This letter is in response to a Letter to the Editor in the 10/19/11 issue of the Star that voiced health concerns about the new synthetic turf soccer field. It’s a sign of a dynamic community when people care enough to take note of changes and be willing to challenge decisions, so thank you for speaking up! To clarify, the Buildings and Grounds department did consider health and environmental factors while researching this project. The chemicals in the pesticides and fertilizers that were required for our previous grass field are no longer needed, and gas lawn mowers and large amounts of water for irrigation are also no longer required. By comparison, the synthetic turf system contains recycled rubber, and when the field has reached its ten-year lifespan, the field can be broken down and recycled. Regarding athletes health, extensive testing has been done by independent parties, which concluded on several counts that turf fields do not provide an unhealthy playing environment. Much thought and consideration was put to the decision to change the field to synthetic turf, and for several reasons, it was decided that a synthetic field was the best option for Dominican. The synthetic turf material allows more playing time on the field as compared to grass. This is a benefit for several reasons: more practices can be held on the field (freeing up the open area east of the circle for others to use), the field can be offered to the Park District for periodic use, and Athletics can add reserve teams. If you have any questions or concerns please, feel free to contact the Buildings and Grounds department. In addition, a booklet outlaying case studies and environmental impact of synthetic fields is available for viewing on the Buildings and Grounds webpage.
– Elena I. Maans, Administrative Assistant/ Sustainability Coordinator