To the Editor:
Earlier this year, we served as Co-Chairs of the Irvington Fields Project Committee (“FPC”), convened by the Irvington BOE, and comprised of ten residents having various backgrounds in business, finance, architecture, horticulture, and law.
Over the course of eight weeks, FPC reviewed hundreds of pages of documents pertaining to soil conditions, pitch, drainage and irrigation of Meszaros and East Field, listened to consultants and vendor representatives explain the differences in turf field products, and discussed the pros and cons of options at our fields, including associated costs. We also queried District and Village administrators and the outside environmental engineering consultant, and spent many hours conducting our own due diligence. We looked at usage of our fields by students on athletic teams, during recess and physical education classes, and groups such as AYSO soccer. Importantly, we independently researched the environmental and health issues of the artificial turf products presented – inorganic crumb rubber, organic infill, and a hybrid of the two products.
What was clear to us is that immediate action is necessary at both of our fields. Irvington has only one regulation size varsity football, soccer, and lacrosse field – Meszaros. It is surrounded by our only track which is in need of repair. Meszaros has a long, well-documented history of poor drainage, overuse, and inferior surface conditions. It has been patched and repaired many times. East Field, which is predominately used as a practice field and for community soccer on weekends, has been closed for nearly two years and action is required, including improving drainage and irrigation. Irvington fields, including those at Dows and Scenic Hudson, are interconnected. Poor conditions at one negatively impacts the maintenance, wear and tear, and programming at the other fields.
The best long term and cost effective solution for our community and student athletes is both properly repairing and restoring natural grass at East Field and installing artificial turf with an organic infill at Meszaros. We need a high performing flexible playing surface to meet our community’s needs. An artificial field with organic infill is the right fit at Meszaros as it addresses our concerns as to health and environmental safety, and it will be able to sustain our usage, be easier and more cost efficient to maintain, and serve as a more durable and safer surface for our athletes.
Rick Rasulo and Deborah Hargraves,
Co-Chairs of the Irvington Fields