F-M turf's up! (again)

Research has shown that a turf field results in more practice time for sports teams and anyone else who uses it.

"Having a turf field is very beneficial because of being able to use it virtually year-round, depending on the weather," said East Syracuse Minoa Athletic Director Bill McEachron. The ESM district installed a turf field just last year. "In the spring time, we were able to plow four inches of snow off and be out there day one of the spring sports season."

In good weather, students play on the field all day for physical education classes, for the band after-school, for sports in the afternoon, and for community youth programs throughout the year.

FMCSFA members want similar experiences for F-M athletes and students.

Since the funds for this project come from private sources, no referendum vote is needed for approval. Instead, the F-M school board must simply accept the gift.

"We're trying to pull our community together and do something good for our community, our school, and our children, and I don't know who in the world could look at that negatively," Pulver said.

Nevertheless, critics exist.

Questions have been raised regarding the cost of replacing the turf in 10 or 15 years. Currently, that cost ranges from approximately $400,000 to $550,000. FMCSFA included a $100,000 fund to address this cost and expects that the rest of the money would be obtained through booster club efforts or state aid.

The expense required to maintain turf is also a concern. Both grass fields and turf fields require maintenance. Grass needs mowing, watering and fertilizing, while turf needs dragging, cleaning and carpet repair.

Other worries include the effects of turf on the environment and on public health. The CDC reports that lead dust has been a concern associated with turf fields, which arises as the field ages and weathers. The dust can be inhaled or it can leak into water sources. The exposure can be harmful to health and neurological development.

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