Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

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Not Everyone is Behind Synthetic Turf Field

This letter is a response to the full page ad in Sound and Town by Fields for Kids that says a synthetic turf field at the Mamaroneck High School is a project that “everyone can get behind.”

I wish I could, but I object to information in this FFK ad campaign regarding complete costs and the environment. It is startling to me that the “long awaited” DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) report on synthetic fields is touted as dismissing all doubts about environmental impact. However:

This DEC report states, as early as the Executive Summary on page 2, that “The study included a field sampling component for potential surface and groundwater impacts. This work has not been fully completed at the time of this report.” And thus “findings… should not be considered as conclusive.”

Regarding heat, on page 3 the DEC report states: “The results of the temperatures survey show significantly higher surface temperatures for synthetic turf fields as compared to the measurements obtained on nearby grass and sand surfaces.”

The DEC report then says “prolonged contact with the hotter surfaces may have the potential to create discomfort, cause thermal injury and contribute to heat-related illnesses.  Awareness of the potential for heat illness… needs to be raised among users and managers of athletic fields, athletic staff, coaches and parents.” (page 3)

Who will inform our community of this health risk before the field is contracted? Who will continue to monitor and post the risk? We have been told that there will be no lead or rubber crumb, but no products have been reviewed with the public that fit these criteria and the budget. How can one review the impact on the environment and health of our kids and complete a SEQRA report without complete information?

This is just one of my objections. I believe our community should be given up-to-date and complete information on the financial, health and environmental impact of this project. For more information on synthetic fields, access by Guive Mirfendereski, PhD, JD. The site offers other articles, costs and surveys from across the country.

Michele Lewis
Larchmont, NY

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8 comments to Not Everyone is Behind Synthetic Turf Field

  • Barry Silverstein

    Give it up already. We need the field for our kids and stop with the scare tactics about health impact. People tried the same approach to try to stop the Flint Turf field.
    Gee, do you think it’s more dangerous than the asphalt playground for the kids at Chatsworth School? Maybe to avoid the heat from turf fields we should just pave over all the fields.
    This field is getting done. Get over it.
    Thank you Fields for Kids.

  • Anon E Mous

    More than anything else perhaps, we need role models to demonstrate appropriate ways to approach reaching solutions. Else we may be able to stop worrying about the debt burden we may leave our kids and start worrying whether they will be able to inherit the good earth.

    Our constitution provides for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. But perhaps we should consider also what Fred W. Friendly said, ‘Our job is not to make up anyone’s mind, but to open minds — to make the agony of decision-making so intense that you can escape only by thinking.

  • Marley & Me

    I agree with Ms. Lewis. If proper channels are not followed, Larchmont will not only have sick children (and dogs) on hand but years and years of lawsuits and litigation is at risk here.

    It’s not about not wanting to give kids a field to play on, it’s about their safety and health. Did anyone ever see the effects of Agent Orange on a Vietnam Vet? Well, yes the obvious is true. One is wartime and the other is recreation. But the point being is that what we don’t know today, can kill us or our children later on down the road. You can take precautions today, but you can’t turn back the hands of time tomorrow. Better safe than sorry is the correct mantra to follow here. Minimizing the writer’s concern to a comment like “the kids are getting their field, so get over it”….does not encourage healthy dialogue at very real and potential future side effects and problems.

    Tolerance, dear people, Tolerance.

    Ruff, ruff!

  • larchmontlifer

    I find it interesting that Mr Silverstein uses the word need in reference to the field in question. Isn’t this really a case of want and not need? And isn’t it this sort of thinking that has led to a community of spoiled brats with drug and alcohol problems? (And those that argue that sports reduce the drug and alcohol use in our area, don’t kid yourselves. These athletes are the ones who are most involved.)

    When the voters said no to the bond that would have funded new fields, for a great many voters it was not just about the money. How is it that a school district can disregard a no vote? Are we entitled to vote on whether we want these funds accepted for the turf, versus using these funds to pay for maintenance of grass?

    And my final question is, why have other teams been told by the athletic department that they cannot fundraise to pay for equipment they need, things that should go under capital expenditures but are not, but this is ok? Isn’t this another case of different rules for different sports based on personal preference by the authorities that be?

  • Barry Silverstein

    Larchmont Lifer -
    You are correct in differentiating between want and need. Yes, we want the fields so our kids can get out and play sports. Point taken. The town and our kids will survive without it.

    I don’t believe anyone is under the illusion that one new field will solve drug and alcohol problems in the community, problems which are real and well beyond the scope of a sports field to fix.

    I have have a daughter in MHS and a son at Hommocks and have coached soccer and other sports in this community for the past 8 years and would hardly characterize our kids as “spoiled brats with drug and alcohol problems.” That is a charge against a group of kids who in general are hard-working, high achieving children/young adults who face more pressure and temptation than we ever did.
    This is not meant to defend irresponsible behavior, but we also should recognize what I believe to be a terrific community of children.

    Finally, the bond was fairly and narrowly defeated, so a new, more modest plan to get one field fixed has been brought forward that will not utilize taxpayer funds. I support this approach and have contributed my private funds even in precarious financial times because I believe it is important for my children and others.

    To you and the other poster who somehow draws an analogy between the turf field and agent orange in Vietnam, I’d be happy to talk about this over coffee at your convenience.

    Of course that would require you to publish your name with your post.

    However, if you’d rather not do that, please feel free to just email or call me and we’ll set up a time to talk. I’m sure we all want the best for Larchmont.

    Barry Silverstein
    Larchmont NY

  • Tolerant:-)

    Unbelievable comments! Access to sports facilities is “good” for kids and adults; it is healthy and uses up idle time. You don’t need to get into class warfare to debate that..
    The DEC points out that coaches need to take care in hot weather. Hardly terrifying stuff, especially since most of the school year is cool/cold or wet and coaches already worry about heat. And as for dogs, it’s a sports field, not a park and you are not supposed to take your dog onto sports fields….
    Get a grip, people. Private money is being offerd (as in Flint Park) and everyone benefits. Coaches have to respect the differences of turf. How bad can this be?
    Oh, and I am all for everyone making comments but that doesn’t mean you have to respect stupid ones.

  • PJ

    In the words of a former trustee from VOL NOT a direct but close quote . If we find out down the road that it (the field) is toxic we can pick up the turf and vacuum it out. This stuff will cost more to get rid of than it will to maintain and replace every ten years.My only thought on this subject is will the children who benefit from this pay for it as in effect they are paying for it now.And will playing a double header bring on a new meaning.

  • Bemused

    I had to read that last comment several times and I am still not sure I understand it. The DEC report does not say the turf is toxic. It says it gets hotter than grass and so coaches will have to be careful. Larchmont, NR, Mount Vernon, Rye all have turf fields and I do not recall seeing streets full of two headed children…