Letter: Synthetic Turf is a Big Mistake

Once a synthetic field is built, the city will be on the hook to pay for a replacement carpet when it becomes necessary, i.e. every 7-10 years.

Nursery Field
Published June 28, 2024 8:57 AM
2 min read

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To the Editor,

On May 14, The New Republic, covered the Nursery Field dispute (“Artificial Turf is Tearing Towns Apart”), highlighting many of the worries that continue to grow among Rye residents, including me.

In my view, the only good news related to this saga, to date, is that the city has pledged that if the synthetic turf plan does not move forward, it will act (and act quickly) to improve Nursery as a natural grass field. Judging by the constant sounds of happy kids playing sports I hear from my backyard, Nursery Field has been very playable this season. One can only imagine how much that playability would increase with proper drainage, pitch, and sod improvements.

This brings me to what I consider are the five most important reasons the city should not construct a synthetic turf field at Nursery:

First, our city can improve Nursery as a natural grass field as fast or faster than installing synthetic turf.

Second, the City is aware of new and pending legislation from the EPA and New York State regulating PFAS (forever chemicals), which are used to make synthetic turf fields. If the city goes ahead with a plan that puts in a field that would not be allowed in the next couple of years, remediation could be very costly for our city — both for our environment and our wallets.

Third, once a synthetic field is built, the city will be on the hook to pay for a replacement carpet when it becomes necessary, i.e. every 7-10 years. Estimates for the cost of each replacement are well over $1 million.

Fourth, in 2002, Rye received over $2 million in grants from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society for the “Long Island Sound wetland restoration project at Rye Nursery.” The grants were designated for the improvement of the floodplain ecosystem and to reduce the risk of flooding in our coastal community. The city should seek a common sense solution that maintains the natural, open, recreation space and also maintains our natural preserve.

And finally, even if a synthetic field is built, the city confirmed that it will have no increased scheduled use beyond Nursery’s current usage. In other words, all this money, all this risk, and without any corresponding benefit in increased playing time.

Let’s do the responsible thing and encourage the city to change its position and pursue an improved natural grass field at Nursery.

—Mike Little

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