Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spring Is Coming - What Will Happen To RIOC's Artifical Turf Plan For Roosevelt Island Playing Fields?

Image of Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field Winter 2009

An earlier post described plans by RIOC to solve the problem of poor playing field conditions at Roosevelt Island ball fields by replacing whatever remains of the natural grass with artificial turf.

The 2/9 NY Times reported on the controversy involving the use of rubber pellets or tire crumbs as synthetic/artificial turf for New York City sports fields.
Synthetic sports fields have become battlegrounds, with New York City’s parks and health departments on one side and some elected officials and activists on the other. One side says the turf is safe; the other says it harbors dangerous levels of lead and possibly other toxins...
According to the 2/10 Daily News:
The controversial material made from recycled tires will no longer be used in synthetic-turf fields for parks and schools, officials said yesterday. While insisting crumb rubber isn't toxic, the officials said they stopped using it because it overheats on hot days and could pose a health risk.

First Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh told a City Council panel that there's "no plan to replace crumb rubber" in all 95 existing fields. It will, however, be replaced as part of the normal 10-year renovation cycle....

After reading these articles and with the warmer weather reminding me of spring, I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
Does RIOC plan on using the same system as the NYC Parks Department for Roosevelt Island ball fields, or something else, and what is the status of the playing fields for the upcoming spring and summer season?
Mr. Shane replied:
No, RIOC will not be using the crumb rubber that was found to be objectionable. We are very aware of all the controversy and if you look at the item (#8) on the Board agenda for the 19th, you will see a full discussion of the subject. I am sure the question will be asked and all we can do is provide the best information available.
And followed up later in the day with:
We are also following with Engineering at Dept of Parks and the City Council for the latest info. We will postpone any decision until clear what to do, although may ask for authorization from Board for extra c.$175,000 to spend on the eco friendly product, to be used only as public health issues are determined.
Agenda #8 on for the 2/19 RIOC Board of Directors meeting is:
Authorization to Enter Into Contract for the Octagon Soccer Field Renovation (Board Action Required)

Image of muddy field from fjny is not of Roosevelt Island playing fields but could be.

The Zog soccer players have been unhappy with the Roosevelt Island playing field conditions since at least the Fall of 2007.