Friday, November 23, 2007

Synthetic Space

Howard County plans to use state open space money to cover some of its ballfields in artificial turf, at more than $500,000 a pop, according to this story in WaPo.

The first fields to get the plastic stuff are out in the Western Regional Park.

Folks around here seem cool with the idea. There's already plenty of synthetic fields over at SAC's soccer park. But WaPo says "artificial-turf fields have stirred opposition recently in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, where activists say the rubber pellets might release harmful chemicals into the air or rainwater.

"The turf industry has responded that its products are safe and that they help the environment by reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizer."

Gary Arthur of the Recreation and Parks Department told WaPo that the county's old grass fields were routinely spoiled by overuse.

"We quickly found out, as the population increased and participation increased," Arthur said, "that we weren't able to keep natural turf on the field, and it became basically dirt." That led to puddles, divots and, inevitably, to crazy bounces and sprained ankles.

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