Johnson said. Council member Vernetta Alston said she thinks the cost is worth it because of the potential risk if the mulch is found to be a health hazard by the EPA.”
SynTurf.org Note: According to the Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson the removal of the rubber mulch is owed to the desire to get the public to use the playground again. She is quoted as saying, “I feel like folks in the community have largely stopped using the park because they’re afraid of the health risk.” So here is proof positive that parents have the power to bring about change if they only keep their kids off the toxic mulch and toxic artificial turf systems.
[No. 182] Highland Park, Texas – No plastic turf for yards in this posh community. Highland Park is a town in central Dallas County, Texas. It is among the five wealthiest locations in Texas, and the most affluent suburb of Dallas. While being rich seems to go hand in hand with being able to afford bad taste, in this community the residents decidedly are against having plastic grass adorn their neighbors’ front yards.
According to a news article on ParkCitiesPeople.com (26 March 2018), “[d]on’t expect Highland Park council members to change town ordinances to allow synthetic turf in front yards. After public meetings, a survey, and a petition, council members have concluded that most residents prefer to keep Highland Park natural…. Town staff and council members have been discussing since June the possibility of removing a 2012 prohibition on artificial turf in front yards and other places visible from town streets, sidewalks, or alleys. Some residents wanted artificial turf as an option, especially in highly-shaded areas where growing lawns can prove tricky. Town staff studied a variety of options for regulating what materials could be used and what percentage of a lawn could include fake grass, but public feedback leaned heavily against allowing synthetic turf anywhere neighbors could see it. Kirk Smith, town development services manager, reported that of 269 residents who provided feedback in January and February, 179 of them – 67 percent – were opposed to allowing the artificial turf. ‘I think this is a form of representative government,’ McKnight said. The council member said he studied the feedback and found especially persuasive concerns raised about what the fake turf could look like as it ages. Council member Margo Goodwin, who has expressed all along her disdain for plastic plants, noted that residents who provided input on the town’s Hackberry Creek Master Plan also emphasized the importance of preserving Highland Park’s natural beauty. ‘All these people came down on the side of ‘Keep it natural, keep it natural,’ she said. With the council choosing to not change turf regulations, town officials will begin enforcement action against two properties discovered last year with illegal turf installments.” Source: William Taylor, “Survey Says: No Fake Turf in Front Yards,” on ParkCitiesPeople.com, 26 March 2018), at http://www.parkcitiespeople.com/community/survey-says-no-fake-turf-in-front-yards/ .
[No. 181] Westmoreland, New York – Voters turn down artificial turf field. According to a news report in Rome Sentinel (9 February 2018),“[a] proposed $5.95 million capital project for the Westmoreland school district, involving various upgrades to buildings and facilities, was rejected Thursday [8 February 2018] by district voters by a 2-to-1 margin. The tally was 317 “no” votes and 157 “yes” votes, said district School Business Official Mark Kennedy.” ” Among project steps sought [was] installation of artificial turf and lights on the football field. “Regarding factors in the voting, the proposed turf field ‘was the controversial item...on the building project list,’ Kennedy said today. Estimated construction costs for the turf and lights totaled about $1.7 million or about 28 percent of the overall project cost. Kennedy noted ‘a lot of things going...on Facebook’ involving issues with the turf field. He said he did not know “if it was the cost...if it was the water” in terms of concerns that may have prompted voters’ opposition.” “The football field is atop part of the aquifer for the local water supply, explained Kennedy, and some people were concerned about the impact of chemicals relating to the turf …. Because of the field’s location over the aquifer, the district ‘cannot do weed control or fertilize’ the current grass field, Kennedy commented. The turf was being eyed to relieve those maintenance issues, he added.” Source: Dave Gymburch, “Voters sack turf, $5.95M project in Westmoreland,” in Rome Sentinel, 9 February 2018, at http://romesentinel.com/education/voters-sack-turf-5-95m-project-in-westmoreland/QBqrbi!RxOLX9aI4bGxf5FsMI1S9A/
[No. 180] Hockinson, Washington - Voters gave thumbs down to the measure to fund artificial turf; school district wants to know why! According to a news story in The Reflector (2 May 2017), “[t] he Hockinson School District is trying to understand why the February vote to raise money to replace the high school’s primary athletic field with a synthetic turf failed…. About 59 percent voted no in the election…. Details of the levy proposal that was shot down include that it asked for $1.5 million split over six years (or $250,000 each year). The projected levy rates were 19 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value for 2018, 18 cents per $1,000 for 2019 and 2020, 17 cents per $1,000 for 2021 and 2022 and 16 cents per $1,000 for 2023. Raised tax rates, the idea that synthetic turf would cause more injuries or even cancer, and simply a preference for real grass instead were all among reasons people were against a new turf field.” Source:“HockinsonSchool District asking community why turf levy failed,” in The Reflector, 2 May 2017, athttp://www.thereflector.com/news/article_2570ed56-2f7c-11e7-9b60-676d58b7246c.html.
[No. 179] Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – Rationality helps natural grass fields plan triumph over plastic fields project. Guive Mirfendereski, Newton, Mass. 1 June 2017. A year ago, a group calling itself MV@Play proposed a $12 million project to develop a sports facility centered at the Vineyard’s High School for use by the school, youth programs, summer camps, and adult leagues. The group worked with “Gale Associates, an engineering and consulting firm that specializes in athletic-facility planning and design.” These folks never met a grass field they did not wish to convert into plastic with crumb rubber infill to boot. But as an Islander put it in a far more diplomatic tone at the time “[w]hile Gale Associates have put together a compelling case for artificial turf, this says more about their skills as salespeople than it does about the potential impact on the health of our Island,” wrote Rebekah Thomson in a letter was submitted to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) committee overseeing the MV@Play proposal.
Thomson was not alone in arguing for natural grass fields. She and likeminded Islanders formed a grassroots group called Vineyarders for Grass Fields (VGF) and began challenging the assumptions underlying the proposal. The first point of attack was the crumb rubber infill that typically accompanies the artificial turf fields. “Since the project was first proposed, community members have expressed concerns with the synthetic turf material, and any corresponding health risks. Others had concerns about the feasibility of funding any necessary maintenance, upkeep, and replacement of the synthetic turf in the long term, and any potential impacts on the watershed.”
Given the questions surrounding the toxic and carcinogenic substances in crumb rubber, the discussion of installing an artificial turf field at the High School shifted to installing an artificial turf field but with so-called “organic” infill. The shift from crumb rubber infill to “organic” or “plant-derived” infill is a very common “half-loaf” solution or “compromise” between protagonists of natural grass and synthetic turf; both parties however do share one objective – to make expand the playability of the available athletic fields.
By February 2017, the proposal came to call “for a mix of synthetic turf and grass fields, with one synthetic turf field inside a new 400-meter track. This field would carry the majority of the high school sports load — field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and football — to allow grass fields to recover or grow in.” It proposal was to be implemented in three phases:The first phase would replace “the playing surface of the track and field infield with artificial turf composed of 90 percent coconut and 10 percent cork, along with installing lights, 500 bleacher seats, and a four-foot chainlink fence around the venue. Phases two and three, in the development stages, would refurbish other MVRHS playing fields, including the football field, with a new field of either artificial turf or natural grass.”
While the MV@Play proposal was pending before Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), on 1 May 2017 the VGF members Mollie Doyle and Rebekah Thomson appeared before the Martha’s Vineyard High School committee and presented their group’s proposal for the high school field renovation project and also for the other public playing fields Island-wide. On May 2 the Vineyard press reported that MV@Play, which had secured already the backing of the committee, postponed the consideration of its proposal by the MVC. On May 11, in a complete turnabout, the high school committee voted unanimously to move forward with the VGF proposal instead. The VGF “field plan is projected to cost about $6 million, including a $2 million endowment and $850,000 for material and equipment over five years. Phase one of the MV@Play project, which included a new track and field, was estimated at $3.5 million.”
 Cameron Machell, “MV@Play postpones application to MVC,” on MV Times, 2 May 2017, at
According to a news story in the MV Times (17 May 2017), “Both MV@Play and Vineyarders for Grass Fields want to improve the conditions of the athletic fields. The difference in the proposals, however, was that where MV@Play aimed to centralize athletics at the high school, Vineyarders for Grass Fields took a regional approach by spreading usage out and improving fields around the Island. ‘If we get them in better shape, then we won’t have to concentrate use at the high school,’ Ms. Thomson said. Vineyarders for Grass Fields wondered whether the poor condition was attributed to overuse or lack of maintenance. Grass expert Jerad Minnick of the Natural Grass Advisory Group, which looks at providing solutions to the challenges of maintaining natural grass fields, determined it was due to a lack of proper maintenance.… Mr. Minnick assessed fields around the Island, including OakBluffsSchool, WestTisburySchool, Veterans Field, and the Edgartown Boys and Girls Club. ‘He said that none of our fields were overused,’ Ms. Thomson said. ‘But that they were all just undermaintained.’ So they developed a proposal that focused on basic maintenance practices, with an endowed position for an Island grass superintendent that the group allocated $75,000 for, who would oversee field maintenance — mowing, fertilizing, aerating, overseeding, and monitoring irrigation.”
According to the same news story, “[t]he proposal calls for an organic program that’s in accordance with Oak Bluffs and Island regulations around groundwater quality and fertilizers, using natural and organic fertilizers, soil conditioners, compost mixes, and top-dressindressings. Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown is one of the first all-organically maintained courses in the country, and Jeff Carlson, superintendent of the golf course, offered his unpaid expertise to the group, as did Craig Saunders, a local hydrologist. The group plans to take current samples of the groundwater, and Mr. Saunders recommended installing three test wells for continual nitrogen monitoring, a responsibility the grass superintendent would handle. Concerns about groundwater and potential harm from fertilizers and chemicals are valid, which is why the group is taking an all-organic approach, Ms. Thomson said. ‘We are completely committed to that,’ she said.”
The VGF “group has set up a fund through the Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard to support a comprehensive, organic approach to field management, including equipment, maintenance and training.”
[No. 178] Harare, Zimbabwe – FIFA-sponsored artificial turf at Rufaro Stadium bites the dust, gives way to natural grass.The Rufaro Stadium is located in Mbare, the high-density southern suburb of Harare. The stadium is the home turf ofDynamos Football Club,a top-tier team in the Premier Soccer League. Some years ago FIFA – the world soccer governing body -- through its GOAL program sponsored the conversion of the natural grass pitch into an artificial football pitch.
According to a news story in Chronicle (1 March 2017), Harare’s city officials “are confident Rufaro will be ready in time for the 2017 football season after the artificial turf was removed some five weeks ago and natural grass is currently being planted.
Rufaro’s synthetic turf, called Extreme Turf, was supposed to be restored after every three years but that was not the case with the one laid at the Council-run stadium which is home of Dynamos…. [HarareCity official Hope Chizuzu said ….] ‘I think we are on the right track, work at Rufaro has since commenced and the artificial turf is no longer there, we resorted to natural grass. We always try to keep up with standards and when the life span of the artificial turf lapsed we saw fit to remove it and replace it with natural grass.’” Source:Takudzwa Chitsiga, “Artificial turf off, in comes natural grass at Rufaro,” in Chronicle, 1 March 2017, at http://www.chronicle.co.zw/artificial-turf-off-in-comes-natural-grass-at-rufaro/
[No. 177] Sag Harbor, New York – Scholl District turns on artificial turf; okays bond referendum for grass fields. According to a news story in Newsday (15 February 2017), “[v]oters in the Sag Harbor school district approved a $1.45 million bond referendum Wednesday [15 February 2017] for a natural grass athletic field and other work, reversing course on a controversial proposal to use synthetic turf. The 458-73 vote was the district’s third on the issue in four years. Voters first approved a $1.62 million bond for a synthetic turf field at Pierson Middle/High School in a fall 2013 referendum, only to reject it three years later. Voters in December 2016 were asked to approve spending $365,000 more to pay for added costs after the lowest bid for the project was $500,000 more than what officials had budgeted. Work on the natural grass field could begin this summer, according to a statement released by the district. The bond also covers construction of a new practice field at Sag HarborElementary School that is expected to begin in summer 2018. In recent years, opposition to the synthetic turf has grown in communities across Long Island. Residents have cited concerns about the health and safety of the material….District officials had proposed using a type of crumb rubber in the synthetic turf. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ‘Concerns have been raised by the public about the safety of recycled rubber tire crumb used in synthetic turf fields and playgrounds in the United States . . . Limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb, but the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb.’ The district’s voters rejected the additional spending in December, 1,016-135. Voters had approved the fall 2013 bond referendum for the synthetic turf field, 585-507. Susan Lamontagne, a school board trustee since July 2016 who ran in opposition to synthetic turf, said earlier in the week that she had hoped a reversal on the issue would serve ‘as a model on Long Island and New York State for how to develop really nice, healthy, top-notch athletic fields.’” Source: Scott Eidler, “Voters OK $1.45M bond for natural grass at Sag Harbor schools,” Newsday, 15 February 2017, at http://www.newsday.com/long-island/education/voters-approve-natural-turf-school-athletic-field-in-sag-harbor-1.13131825 . For an earlier post about the saga of Sag Harbor, see Item No. 175 below.
[No. 176] Holmdel, New Jersey – Township Committee turns down conversion to artificial turf at CrossFarmPark. According to a news story on Patch.com (New Jersey) (18 February 2017), a proposal to install turf fields at CrossFarmPark has been taken off the table. According to the news story, “[t]he Holmdel Township Committee voted Thursday night [16 February 2017] in favor of an ordinance that would repeal a plan to install artificial turf at CrossFarmPark. The vote means a controversial idea to install turf at Cross Farms is now off the table, unless it is re-introduced. Many parents, particularly parents of Holmdel's youth soccer and lacrosse teams, wanted the turf there. Hundreds of others in Holmdel objected, saying it would degrade the park. The vote was 4 to 1: Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Patrick Impreveduto, Tom Critelli and Michael Nikolis all voted to repeal the ordinance. Committeeman Eric Hinds was the sole person who voted against repealing the ordinance. Hinds has long been the most vocal supporter of installing turf at Cross Farm. Hinds coaches youth soccer in Holmdel. If the Committee had sided with Hinds, and voted as he did, the question of whether or not to install turf fields would be put to the entire Township to vote in a public referendum on Nov. 7 [, 2017]. “The turf field proposal is not moving forward at this time," said Township Administrator Donna Vieiro.” Source: Carly Baldwin, Holmdel Township Votes to Repeal Turf Fields Ordinance, on Patch.com, 18 February 2017, athttp://patch.com/new-jersey/holmdel-hazlet/holmdel-township-committee-votes-repeal-turf-fields-ordinance
[No. 175] Sag Harbor (East and South Hampton, Long Island), New York -- According to a news report in The East Hampton Star (14 December 2016), “Sag Harbor residents sent a clear message to the Sag HarborSchool District: An artificial turf athletic field is not wanted in the community. With a final count of 1,016 to 135 on Wednesday, voters rejected the school district’s proposal to use $365,000 from its capital reserve fund to supplement the money the community had approved by referendum in November 2013 for an artificial turf athletic field at Pierson Middle and High School. The field emerged as a controversial issue in recent months at school board meetings and community forums primarily because of questions over its alleged health risks…. ‘This is a great victory for the health of our children and the environment,’ said Helen Roussel, a parent of three children in Sag Harbor schools. Source: Christine Sampson, Emphatic 'No' to Artificial Turf Field in Sag Harbor, in The East Hampton Star, 14 December 2016, at http://easthamptonstar.com/Education/20161214/Emphatic-No-Artificial-Turf-Field-Sag-Harbor
[No. 174] Chapel Hill, North Carolina - University of North Carolina says no to artificial turf at Kenan Memorial Stadium. According to a news report on the DailyTarHeel.com (2 December 2016), “[i]nstead of installing artificial turf in its football stadium, North Carolina will continue to use real grass and replace it with sod as needed, said Mike Bunting, associate athletic director of facility planning and management.” “UNC officials decided after several months of discussion to continue using real grass, a decision confirmed in meetings as recent as Nov. 18.” Bunting made the following comments while explaining the decision: “[i]t’s economically a sound decision, and it’s our football program’s preference to stay on grass, it was an easy decision … We’re not wishy-washy on this decision,” he said. “We’re going to stay on grass.” Source: Cole del Charco, “Kenan Stadium will keep real grass,” on DailyTarHeel.com, 2 December 2016, at http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2016/12/kenan-stadium-will-keep-grass-over-artificial-turf-unc-officials-decide
[No. 173]Laurel, New York - Mattituck Park District commissioners shelve artificial turf for athletic complex. According to a news story on southoldLOCAL (17 June 2016) “[a] controversial proposal to install an artificial turf field at the Aldrich Lane athletic complex [Laurel, Long Island] has been shelved by the Mattituck Park District commissioners. Commissioner Gerard Goehringer, who had been on the fence about the plan, said taxpayer feedback at a public information meeting last month convinced him the district should not go forward with it.” “[Commissioner Nick Deegan who was staunch opponent said], ‘I opposed it from the get-go. From a year ago when it was first brought up, I didn’t think it was a good idea, with health issues and environmental issues and the cost involved.’ Residents expressed concerns about potential adverse health effects of materials used as a base layer beneath the turf. Synthetic materials used in the base layer of turf fields raised health concerns, they said.” “Goehringer said the district will proceed with ‘enhancing the present field there, dealing with the parking lot there and building a small addition on the building to include a bathroom facility.’ ‘We’re going to be doing everything the taxpayers were requesting,’ Goehringer said.” Source: Denise Civiletti, “Turf field plan for Aldrich Lane complex is ‘a dead issue’ after public speaks out,” on southoldLOCAL, 17 June 2016, at http://southoldlocal.com/2016/06/17/turf-field-plan-aldrich-lane-complex-dead-issue-public-speaks/
The artificial turf at M&T Bank Stadium was reduced to bales of what looks like alfalfa Thursday as the players finally get their wish.
[No. 172] Baltimore, Maryland – Ravens’ conversion to natural grass moves apace. In January 2016 we reported on the decision by the Baltimore Ravens to convert the artificial turf field at the M&T Bank Stadium into natural grass. The work has commenced and there are some visuals worth viewing of the process. According to the news report on WBAL (TV 11 – NBC affiliate in Baltimore) (10 May 2016), “[f]or the first time in more than a decade, the Baltimore Ravens will play on real grass instead of artificial turf. The last time the Ravens had real turf at M&T Bank Stadium was for the 2001-02 season. Thanks to player requests, the Ravens grounds crew began the huge task of ripping up the artificial turf in February. The turf had been there for more than 14 years. Head groundskeeper Don Follett is overseeing the installation of 80,000 square feet of sod, which as crews carefully placed on a bed of sand on Tuesday. ‘Their perception of the real grass is they like it better, and that's really where the push came from, from our players,’ Follett said. In the beginning stages, crews had some concern about sunlight. While the field gets plenty in the summer, the Ravens' bench side of the field gets only two to three hours of sunlight a day in November and December. Thanks to technology, Follett said it can get more. ‘We’ll actually have grow lights that we'll bring out here on the field. There are enough grow lights I'm buying that will cover a third of the field. So we'll do (one-third) one day, and we'll move it up and then do the center of the field the next day,’ Follett said. The sod came from a farm in North Carolina in 42-inch-wide and 100-foot-long bales.” Source: Lowell Melser, “Grass replaces turf at M&T Bank Stadium,” on WBAL (TV 11 – NBC affiliate), 10 May 2016, at http://www.wbaltv.com/sports/grass-replaces-turf-at-mt-bank-stadium/39473956
[No. 171] Hull, Massachusetts – Voters vote down funding for artificial turf. According to a news report in The Boston Globe (13 May 2016), on 10 May 2013, “[v]oters in Hull rejected a tax-limit override plan to spend millions of dollars on capital improvements -- including a $1.9 million artificial turf field at the high school …. The turf field has been a contentious subject since fall of 2015, when Town Meeting first rejected the proposal -- and then approved it after midnight in a reconsideration vote. A move to reverse that approval failed at the May 2016 Town Meeting. Source: Johanna Seltz, “Hull rejects artificial turf field again,” in The Boston Globe, 13 May 2106, athttps://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2016/05/13/hull-again-rejects-artificial-turf-field/Lvng7hEhbZEJMGf4X2ThZO/story.html
[No. 170] South Korea – Schools move away from artificial turf playgrounds. According to a news article in Korea Times (28 April 2016), in the early 2000s the Ministry of Education offered financial help to schools to make the switch from natural grass to artificial turf, and more than 1,000 schools across the country joined in the change. Now, there is a change of heart. According to the Ministry of Education “ Concerns have been raised over toxic chemicals used in the artificial turf and their impact on children’s health. It was also expensive to maintain the artificial grass, the lifecycle of which was between seven and eight years, and it required endless maintenance." In 2012, the ministry stopped its financial support for conversions. According to the news article, “Last year , the ministry conducted a national investigation and found 174 out of 1,037 schoolyards had at least one of 11 toxic chemicals in its artificial grass, which was higher than permitted amounts. The toxic substances include lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chrome and benzopyrene. At one school in Pohang, the amount of benzopyrene was 470 times higher than the permissible level, which is 1 milligram per kilogram. Following the investigation, the Busan Metropolitan Office of Education ended its support for artificial turf. Last year, it paid all the expenses to have 11 schools in the city remove their artificial grass, after the ministry’s study showed that the artificial turf at the schools was found to contain the toxic substances. It will continue to pay for schools up to 200 million won to remove the turf … Last year, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education also started recommending schools opt for dirt playgrounds. Source: Kim Se-jeong, “Schools move away from artificial turf playgrounds,” in Korea Times, 28 April 2016, at http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/04/116_203657.html
[No. 169] University of Mississippi reverts to natural grass. According to a news item on Ole Hotty Toddy (9 February, 2016), “Ole Miss [Vaught-Hemingway Stadium] has been home to an artificial field surface since the mid 2000’s but that all will change next season. With the bowling in of the North end zone, a natural grass surface will follow. Field Turf began to catch on in the early 2000’s, following a redesign from the original Astro Turf used in the late 1960’s to the mid 1980’s. Jason List of the Ole Miss Athletic Department posted an update, as half of the artificial surface has already been removed, as the 2016 season grows closer.” Source: Brad Logan, “Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to get natural grass,” on Ole Hotty Toddy, 9 February, 2016, at http://olehottytoddy.com/2016/02/09/out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new-at-the-vaught/
[No. 168] Brisbane Australia: Indooroopilly State School says ‘no’ to artificial grass after many years – it’s just DAGGY! According to a news report on 612 ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Radio ABC Brisbane] (18 February 2016), “it seem like only yesterday that artificial turf was this new, exciting option for play spaces at schools where the grass had long ago given up? Well the worm has turned at one Brisbane school. It’s students say are ready to rip their fake grass out - describing it as hot - especially during the weather we're having at the moment - and it’s just DAGGY!
[Go to the source-link to hear the interviews]. They've become finalists in a national competition to redesign their school's 'fake grass desert' into something clever, creative and fun. The pens hit the paper today to see what the students, teachers and parents can come up with. Terri Begley is with some of the budding designers - and fake turf haters - at Indooroopilly State School. Source: Spencer Howson, “Indooroopilly SS to rip up post-drought artificial grass Amanda,” on - 612 ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Radio ABC Brisbane], 18 February 2016, at http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2016/02/indooroopilly-ss-to-rip-up-post-drought-artificial-grass.html
SynTurf.org Note: The term ‘daggy,’ of Australian origin, is an adjective meaning ‘not stylish, out of fashion, not trendy, not cool, untidy, unclean, not neat.’ Used as verb the word means ‘to have no style.’ Used in a sentence: ‘That haircut/outfit makes you look daggy.’ Urban Dictionary at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=daggy (JBar - 21 January 2014).
[No. 167] Somerville, Massachusetts says no to artificial turf at Lincoln Park. According to a news report on WickedLocal (13 January 2016), “[a]fter hundreds of residents pushed back on a plan to redesign Lincoln Park with synthetic turf, city officials are proposing a $9.4 million renovation of the area using grass fields, sharply reducing athletic activity at the park. The plan, which needs to be approved by the Board of Aldermen, also creates a ‘community activity corridor’ with more than $1 million in recreation equipment connected by tree-lined paths, a new off-leash dog park and an outdoor classroom for the Argenziano School. Depending on approval, construction could begin in summer 2016…. [G]rass fields require less athletic use to allow for regeneration, according to a city press release, and organized field use will be reduced to Argenziano School recess as well as limited light use for younger youth sports. Last year, numerous teams used Lincoln Park for practices and games, including high school softball, soccer and ultimate teams, adult kickball squads and Somerville Youth Soccer and Somerville Youth Softball. To find space for teams no longer able to use Lincoln Park, city officials are working with Tufts University officials on an arrangement to give city residents more access to university fields on a permanent basis, according to mayoral spokesperson Denise Taylor. She said Medford has also offered Somerville limited use of one of their fields for the next year and a half and that officials are also working to get more access to Draw 7 Park, which is owned by the state, and could lay down synthetic turf at other fields.” Source: Dan Atkinson, “$9.4M plan would keep Lincoln Park's fields natural but reduce sports playing time,” on WickedLocal (Somerville), 13 January 2016, at http://somerville.wickedlocal.com/news/20160113/94m-plan-would-keep-lincoln-parks-fields-natural-but-reduce-sports-playing-time
[No. 166] University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium will stay with natural grass. According to a news report on RockyTopInsider.com (2 December 2015), Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart spoke to the media on 1 December 2015 about the “condition of the field inside Neyland Stadium – which has been noticeably torn up more and more as the seasons have progressed the last couple years.” “Hart said that many fields in the region are ‘torn up’ at this time of year but added that “UT is currently expanding its practice field, which will lessen the need to use Neyland Stadium as a practice facility in the future” and that he has confidence in “the existing turf management team at UT.”
According to Hart, “Tennessee will not be considering any form of artificial turf … ‘We would not consider field turf. There’s been no discussion of that nature. We want to continue to move forward with natural grass.’” Source: Daniel Lewis, “Hart: Vols Will Not Consider Field Turf,” on RockyTopInsider.com, 2 December 2015, at http://www.rockytopinsider.com/2015/12/02/hart-vols-will-not-consider-field-turf/
[No. 165] Baltimore, Maryland: Ravens will switch to natural grass. According to a news item on NBCSports.com (4 December 2015), the Baltimore Ravens “saw players get injured at an alarming rate this year on their home turf. And while they say that’s not the reason, they’re switching to grass anyway.” The Ravens president Dick Cass said the team is getting rid of the artificial stuff they’ve played on for 13 years at M&T Bank Stadium in favor of a natural surface. Cass said - “We want to try and see if we can have a good grass field at M&T Bank Stadium. We knew we were going to replace our current field at the end of the season in any event. For a long time, we just assumed that we would go with artificial. We’ve been very happy with this field. But our players really much prefer to play on natural grass. We talked to the players about it. We had a meeting about it maybe three months ago now. I think the coaches prefer it to be on natural grass. I think our fans will prefer it because Baltimore is sort of an old school football town and natural grass is more consistent with the way that we view that we play football. I don’t think the injuries we’ve experienced this year or in prior years are related to the type of [surface],” he said. But if you look at studies that have been done around the league, I do think that you’d find that there are more lower body extremity injuries on artificial surface than there is on a grass field.” Source: Darin Gantt “Ravens replacing artificial turf with grass next season,” on NBCSports.com, 4 December 2015, at http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/12/04/ravens-replacing-artificial-turf-with-grass-next-season/
[No. 164] Elko, Nevada: City goes with natural grass. According to a news report in the Elko Daily Free Press (27 November 2015), “[i]n an effort to save money, the City Council voted Tuesday to redesign the first phase of the sports complex to have natural, instead of synthetic, turf. ‘The big elephant in the room, from my standpoint, is the upfront cost of construction of synthetic and the end of life cost of synthetic (turf),’ said Parks & Recreation Director James Wiley. He was also concerned about how the City would pay for lighting that would cost around $750,000. Wiley said some donations the City anticipated to cover lighting are now expected to come in lower. Going with natural turf, which costs an estimated $800,000 less, would allow the City to use that money for lighting. Not only is a synthetic surface more expensive up front, it would require replacement around 10 years, Wiley said. The estimated cost to the City would be about $1 million for both softball fields…. Wiley [also said that] Synthetic turf also requires maintenance such as disinfecting, washing and cleaning. Because the surface gets hot, it also needs to be cooled with water. Furthermore, the City would have to anticipate potential vandalism and the different methods required to dispose of bodily fluids and pet waste.
In a 20-year time period, Wiley said the maintenance costs for natural and synthetic are comparable. ‘The best-case scenario, I think, is a wash,’ he said. Daily maintenance of natural turf would cost the City less than $100,000 a year. City Manager Curtis Calder said with a synthetic surface, the City would have to save $100,000 a year to replace it in a decade, and this may require raising players fees.” Source: Heather Kennison, “Going natural: City opts out of using synthetic turf for sports complex,” in Elko Daily Free Press, 27 November 2015, at http://elkodaily.com/news/going-natural-city-opts-out-of-using-synthetic-turf-for/article_7889bc0a-00af-57d4-b7d5-e507919cc817.html
[No. 163] Lower Macungie, Pennsylvania: Town council kills appropriation for turf fields. According to a news item on WFMZ.com (6 November 2015) "[t]he hotly-debated plan is dead to spend millions for two synthetic turf fields in Lower Macungie Township.....The controversial project in Quarry Park is being killed by the change of one person on the five-member board of commissioners. In September, Commissioner Ryan Conrad, who supported the project, resigned because he moved away. Conrad immediately was replaced by Benjamin Galiardo, who was appointed. Galiardo does not support the synthetic turf fields project. That change reversed the majority opinion on the issue. Last December, Higgins and Commissioner James Lancsek voted with Conrad to fund the fields in the 2015 budget, but Commissioners Ron Beitler and Douglas Brown opposed spending township money for them. Brown, the leading opponent of the plan, has said 90-95 percent of township residents oppose the fields. During one of the October public workshops on the '16 budget, Brown asked that funding for the fields be removed from the budget and Beitler and Galiardo agreed with him, according to Higgins." Source: Randy Kraft, “No artificial turf fields coming to Lower Macungie,” on WFMZ.com, 6 November 2015, at http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/no-artificial-turf-fields-coming-to-lower-macungie/36303592
[No. 162] Glen Gardner, New Jersey: Voters give the thumbs down to a measure that included replacement of natural grass fields with artificial turf.According to news item on NJ.com (3 November 2015), on Tuesday, 3 November 2015, the “[v]oters rejected the $7.3 million NorthHunterdon-VoorheesSchool District referendum…. The funds were to cover nine projects, from a new turf field at VoorheesHigh School to a new heating and air-conditioning system at NorthHunterdonRegionalHigh School. A total of 3,362 (52 percent) voted down the referendum to 3,044 (47 percent) voting in favor of it.” The measure included $1.56 million for installation of new artificial turf field to “replace existing grass field at VoorheesHigh School [in Glen Gardner].” Source: Emily Cummins, “Voters reject $7.3M North Hunterdon-Voorhees referendum,” on NJ.com, 3 November 2015, at http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2015/11/north_voorhees_referendum_results.html.
SynTurf.org Note: The money for the turf project was by far the second most expensive item, behind the $1.90 million HVAC project, counting for more than 20% of the appropriation.
[No. 161] Kolkata [Calcutta], India: ATK manager says he is happy to revert to natural grass. According to a news story in The Free Press Journal (29 September 2015), Antonio Lopez Habas, whose team Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) the Indian Super League (ISL) last season, “ATK will play their home games on natural grass at the Salt Lake Stadium this time around and Habas looked excited about it. ‘It’s fantastic that the artificial turf is now a thing of past. It’s great to hear that they have changed the pitch to natural grass. People talked last time that we had the advantage but let me tell you, we had to struggle the most because we kept switching from artificial to natural turf in away matches.’” Source: Ronald Chettiar, “ISL Manager Watch: Antonio Lopez Habas,” in The Free Press Journal, 29 September 2015, at http://www.freepressjournal.in/isl-manager-watch-antonio-lopez-habas/
[No. 160] Willard, Missouri: Bermuda grass alive and well in age of artificial turf. According to a news story in Springfield News-Leader (10 September 2015), in an era when “[g]rass football fields are disappearing across the state … the Bermuda grass at Tiger Stadium in Willard stands green and ready for Friday night. Willard voters rejected a $15.2 million bond proposal in 2014 that included plans to replace the grass with artificial turf. Willard Public Schools Director of Grounds Phil Robertson, a former golf course superintendent, is one man happy to see the grass stay on the football field…. Four school employees take care of the grounds in the Willard school district, including eight outdoor playing fields and about 200 acres of property…. ‘Our focus has been to provide the best natural turf surfaces we can for all of our kids in all our outdoor sports,’ Staley said. “I would put our field up against anybody’s.’ … In the Central Ozarks Conference Large Division, which Willard competes in, the schools are split. Nixa, Ozark, Branson and Webb City have artificial turf, while Willard, Republic, Carthage and Neosho play on grass” Source: Rance Burger, “Willard Bermuda grass alive and green in era of artificial turf,” in Springfield News-Leader, 10 September 2015, at http://www.news-leader.com/story/sports/high-school/2015/09/10/willa%20rd-bermuda-grass-alive-green-era-artificial-turf/72012376/
[No. 159] Grass Valley, California: Bear River field remains grass for reasons of cost and preference of players and coaches. City of Grass Velley is located in the foothills of Sierra Nevada, some fifty miles from Sacramento. According to a news report in The Union (19 August 2015), during the summer the overused field at Bear River High School’s J. David Ramsey Stadium was upgraded. “Over at Bear River, the mound of dirt and grass they called a football field has been renovated, flattened and re-sodded with Bermuda grass. ‘We played 29 seasons on that field. It had seen its day,’ said Bear River athletic director Duwaine Ganskie of the old turf at J. David Ramsey Stadium. ‘We’re really excited about getting a new surface to play on.’ Those 29 years took its toll, reshaping the Bruins gridiron into a mound where the turf was 26 inches taller in the middle than it was on the sideline,' said Ganskie. The new turf cost approximately $110,000, said Ganskie, much of which was covered by a fund set aside by the Board of Directors years back. He also added that much of the labor and equipment was donated, helping to defray the overall cost. Ganskie said that artificial turf was considered but found, after talking with several coaches and players, that natural grass was preferred; also noting that artificial turf would have come at a much greater cost. ‘After talking with coaches and players, a lot of them said they really enjoy playing on natural grass,’ said Ganskie.” Source: Walter Ford, “Local high schools upgrade athletic facilities,” in The Union, 19 August 2015, at http://www.theunion.com/news/sports/17785837-113/local-high-schools-upgrade-athletic-facilities#
[No. 158] Middletown, Connecticut: All of City’s nine fields will remain natural grass. According to a news story in TheMiddletown Eye (25 August 2015), “[t] Common Council voted to amend the $37M bond ordinance on park improvements to ensure that the money could not be used to install artificial turf on city fields. It did so after 25 people spoke against artificial turf during the public comment period of the special meeting. If passed by voters in November, the bond would fund improvements to city parks recommended by a study commissioned last year by the Council. One of many recommendations was that 9 city fields be replaced with artificial turf. Zack Ettinger spoke in favor of artificial turf on behalf of the city's youth soccer league, saying that it provided consistent bounces and a smooth surface for the ball, and would provide players with more time to practice and play, by extending the season. Others with soccer experience disagreed on the value of predictable ball bounces. Resident Scott Kessel, who has coached at the intercollegiate level, said that the elimination of irregularities would deny children one of life's most important lessons--learning how to deal with irregular bounces. Mary Bartolotta proposed, and Hope Kasper seconded, the amendment removing the phrase “artificial turf” from the bond ordinance. Gerald Daley argued against this amendment, and offered a substitute that would mandate that the infill of the artificial turf be ‘organic, plant-derived.’ He argued that it was important to allow for multiple options. Bartolotta would have none of it, she felt that leaving options open for artificial turf was not good for residents. Sebastian Giuliano argued that even Daley’s version of the amendment was unacceptable, he urged that all options be available to those responsible for the fields. He justified this by proclaiming his ignorance, ‘I don't know enough to know if this stuff is dangerous or is not dangerous.’ Jim Streeto was also strongly opposed to the amendment, but he said he would support it for ‘political reasons.’ He was worried that residents would vote down the bond appropriation if it included artificial fields, and he thought the appropriation as a whole was too important, ‘half a loaf is better than none.’ The city’s bond counsel informed the Council that the removal of the phrase ‘artificial turf’ from the ordinance meant that any improvements to city fields would have to be natural grass. The vote on Bartolotta's amendment was tied 5 to 5, with Bartolotta, Kasper, Deb Kleckowski, Streeto, and Robert Santangelo, voting in favor. Mayor Dan Drew cast the deciding vote in favor of the amendment. The underlying resolution to approve the ordinance passed unanimously, and thus voters will decide in November whether to authorize $37M in park improvements that would NOT include artificial turf fields.” Source: Stephen Devoto, “City Fields To Remain Grass After Council Action,” in TheMiddletown Eye, 25 August 2015, at http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/2015/08/city-fields-to-remain-grass-after.html
[No. 157] Hartford, Connecticut: Planning & Zoning Commission turns down Trinity College’s application for 8 acres of artificial turf. SynTurf.org, Newton, Massachusetts. 28 July 2015. SynTurf.org has learned that on 14 April 2015 City of Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission rejected the application of TrinityCollege for 8 acres of artificial turf in the heart of the Frog Hollow neighborhood. According to unnamed sources, the commission approved the site plan only on the condition that the fields be natural grass. “The commission was applying its site plan review guidelines, some of which are quite particular, but others of which allow for broad environmental impact concerns to be considered,” sources said. The agenda for the meeting is available here. TrinityCollege’s Athletic Fields improvement plan is available here. Zoning regulations are available here http://www.hartford.gov/images/Planning/Zoning_Regulations_041515.pdf
[No. 156] Woodstock Illinois: There is unintended virtue in poverty. According to a news report in The Woodstock Independent (8 July 2015), the Woodstock School District 200 Board of Education unanimously voted on Wednesday night [8 July 2015] “to reject five bids relating to the proposed installation of an artificial turf surface at Woodstock High School’s Larry Dale Field. ‘The difference in cost was $350,000 over what was raised,’ District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan said. ‘We appreciate the work of the Renaissance Committee, but that gamble was just too large.’ The bids, opened Monday, July 6, and reviewed by staff to assure they met the project’s specifications, pertained to the first stage of project, which included preparing the subgrade, installing sewer pipes and an under drain system, installing a concrete curb and sidewalk, and landscape restoration… Prior to voting, the board allowed for public comments, and 17 people spoke against the measure, most citing health and financial concerns. No one spoke in favor of the plans. ‘I live down the street from the football field, and I am against the turf as the project stands now,’ said Mary Alice Howe, whose son is a soccer player. ‘None of us want our kids exposed to chemicals that are going to cause cancer. I have concerns about the groundwater and the air surrounding Larry Dale Field. Is this really a good idea? Maybe we can work together on both sides of the fence to find (another) way to improve the field.’ The field is primarily used for football games. Most opponents expressed concerns for using crumb rubber, made from recycled car tires, as a playing surface. They feared the material could be a health risk in the long term, and increase player injuries.” Source: Stephanie Price, “Woodstock District 200 Board Rejects Turf Project Bids: In the end, it all came down to money,” in The Woodstock Independent, 8 July 2015, at http://www.thewoodstockindependent.com/May-2015/Woodstock-District-200-Board-Rejects-Turf-Project-bids/ . See also Hannah Prokop, “Woodstock School District 200 Board rejects bid proposals for artificial turf field,” in Northwest Herald, 8 July 2015, at http://www.nwherald.com/2015/07/07/woodstock-school-district-200-board-rejects-bid-proposals-for-artificial-turf-field/alkhkj4/
[No. 155] Mount Vernon, Illinois: Township high school says not to artificial turf. According to a news item in Register-News (16 June 2015), “Mt.VernonTownshipHigh School officials have decided to use grass for the new high school's athletic field. Earlier this year, district athletic personnel had suggested artificial turf as a better option since it would increase sporting opportunities for students and save money on maintenance costs in the long run. Even so, the MVTHS Board of Education determined Monday [15 June 2015] the $650,000 price tag for artificial turf is just not in the project budget at this point.” Superintendent Michael Smith “recommended the board drop the artificial turf option during a report delivered to the MVTHS Board Monday night. Along with this suggestion, he also stressed the need to move forward soon on installing an irrigation system for the new grass field.” Source: Travis Morse, “MVTHS to go with grass football field,” in Mt. Vernon Register-News, 16 June 2015, at email@example.com athttp://www.register-news.com/news/mvths-to-go-with-grass-football-field/article_b6944f26-13d6-11e5-a411-9f217acdeb02.html
[No. 154] Spanish Fort, Alabama: No to artificial turf!According to a news report in the Gulf Coast News Today (5 June 2015), “[t]he Spanish Fort City Council met Monday evening [1 June 2015] with one pressure-packed issue on the docket that overshadowed all other pieces of business: a resolution intended to authorize the Mayor to enter into an agreement with the Baldwin County Board of Education for installing artificial grass at Spanish Fort High School. The council heard mixed reviews from the constituents at the previous city council meeting. In the time since then, the council members went out about the city talking with parents of children who play sports and parents of children who don’t. They surveyed the current facilities and spoke with coaches of the city’s athletic programs. With a 2-3 vote in which one councilman recused himself, the resolution failed. Three of the council members chose to speak in the discussion portion of the new business right before the vote.” Source: Patrick Herring“Spanish Fort says ‘No’ to artificial football turf,” in Gulf Coast News Today, 5 June 2015, at http://www.gulfcoastnewstoday.com/area_news/article_a412d116-0b9c-11e5-975b-2318dc9f7a65.html .
[No. 153] Winchester, Massachusetts: Voters reject artificial turf plan for Skillings Field. According to a news report on WickedLcal (Winchester) (9 June 2015) on June 9 “[r]oughly 19 percent of the electorate came out to vote. The environmental remediation/flood mitigation question passed by a vote of 1,716-914. The synthetic turf field failed by a vote of 1,473-1,157….The synthetic turf field that residents voted down would have cost $1.65 million, and was supported by the School Committee, as well as other groups.” Source: Bram Berkowitz, “Winchester voters approve flood mitigation, reject turf field,” in The Winchester Star, 9 June 2015 at http://winchester.wickedlocal.com/article/20150609/NEWS/150605980
[No. 152] Barrington, Rhode Island: Town rejects artificial turf measure. According to anews report on ecoRI News (28 May 2015), on Tuesday,26 May 2105, “[r]esidents voted down replacing the high school’s worn-out natural-grass football field with a synthetic turf field. But like much of the region, this sports-crazed suburb is likely to have at least one artificial-grass field in its near future… [O]pponents in the 208-to-139 vote seemed most swayed by the fact that the proposal to spend $1.5 million on artificial turf hadn’t been fully vetted by the School Committee and Town Council. In recent weeks, both boards agreed to form subcommittees to take a close look at costs, and possible revenue sources, of a turf field and bring it back to a vote at next year’s Town Meeting….In Barrington, environmental issues were repeatedly raised, but they didn’t seem to fully sway opponents as much as the financial questions…. [S]some people … worry. Beverly Migliore, a Barrington resident and scientist who studies turf fields for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, said for every article that supports turf field there are articles that oppose it. She suggested the town higher [sic] a risk-assessment specialist to analyze environmental impacts and risks of injuries… Other opponents noted that turf fields cause injuries and health issues that lead to lawsuits; have higher carbon footprints; and crumb rubber leaves the field on athletes and through runoff. Several suggested that the town consider safer alternatives such as silica sand, pulverized sneakers, cork and coconut hull. Resident Kathleen Crane, a former Division I athlete, agreed that time is needed to examine the potential health risks. ‘Many of which we don’t know because we don’t know the data,’ she said.‘I personally don’t want our children to be that data and the unknown health effects are paramount to me.’” Source: Tim Faulkner, “Is it Safe? Barrington Rejects Artificial Turf,” on ecoRI News, 28 May 2015, at http://www.ecori.org/government/2015/5/28/is-it-safe-barrington-rejects-artificial-turf
[No. 151] Ramapo, New York: Artificial turf plan goes down to defeat; among those opposing two doctors who serve on board of education. Ramapo (formerly, New Hempstead) is a town in Rockland County, New York. According to a news report The Journal News (20 May 2015), on Tuesday [19 May 2015], voters rejected (1,376 votes to 1,103) an $850,000 plan to replace the artificial turf field at Ramapo Central with a yet-to-be-determined material. The vote followed a “debate among parents — and pressure from two board members who are doctors—tomore closely examine the safety and health hazards linked to artificial turf.” According to a trustee of Ramapo Central School District Board of Education, Dr. Amany Messieha-Dgheim, “I think the fact that it was voted down was a clear indication that the community members are now aware of the risks that installing more of the same type of turf might involve.” Board President Theresa DiFalco said “[w]e’re going to research all the options and ultimately we'll do what’s in the best interest of the students of Ramapo Central. There’s a lot of different turf options ... there’s not just crumb rubber.” “Montebello resident Rob Charmak, whose two sons have played lacrosse on the turf fields, said he voted to support the $131 million school budget Tuesday, but against the field proposition because the process felt rushed and misinformed. ‘I want the kids to have the best of everything,’ he said. ‘If (the artificial fields) are unsafe, I’d be concerned, but I just don’t know right now if they are unsafe.’” “Other parents say they're in favor of going back to natural grass, but whether the district will consider that option is unclear. Superintendent Doug Adams did not return messages seeking comment.” Source: Mareesa Nicosia, “Ramapo Central considers new plan for turf field replacement: After turf defeat, Ramapo Central will craft new plan for fields,” in The Journal News, 20 May 2015, at http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/ramapo/2015/05/20/ramapo-central-school-district-turf-field-debate-next-steps/27669559/
[No. 150] Redding, Connecticut: Town votes down artificial turf field. According to a news item in News-Times, 5 May 2015, on [ Tuesday, 5 May 2015}the voters in Redding overwhelmingly defeated a measure to “authorize $660,000 to convert one of the community fields to artificial turf and expand it to be regulation size.” The vote was 527 people in favor and 1,050 opposing. Source: “Redding budget passes but turf project fails,” on News-Times (CT News), 5 May 2015, at
[No. 149] Winchester, Massachusetts: Artificial turf measure is defeated. According to a news report in The Winchester Star (27 April 2015), on 27 April the Town Meeting “chose not to allocate money for the construction of a synthetic turf and multipurpose athletic field [at Skillings Field]. “The article to allocate $1.65 million for the construction of a synthetic turf and multipurpose field failed to pass by a 91-59 vote. Finance Committee Chairman Jay Melkonian said the committee did not vote favorable action on the field. “‘We are concerned the revolving fund for the current synthetic field is not on track to cover (the cost of the field),’ he said.” “Planning Committee member Betsy Cregger said, ‘This is not something we can support on a regular basis,’ referencing the field’s projected life of 15 years.” Source: Bram Berkowitz, “Winchester Town Meeting approves mitigation work, but athletic field does not pass,” in The Winchester Star, 27 April 2015, at http://winchester.wickedlocal.com/article/20150427/NEWS/150426750
[No. 148] Denver Broncos’ practice field also goes all natural. As reported earlier, in March 2015, the Denver Broncos are in the process of having the grass-synthetic turf hybrid field at Sports Authority Field at Mile High converted to all natural grass. Seehttp://www.synturf.org/sayno.html(Item No. 145). Now, according to a news report on KCNC-TV (CBS4, 1 April 2015), the synthetic turf field at the BroncosDoveValley headquarters [installed in 2003] has been removed in favor of new sod. “It’s Kentucky bluegrass grown by Graff’s Turf Farms in FortMorgan. The team says the new grass will be ready in time for the Broncos OTA [organized team activity] workouts and will be in place at training camp [in the summer 2015].” Source:“Broncos Replace Turf With Sod At Practice Field,” on KCNC-TV (CBS4), 1 April 2015, at http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/04/01/broncos-replace-turf-with-sod-at-practice-field/
[No. 147] Windham, New Hampshire: Voters reject funding fro artificial turf field. According to a news report in Union Leader (10 March 2015),“Windham voters rejected [for the second time in several years] a citizen’s petition for a bonded $1.8 million turf field at WindhamHigh School.” The measure was defeated by a vote of 1,728 against versus 1,467 in favor. Source: April Guilmet, “Windham voters reject turf field, school expansions,” in Union Leader, 10 March 2015, at http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150310/NEWS0612/150319811
[No. 146] South Pasadena, California: Council votes against synthetic grass in City parkways; water conserved would not compensate for the cultural environmental issues. According to a news report in Tiger Online (8 March 2015), the “city council voted to prohibit the use of artificial grass in city parkways on Wednesday, March 4 . The council voted four to one against a proposed amendment to an ordinance, citing that the water conserved would not compensate for the cultural environmental issues.” The Natural Resources and Environmental Commission (NREC), Public Works Commission, Planning Commission, and the Design Review Board all supported the use of synthetic turf, but the “Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) was wholly against the idea of artificial grass … [I]t argued that there were more attractive water-conserving alternatives available and that the use of synthetic material would alter the neighborhood’s historic character.” Source: Kyle Kan, “City Council votes to keep synthetic turf out of parkways,” in Tiger Online, 8 March 2015, at http://tigernewspaper.com/wordpress/?p=1822
[No. 145] Denver (Colorado) and Toronto (Canada): Two more professional sports venues converting to natural grass. According to a news report on KCNC (Denver) (11 February 2015), the Denver Broncos are ditching the synthetic/grass hybrid field at Sports Authority Field at Mile High for an all grass playing field. The old field was removed on 9 February 2015 and the new field is expected to be in place by early April 2015. Director of Facilities for Stadium Management Company,Zach Myhra said in a statement, “Sports Authority Field at Mile High is committed to providing state-of-the-art amenities to fans and teams utilizing the stadium. After completing extensive upgrades to the stadium in recent years, our focus now is providing the safest and best possible playing surface at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.” “The new field will be made of 100 percent Kentucky bluegrass sod grown by Graff’s Turf Farms in FortMorgan. It's a switch from the synthetic blend surface that has been used at the stadium since it opened in 2001,” KCNC reported. Source: “Broncos Ditching Synthetic Field At Mile High, Using Kentucky Bluegrass Grown In Colorado,” on KCNC-TV(Denver, Colorado - CBS 4), 11 February 20015, at http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/02/11/broncos-ditching-synthetic-field-at-mile-high-using-kentucky-bluegrass-grown-in-colorado/
Meanwhile, 1.5 thousand miles away, in Toronto, Canada, the much maligned surface at the Rogers Centre (see, e.g., http://www.synturf.org/playersview.html Item No. 44) is about to become anything but synthetic. According to a news report posted on the University of Guelph website (6 February 2015), “[the university] and Toronto Blue Jays will collaborate on a research project to grow a natural turfgrass field in the Rogers Centre. …Researchers will undertake a year-long intensive study to determine the impacts of growing natural grass in the Rogers Centre. The major league baseball team aims to install natural grass with a dirt infield by the start of the 2018 season.” Source: News Release, “U of G to Help Blue Jays Bring Natural Grass to Rogers Centre,” 6 February 2015, at https://www.uoguelph.ca/cpa/wp/2015/02/u-of-g-to-help-blue-jays-bring-natural-grass-to-rogers-centre/
[No. 144] Bronxville, New York: Thumbs down on artificial turf. According to a news report in The Journal News (LoHud) (23 January 2015), Bronxville school district voters on Thursday [22 January 2015] rejected voted down 470 to 452 a measure to “allow the district to withdraw up to $2.2 million from an existing capital reserve fund to build a synthetic turf field and reconfigure Hayes Field. Source: Elizabeth Ganga, “Bronxville voters reject synthetic field, in The Journal News (LoHud), 23 January 2015, at http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2015/01/22/bronxville-voters-decide-money-fields-flooding/22158957/
[No.143] Ho-Ho Kus, New Jersey: Thumbs down to artificial turf field. According to a news report in The Record (9 December 2014), on Tuesday, 9December 2014,“[v]oters in Ho-Ho-Kus …rejected a district plan to seek $2.17 million in bonding to improve the school athletic field on Lloyd Road. The vote was 930 against the bond issue to 355 in favor of it. The upgrade would have included a rubberized running track surface and a synthetic turf playing field. … The controversial plan caused a rift in the borough. Some residents publicly questioned the need for synthetic turf at the field, suggesting sod or grass as a less-expensive alternative. Others objected to the resulting tax increase … The proposed artificial turf would be a repellant to wildlife, including geese, supporters of the project have said[!].” Source: Jim Normna, “Ho-Ho-Kus voters reject $2.17M school sports field improvements,” in the The Record, 9 December 2014, at http://www.northjersey.com/news/ho-ho-kus-voters-reject-2-17m-school-sports-field-improvements-1.1149279 .
[No. 142] Singapore: Pitch at national Stadium will go all grass. According to a news report on The Online Citizen (21 December 2014), the operator of the National Stadium, SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL), “has decided that the pitch at the National Stadium will be all-natural grass after earlier reports that it would be reverting to artificial grass.” The existing playing surface is a hybrid of synthetic grass and natural grass. Source: Terry Xu, “Pitch at National Stadium to laid over with all-natural grass,” on The Online Citizen, 21 December 2014, at http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/12/pitch-at-national-stadium-to-be-all-natural-grass/
[No. 141] Clinton, Connecticut: Voters overwhelmingly reject artificial turf bond. According to a news report in the New Haven Register (21 December 2014), the town referendum on17 December 2014, “killed a proposal to bond nearly $6 million in capital improvements, including the renovation of 15 miles of town roads. The only proposal that survived the referendum was an appropriation of $650,000 to purchase new breathing apparatus for the town’s volunteer firefighters. Presented as three separate questions, voters first rejected a $4.2 million appropriation to repair roads and bridges, build sidewalks and reconstruct riverfront bulkheads adjacent to the firehouse. Town Clerk Sharon Urrichio said the vote was 609 opposed, and 586 in favor. Next, a $1.6 million plan to install a turf field and perform other renovations at Ethel Peters Recreation Complex was dumped, with 859 against the appropriation and just 333 for it.” Source: Stan Fisher, “Clinton voters reject $6M bond proposal to repair roads, bridges,” in New Haven Register, 21 December 2014, at http://www.nhregister.com/government-and-politics/20141221/clinton-voters-reject-6m-bond-proposal-to-repair-roads-bridges .
[No. 140] The English Foot Ball League rejects artificial turf for League One and Two soccer clubs. According to a news report in Paste Magazine (6 November 2014), on 6 November 2014, the English Football League “voters rejected the use of artificial turf by League One and Two clubs. Some executives from the leagues, which are the third and fourth tiers of English football, had previously expressed interest in artificial playing surfaces, citing its financial benefits.” Source: Christopher Williams, “English Football Rejects Artificial Turf For League One and Two Clubs,” in Paste Magazine, 6 November 2014, at http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/11/english-football-egm-rejects-artificial-turf-for-l.html .
 Two communities in New Jersey (Glen Rock and GlenRidge), two in Maine (Gray and New Gloucester), and one in Illinois (Batavia) reject funding for artificial turf projects. According to a news report in the Glen Rock Gazette (Glen Rock, NJ, 5 November 2014) on Tuesday, 4 November 2014, the voters turned down in a resounding fashion (2,999 votes to 1,176) the referendum to fund the installation of artificial turf fields in Faber Field.Source: Richard De Santa, “Glen Rock voters reject turf field referendum,” in Glen Rock Gazette, 5 November 2014), at http://www.northjersey.com/news/nj-state-news/elections-in-nj/glen-rock-voters-reject-turf-field-referendum-1.1126423.
According to a news report on GlenRidge Voice/NorthJersey.com (Glen Ridge, NJ, 4 November 2014), on election-day (4 November 2014) “[it was] three strikes for synthetic turf on Hurrell Field. For the third time in seven years, a referendum to install turf on GlenRidge’s largest athletic field has been defeated by the borough’s voters. The … non-binding turf referendum failed to pass at the polls Tuesday night, 1,061 votes to 877. … After last year’s turf referendum, the mayor and council assembled a citizens’ advisory group and asked them to do research on different types of field surface; a number of residents had raised concerns about using synthetic turf that contained crumb rubber, citing potential health and safety concerns. The advisory group eventually made two recommendations, one of which was a synthetic turf surface with an infill layer of cork particles. It was this surface that voters were being asked to vote on this year. Source: Erin Roll, “GlenRidge votes down turf a third time,” on NorthJersey.com, 4 November 2014, athttp://www.northjersey.com/news/education/glen-ridge-votes-down-turf-a-third-time-1.1126451
According to a news report in Portland Press Herald(Maine, 4November 2014), on 4 November 2014, “[v]oters in Gray and New Gloucester shot down a proposal to borrow $6.6 million for School Administrative District 15 facility upgrades, including a new athletic field complex. They voted 5,340 to 1377 against the synthetic turf field. Source: “Voters reject SAD 15 upgrades,” in Portland Press Herald, 4 November 2014, at http://www.pressherald.com/2014/11/04/graynew-gloucester-2/ .
According to a news report in Chicago Times (4 November 2014), “Batavia [Illinois] voters refused [on Tuesday, 4 November 2014] to give school officials permission to borrow $15 million to pay for projects that include synthetic turf athletic fields, windows and parking lots, early vote totals show. … About $7.5 million of the borrowed money would have gone toward refurbishing BataviaHigh School's baseball and softball fields and installing the two synthetic turf fields.” Marwa Eltagouri, “Batavia voters reject borrowing for school improvements,” in Chicago Tribune, 4 November 2014, at http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/batavia-geneva-st-charles/ct-batavia-school-referendum-tl-20141104-story.html
[No. 138] Ocean City, New Jersey: In view of concern over crumb rubber infill, city nixes conversion of natural grass field to artificial. According to a news report in The Press of Atlantic City (14 October 2014), “[F]ollowing an NBC News report last week that showed a cancer link in soccer goalies who played on artificial fields with crumb rubber infill, and a subsequent request by a New Jersey congressman for an investigation into the connection, Mayor Jay Gillian said Tuesday the city’s football field [at Carey Stadium] would no longer be converted from grass to turf.” “While I am aware that there are no studies demonstrating a health risk associated with such turf, I have come to believe that further study is necessary,” Gillian wrote. “I am not ruling out installation of artificial turf in the future, pending the outcome of such studies. In the meantime the City will undertake the necessary repairs to the track and take any actions necessary to maintain the natural turf at Carey Field in a safe condition.” “Councilman Michael Allegretto said the mayor had met with several members of council to discuss his concerns and that the group had reached a consensus. Everybody agrees, there’s no need to rush. We are not going to be that town that ignores the news and blindly proceeds with the project, Council President Tony Wilson said.” “It just became very clear, after doing a review of media reports last week, that the mayor was uncomfortable with moving forward with turf at this time,” he said. “What kind of message does it send if we don’t do our due diligence?” Source: Cindy Nevitt, “Ocean City drops artificial turf plan after report of health problems,” in The Press of Atlantic City, 14 October 2014, at http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/communities/upper_capemay/ocean-city-drops-artificial-turf-plan-after-report-of-health/article_a00128ae-53e4-11e4-85a4-13969eefde0f.html .
[No. 137] West Deptford, New Jersey: Voters reject artificial turf. According to a news report in South Jersey Times (1 October 2014), “[v]oters [who]were asked to consider two proposals—one approving $16,784,065 in improvements at all five of the district schools, and another on a $1,275,000 proposal to replace the high school stadium field with synthetic turf,” approved the measure for improvements by a vote of 1,125 to 806. “The stadium synthetic turf was defeated 1,219 votes to 706.” Source: Jason Laday, “West Deptford Superintendent pleased with school improvement outcome on referendum vote,” in South Jersey Times, 1 October 2014, at http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2014/10/west_deptford_superintendent_pleased_with_school_improvement_outcome_on_referendum_vote.html .
[No. 136] Lancashire, United Kingdom: Back to natural grass at Preston North End’s Deepdale.According to news report in the Lancashire Evening Post (27 September 2014), “[a]rtificial grass will not be returning to Preston North End’s Deepdale despite many League One and Two clubs indicating they would be in favour of permitting 3G pitches next season. Preston—who installed a plastic pitch at Deepdale in 1986 before ripping it up eight years later—willnot be voting in favour [of the return of plastic pitches]…” when the bottom two tiers of the Football League clubs vote formally on 6 November 2014. According to PNE, “From a spectator point of view, it’s a completely different game and it also affects the players’ bodies in different ways.” Source: “PNE reject plastic pitch proposals,” in Lancashire Evening Post, 27 September 2014, at http://www.lep.co.uk/sport/preston-north-end-news/pne-reject-plastic-pitch-proposals-1-6864633 .
[No. 135] South Bend, Indiana: Artificial turf field to be replaced with natural grass. According to a news report on the CBS-affiliate WSBT-TV (15 September 2014), “[t] he South Bend Parks Board meeting just wrapped up and now the [South Bend] Silver Hawks [Class A minor league baseball team] are getting ready to play on a new turf. The board approved a motion to remove the artificial turf at Four Winds Field. Earlier this summer team owner Andrew Berlin said he wanted to put real grass back in the Cove as soon as possible.” Source: “Parks board approves removal of artificial turf at Four Winds Field,” on WSBT-TV, 15 September 2014, at http://www.wsbt.com/sports/parks-board-approves-removal-of-artificial-turf-at-four-winds-field/28073248 .
[No. 134] Cote St. Paul (Montreal), Canada: Residents snub artificial turf. According to a news report on CTVMontreal (30 August 2014), the residents of Montreal’s southwest borough “nixed a hefty provincial grant and opted to stick with a grass field rather than switch to an artificial turf on a soccer pitch in De La Verendrye Park.” “ Prior to last November's municipal election, plans were in place to install the $1.2 million artificial turf field but incoming councillors re-examined the dossier and opted to allow the field to stay natural.” “But citizens preferred the natural grass and let their councillors know. Councillor Alain Vaillancourt noted that several nearby residents felt that the artificial turf - which can raise temperatures by about five degrees on a hot day - might create a heat island.” “One mother whose two kids spend a lot of their free time playing on the field said that she supported the grass option. ‘We are surrounded by concrete and there’s the Turcot Interchange so the natural grass is important to us,’ Marie France Dionne told CTV Montreal.” Source: “Cote St. Paul residents snub artificial turf , on CTVMontreal, 30 August 2014, at http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/cote-st-paul-residents-snub-artificial-turf-1.1984245.
[No. 133] Little Silver, New Jersey: SicklesFarmPark will remain grass for now. According to a news item on RedBankGreen.com (5 August 2014), on 4 August 2014, the borough council informally agreed that “Little Silver isn’t ready for artificial turf at SicklesFarmPark.” “After hearing comments from residents divided over the initiative, the council decided not to pursue a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant toward an estimated $1.5 million project cost. Not this year, at least.” According to Councilman Donald Galante there is no benefit in “going to the county with half the community opposed. Let’s come up with another solution [referring to an alternative plan to address drainage problems at various playing fields around town]. If it takes another year, it takes another year.” Among those not favoring artificial turf, one “Skylar Haugenes, who works at the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County in Red Bank, said when she takes children from the club to nearby Count Basie Fields, they make a beeline for the grass, not the artificial turf.” “Reminding the council that the park’s name includes the word ‘farm,’ John Bollinger said the artificial field would be ‘hideously mismatched’ with its setting: adjacent to a farm market and a historic house.” Source: John T. Ward, “Little Silver Pivots in $1.5M Turf Plan, on RedBankGreen.com, August 2014, at http://www.redbankgreen.com/2014/08/little-silver-turf.html .
[No. 132] Murphy City, Texas: No more residential artificial turf in plain public sight. According to a news report Dallas News website (7 August 2014), on 5 August the Murphy City Council voted “to ban artificial turf in residential landscaping in areas visible from a street, sidewalk or easement. The city took up the issue after a family installed turf in their front yard, in violation of the city’s ordinance that all nonpaved surfaces should be covered with “living plant material.” The turf ban is intended to clarify that ordinance.” Source: Meredith Shamburger, “Murphy bans artificial turf in residential landscapes,” in Dallas News, 7 August 2014, at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/plano/headlines/20140807-murphy-bans-artificial-turf-in-residential-landscapes.ece
[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.