The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

NPR Story Follow-up

This is a follow-up from NYC Park Advocates regarding the NPR story:

High Temps on Turf Fields Spark Safety Concerns

See No Evil

Last January NYC Park Advocates (NYCPA) released a parks department (DPR) internal document which said they were moving away from using recycled tires in artificial turf fields. “We are suspending the use of rubber infill synthetic turf in all Parks Capital Projects,” said the design directive, dated Jan. 14, 2008.

However, within hours after the memo was revealed the city replied it had made a mistake. “I incorrectly made a blanket statement,” said Deputy Commissioner of Capital Projects Amy Freitag. “There is no change in Parks Dept.’s policy on synthetic turf.” (Freitag left the agency a few weeks ago)

For many years the parks commissioner had touted the "benefits" of using recycled rubber, stating this literally hundreds of times in press releases and in public statements. In today's NPR story (below) the DPR finally publicly admits they have canceled contracts using recycled rubber for infill and are moving away from it. Even after it was revealed the city recently cancelled a contract for St. Michael's field in Queens which is costing the taxpayers an additional 40% ($ 500,000) to switch to virgin rubber, the parks commissioner himself still can't bring himself admit this is due to health concerns.

Parks Fake Grass"

The contractor told a NYCPA source the switch was directly related to the controversy. The switch has also delayed the fields' opening by many months.

So Now We're Not Supposed To Play On Them

In another major development a spokesperson for the Synthetic Turf Council now advises the public in today's NPR story not to use these fields when its sunny and hot. "I don't think anyone in our industry would suggest its a good idea to play on a surface that that's hot." When addressing what to do when it gets that hot, the spokesperson said, {people} "need to reschedule or consider alternate surfaces to play on when its sunny." I.e when athletic fields are used the most. One of the main "reasons" why this product is being installed the public is repeatedly told is that the public gets more playing time. Interesting.

This statement echoes first deputy parks commissioner Liam Cavanagh comments made a few weeks ago regarding the dangers the extreme heat these fields produce when he said, "The temperatures can get very high during the heat of the day. But people are smart. They are not going to use a place that is uncomfortable to play on."

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