View Full Version : Artificial Turf for Parks

October 25th, 2003, 10:10 PM
October 26, 2003


Cows Can't Eat It, But Ball Fields Are Getting It


It comes in wide swaths of soft green, and it's utterly fake.

The Buffalo Bills butt heads on it. In England, the Manchester United Soccer Club practices on it. And, increasingly, more New Yorkers and their children are frolicking on it.

It's artificial turf and, in the past year, it has appeared at more and more city parks.

"Synthetic turf is the wave of the future for urban parks," said Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner. "It's not just the Parks Department but elected officials and community boards who are understanding that this is the mode of the future for athletics."

In the past two years, 22 synthetic fields have been built in the city, making 56 over all. Another 34 athletic fields made of artificial turf are being planned.

So far, the Parks Department has contracted seven companies to install their versions of artificial turf, marketed under names like Fieldturf and AstroPlay. The material, usually made of polyethylene fibers mixed with a rubber infill, has proved less abrasive than surfaces like AstroTurf, which is made of nylon. Though a synthetic field costs about $1.2 million to install, Mr. Benepe said it saves the city many thousands of dollars in maintenance costs compared with real grass.

Even groups committed to environmental issues support the use of artificial turf, at least in a city where coveted recreational space was once covered by substances less friendly to nature. "It beats the traditional surface of a baseball diamond on asphalt," said Dave Lutz, executive director of the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition. "Maybe it wouldn't be a positive thing any place else in the country, but in New York, it may be an improvement."

The increase of artificial turf in city parks mirrors a nationwide trend. According to Beatrice Schreyer, marketing director of SRI Sports, the manufacturer of AstroPlay and AstroTurf, based in Leander, Tex., only five fields nationwide were made of AstroPlay in 1998. This year, AstroPlay fields number 300.

On a recent Friday at Playground Ninety-Six, on 96th Street and Second Avenue, Deborah Cardile brought her 3-year-old twin daughters for their weekly frolic on the turf. They usually get there before 1 p.m. to make sure that the girls have the entire oasis of soccer and baseball field to themselves.

Ms. Cardile watched her daughters hop around on the fake grass, which feels like the kind found in Easter baskets. "It's soft, enclosed and safe," said Ms. Cardile, who lives on the Upper East Side. "And you don't have to worry about feces or rocks."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

November 13th, 2003, 07:41 PM
This new turf deteriorates quickly, is prone to gashes, and become harder than the old turf once the "fake grass" surface gets matted. The city better think twice before splattering them all over our parks.

TLOZ Link5
November 13th, 2003, 07:44 PM
I'm sure there's some degree of maintainance involved.

November 13th, 2003, 07:57 PM
I'm not sure which (Seahawks Stadium maybe?) but one of those new stadiums is already looking to replace their worn "new turf" field. Of course little kids won't bring the same wear and tear of an NFL team, concerts, and other events, but once they're installed, and once seams begin popping up, I don't think maintance is an option.