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Fuzzy logic on turf field decision

Original post made by Renee Batti, associate editor of The Almanac, on Apr 17, 2007

The following letter by Steve Wallace was published in the Almanac's April 18 print edition:
So the Menlo Park City Council did not want to put in money for a large soccer field at Encinal school.
I can understand the concerns about a soccer field drawing many more people to the school and what it might do to the quality of the neighborhood. There also might be some environmental concerns, but I do not want to address those issues here.
However, concerns about injuries on a harder surface? What does the uninformed council mean by that?
Have any of them ever been on an artificial surface field? It is flat, softer than packed dirt, and has no holes, sprinkler heads, gopher holes or worn spots. As far as artificial turf being "warmer than grass," well, it is ground-p rubber. How much hotter? Probably not much. Does Menlo Park shut down its outdoor basketball courts or its tennis courts when they get hot? No.
So what seems to be the problem here? An adult-sized field does not belong at an elementary school? Why not? Adults usually work during the day and play after hours or on the weekends. Elementary schools usually are in session nine months a year, five days a week from morning until late afternoon.
One other thing: The $1.2 million estimated cost is probably too high. Talk to those in the artificial turf industry. With new technology and products, an "adult size" field is well under $1 million.
All in all, it seems that a "good solution for the children" is to put in another grass field that will deteriorate over a short period of time, use lots of water to keep it green (except in the spots the sprinklers do not reach) be a home to gophers and be of limited use to the public at large.
Oh, one more thing. Encinal School is in Atherton. That presents another problem.
Steve Wallace
Sterling Avenue, Menlo Park

Comments (1)

Posted by Angela Hey
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Apr 17, 2007 at 11:01 pm

As one who grew up playing school hockey on a really muddy and bare field - slipping and sliding all the way - I don't see why kids can't get muddy. After all the detergents and washing machines make washing clothes so much easier than when I grew up.

Although I love the new Portola Valley, well-drained field, we must be careful not to bring up kids to be too precious - a bit of mud won't harm them - balance might even improve when playing on a muddy field.

Have some jolly good old-fashioned fun in the mud!

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