By ERIN SKURDAL
Would you prefer the fields behind Edison Middle School be replaced with ARTIFICIAL TURF or NATURAL GRASS TURF?
The Westfield, NJ Edison Field Project is poised to replace most of the grass behind the Edison Middle School with synthetic turf. The plan was developed without a comparison of the health, financial and environmental impact of high-quality grass fields versus synthetic fields.
Unless the board of education (BOE) hears from concerned residents, the plan will likely proceed in its current form because no town-wide vote is required to approve the $9 million project.
For additional context, there are three common types of sports fields:
1. SCHOOL YARDS: minimal maintenance and overuse cause patchy grass cover and compacted surface, which lead to drainage issues, field closures and injuries (majority of Westfield sports fields).
2. ARTIFICIAL TURF: made of plastic grass and crumb rubber (ground up tires) that contains known carcinogens, toxins and heavy metals, more expensive to install than grass turf, requires costly replacement about every 10 years (planned for Edison, Memorial & Elm St.).
3. NATURAL GRASS TURF: professionally designed and constructed for proper drainage, well-maintained for safety and increased playtime, lifecycle costs less than artificial, coolest on hot days (to date, this option has not been seriously considered).
Please consider visiting change.org/EdisonFields to sign a petition in support of updating the Edison Field Project to install only grass turf.