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Priory gets green light for artificial grass field

Original post made on Mar 21, 2013

They were eloquent in their opposition to artificial grass. Defenders of a natural grass infield for the new oval running track being proposed for Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley spoke of precedents being set if the fake stuff were allowed, of birds flying on because there will be no worms below to distract them, of betrayal of one of the town's founding principles: to respect the land.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 21, 2013, 11:11 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by Observer, a resident of Woodside High School
on Mar 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Pave paradise and put up a ... plastic field

Posted by Observer, a resident of Woodside High School
on Mar 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Pave paradise and put up a ... plastic field

Posted by PV Pride, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

The Priory is a pillar in the "green" community, and I know the Priory staff will "do the right thing" when it comes to taking care of their school grounds and the beloved environment around them. I fully support their plans, and I believe they thought through both their request and how they will sensitively implement their plans. They are a considerate and appreciated neighbor.

Posted by Some Guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Get ready for a steep increase in injuries to your children.

Posted by John, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I researched this issue very deeply, when Woodside Elem considered the same trade off. PV Town Council made the right choice. Injuries to the kids are reduced (3x+). Kids who play soccer on artificial turf fields have a much lower injury rate than kids who play on grass fields (it makes sense. No gopher holes, no giant divots, etc). Water use is reduced by large factors (10x+). Plus demand for field use is up by some 3x, given population changes regionally. (Menlo Park kid population is up some 3x over the kid population compared to the 1970s. Look at the school construction. We are in a demographic squeeze.) We all live in a semi-arid climate, with zero rain from April to late Oct typically. (and all the climate change data suggests that things are getting worse, w.r.t. higher temps and lower rainfall). We are greedy and selfish, taking water from other parts of the state and shipping it to our neighborhoods so that we can enjoy "green lawns" year round. It's a difficult decision, I understand, but Priory and PV TC made the best decision, from a set of suboptimal choices. Look forward, not backward, and understand that the PV Town Council did the right thing. Thank you. Meanwhile, we ALL have to figure out how to reduce our own personal carbon footprint, to bend the curve of global warming. Maybe someday, temps will moderate, rains will return, and we can all enjoy 100% grass fields. I would love if this happened; I coach soccer teams, and kids do better in the long run playing on grass not fake turf. But that's not what we have in our environment. Temps are rising, water is more scarce. Ouch.

Posted by Dave Boyce, Almanac staff writer
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

Reporter's note: The decision makers on this matter were the five members of the town's Planning Commission.

Posted by loving the turf, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

"Get ready for a steep increase in injuries to your children."

Huh? A turf field DECREASES injuries for kids, and especially older kids/teens and adults using the field!

A softer, even surface, free of ankle-breaking gopher holes or other ruts or abnormalities inherent in grass fields. A surface that stays true in spite of a lacrosse or soccer league that would wear a grass field down to bare soil.

All weather, to be played on when other fields are closed due to a drizzle or rain, or because a custodian who forgot to change summertime irrigation settings and over-watered.

Without needing to be mowed, fertilized or have pesticides, herbicides and other proven toxic chemicals applied regularly.

And saves water.

And saves time and money required to regularly line grass fields (what chemicals do they add to 'plain chalk', anyway?)

And looks good -- check out any sports photography on a beat up, poorly lined grass field.

When I coach, ref or play on a grass field, I can feel it all over after a long day - in my knees, hips and back. Not so on a soft turf field.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Woodside School
on Mar 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

The decision erodes the general plan: each of the arguments (more playing time, more uniform conditions, Priory was there first, Priory knows best, private property) could be made for lighted fields ... Which all sides would agree is against the town values. This decision weakens the community values. The plastic field would have been appropriate in a back field: eg off Georgia Lane. Too bad that planning commission takes the general plan as just an impediment of times gone by.

Posted by PV Resident, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Such a bummer to see this moving through the process. I can't believe our "green" town is going to let this pass. I moved to PV because I wanted to live in a place that was a bit more green, a bit more natural, and different than everything east of 280. Every time I hike up Windy Hill, I think I will want to vomit when I look down at a huge piece of plastic. Let's not lose sight of what makes PV special.

Posted by loving the turf, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

"Let's not lose sight of what makes PV special."

gopher holes? twisted ankles?

Posted by Precision Greens, a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Its a very nice topic and good information shared by you

Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Question that no one has considered - how much precious drinking water will be saved since the field will no longer require irrigation?

Next question - how much exhaust pollution will be eliminated since the field will no longer require landscapers to mow the grass?

Seems to me that an artificial turf playing surface seems much more green than to continue to waste water and pollute the air with mower exhaust!

As for injuries - this is not your grandfather's AstroTurf. The product has much more give and has millions of mini rubber pellets that allow more natural "grip".

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