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Old synthetic turf at Charlestown High fields to be replaced with new synthetic turf

Mayor Wu and the City of Boston are committed to ensuring young athletes in all neighborhoods have access to the facilities and infrastructure needed to participate in youth sports. The City has a preference for grass playing surfaces wherever possible. There is no ban on the installation of turf in the City of Boston.

Mayor Wu says she hasn't banned the installation of artificial turf for new playing fields in Boston, just that she'd prefer it no longer be installed, which is how the city Parks and Recreation Department is going ahead with plans to stick with synthetic turf when it replaces the current aging artificial grass at Charlestown High School's football and softball fields.

The Conservation Commission has scheduled a hearing for 6 p.m. on Wednesday on the parks department's plans to replace the 12-year-old synthetic fields - and to rebuild a running track and add a couple of water fountains. Commission approval is required because the fields are within 100 feet of the banks of the Little Mystic Channel.

According to the parks application, the current fields "have reached the end of their useful and safe life cycle." Also, "These typical life cycle maintenance replacements these fields and running track are critical to player maintaining safety and playability."

The Guardian, a British newspaper, scooped Boston media with a story on the mayor's preferences for natural turf over synthetic because real grass does not contain PFAS and other potentially harmful chemicals since it is not not made from ground-up tires . A mayoral spokesperson told the Guardian:

The city has a preference for grass playing surfaces wherever possible and will not be installing playing surfaces with PFAS chemicals moving forward.

Today, another mayoral spokesperson clarified to Universal Hub:

Mayor Wu and the City of Boston are committed to ensuring young athletes in all neighborhoods have access to the facilities and infrastructure needed to participate in youth sports. The City has a preference for grass playing surfaces wherever possible. There is no ban on the installation of turf in the City of Boston.

In its application for Conservation Commission approval, the parks department says the high-school work is needed in part to provide a temporary replacement for fields at the nearby Ryan Playground:

As part of the larger climate resilient initiative scheduled to take place at Ryan Playground in 2023, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department must take the Ryan Playground athletic fields offline for multiple seasons to perform that work, therefor the replacement of these synthetic turf fields at Charlestown High School / Community Center, that we are presenting herein, must be available for use and in a safe playing condition prior to the commencement of the Ryan Playground work.

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Comments

Oh, how I love a good compromise.

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Voting closed 943

They are piles of toxic rubber that contain chemicals linked to cancer. Young children are at greater risk because of how low they are to the ground. They also fall more and roll in it. It’s said to be safe but it’s also recommended that you do not eat food on it, you take your shoes off to not bring it in the home, and you should shower to rinse it off when done playing.
More independent research is needed and government or industry funded studies should not be trusted.

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Voting closed 455

government or industry funded studies should not be trusted

It would be immensely helpful to know what kinds of studies should we use instead.

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Voting closed 1251

Live turf also has runoff problems that impact local waterways.

It isn't like grass just grows around here without help. Lots of help.

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Voting closed 963