We Want Artificial Turf

0:00 To the Editor: Kids need outdoor play, and for many kids, that means team sports. Unfortunately, Rye doesn’t have enough usable sports fields to […]

Published February 22, 2024 2:50 PM
2 min read


To the Editor:

Kids need outdoor play, and for many kids, that means team sports. Unfortunately, Rye doesn’t have enough usable sports fields to meet their needs. Rye parents spend inordinate amounts of time and money driving their kids to rented playing fields across the county. So a group of young families offered to donate an artificial turf field to the City. 

The authors of this letter are not the people who are offering this generous gift. But we admire their civic-mindedness, and we sympathize with their desire to make Rye more family friendly. And we’re impressed that they’re willing to pay for it themselves.

Moreover, we think their solution is a good one. Modern artificial turf fields are usable much more of the time than natural fields, drain better than grass fields, and can be made of materials that pass California Prop 65 safety standards. Some of us learned this by watching the City’s painstaking, multiyear consideration process. Or we heard about it from neighbors. Or we read about it on the would-be donors’ website: LetTheKidsPlay.org We also learned that improving Nursery Field with artificial turf would have virtually no ill effects.

Once this was firmly established, the City Council voted to have the City staff complete the design plan so it could be sent out to bid. 

Then there was turnover on the City Council. The new Council majority paused the project. We feel that was unnecessary. Worse, they may scrap it altogether. This would mean tossing away an opportunity to make a much-needed multimillion dollar field upgrade at no cost to taxpayers.

The Council member leading the about-face has a clear conflict of interest, as he has protested that he uses the grass playing field as his neighborhood park, he walks his dog there, and so on. (In fact, Nursery Field is designated as a multi-use athletic field and is not meant for passive recreation.) He halted the project on the pretext that the consideration process was rushed, and that questions remain. 

On the contrary, the consideration process was the opposite of rushed. It was a multiyear exercise conducted by city staff as well as sports field designers, hydrologists, and environmental engineers. The city held five public meetings, with packed crowds and experts on hand to answer questions. 

The important questions about the project — the ones about flooding, the environment, health, safety, aesthetics, traffic, etc. —  have been asked and answered. Any remaining questions concern minor details, which will be decided during the design process. These have no bearing on the wisdom of proceeding.

We appreciate our City Council members. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt. But blocking a fully vetted, much-needed community improvement on such a flimsy pretext is unacceptable. With all due respect, we ask our City Council to stop obstructing Nursery Field, and approve the resumption of the design plans at their very next meeting. 

Justin Boisseau, Clare Butler, Dave Butler, Meg Cameron, Keith Coyne, Sarah Coyne, Cheryl Geller, Harvey Geller, Jim Glickenhaus, Carolina Johnson, Jim Johnson and Rose C. Palermo

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