Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Opinion: Local Turf Manager Weighs in on Artificial Turf Debate before Common Council

Dear Common Council,
My name is Matt Quinn and this is my point of view on this matter.
First, my background, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture in 1998 with an Associate of Science Degree in Turfgrass Management. I graduated with distinction as part of the LEAR Honorary Scholastic Society. I have been a member of the GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendent Association of America) since 1997 and CAGCS (CT Association of Golf Course Superintendents) since 2005. I am currently an assistant golf course superintendent at a golf course in CT. Maintaining high quality natural turfgrass is what I do for a living.
Learning about the proposed plan from Milone and Macbroom peaked my interest in what the plan was for our parks and sports fields.
Maintaining quality natural turf fields has become increasingly more difficult with the pesticide regulations the state has imposed on K-8 fields. By not allowing the use of pesticides, specifically herbicides and insecticides, the opportunity to maintain quality turfgrass fields with the use they are getting from Middletown youth sports is unrealistic. Organic alternatives can be used and they usually are applied at a much higher rate and are 2 to 3 times the cost and are not as effective as synthetic products. We have more sports sharing the fields year round. This is something natural turfgrass fields cannot withstand. The parks department is severely undermanned to maintain high quality turf with all the parks and fields in Middletown. I fear that if we build new natural turfgrass fields on the very high use fields it will solve the problem only in the short term but we will be back to where we are now in a few years.
Synthetic turf fields will help alleviate this problem on the high use fields. It will withstand the high use these fields endure and also allow the kids to play on the fields earlier and later in the year without damaging the field.
I believe that the answer to the crumb rubber infill is to use an organic infill from GeoTurf. It is 100% environmentally-friendly made from cork and coconut fibers and is the only turf company endorsed by the National Green Energy Council. It gives the feel and look of natural turf and is guaranteed for 8 years with 50 hours of use per week. By using this infill it will also keep the field temperature 5 degrees below air temperature while the crumb rubber has limitations during the daytime hours when the heat of the day is at its peak.

Matt Quinn

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