Letter: Urging the Council to consider sustainable alternatives

Posted 2/7/24

To the editor:

As a member of the Resilience & Energy Committee, I want to shed light on our recent discussions and decisions regarding the potential installation of a synthetic turf field.

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Letter: Urging the Council to consider sustainable alternatives

Posted

To the editor:

As a member of the Resilience & Energy Committee, I want to shed light on our recent discussions and decisions regarding the potential installation of a synthetic turf field.

The Barrington Town Council, recognizing the growing need for athletic facilities, requested committees to evaluate possible solutions. At our meeting on Jan. 24, the Resilience & Energy Committee engaged in a comprehensive discussion on this matter. While we acknowledge the urgency of addressing the issue, our committee has reservations about the installation of a synthetic turf field.

Our primary concern stems from the potential public health risks associated with synthetic turf. The use of crumb rubber as an infill material has raised concerns about heat stress, injuries, infections, latex allergies, and chemical exposure. These health concerns are significant and should not be taken lightly, especially when considering the well-being of our youth.

Moreover, a synthetic turf field does not align with the Town's 2021, Barrington Resilient Future Resolution. We believe that any new athletic facility should not only meet the immediate needs of our community but also serve as a resource during potential emergencies. To achieve this, the facility should be constructed to the highest energy standards, designed for water management, and strategically located based on flood maps.

Our committee unanimously agrees (8-0) that if Barrington invests in a new athletic facility, it must be a model of sustainability. This includes a comprehensive plan to reduce runoff, the incorporation of a permeable parking facility, and a meticulous evaluation of flood maps to determine the safest location for such a facility.

A 2021 Ad Hoc Athletic Field Advisory Committee Report estimated the cost of upgrading Barrington High School fields along County Road to be $3.8 million, considering installation costs, lights, and annual maintenance. However, it's crucial to note that the overall cost of installing a synthetic turf football field can range from $8 to $20 per square foot, bringing the estimated cost closer to $5.7 million. Clean up costs after water related storm events and reconstruction is significantly higher.  

While we understand the urgency to address the lack of athletic facilities, we urge the Town Council to consider sustainable alternatives that prioritize the health and well-being of our community. Any investment should align with Barrington's commitment to environmental stewardship and resilience.

Magnus Thorsson

Barrington

Thorsson wrote this letter on behalf of Barrington Resilience & Energy Committee. 

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