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Source: New Haven Register

Hamden Legislative Council approves contract to renovate athletic fields at high school


Posted: December 16, 2014
Originally Published: December 15, 2014

HAMDEN >> In a unanimous decision Monday, the Legislative Council voted to approve a contract to begin work renovating the Hamden High School football field with synthetic turf again and to enhance surrounding fields.

Legislative Council President Jim Pascarella said the field was “way past its recommended use.” The fields were installed in 2002 with synthetic turf, which is recommended to be replaced every 10 to 12 years.

While the council has agreed to work with architect group Milone and MacBroom of Cheshire for the football and track field, the council also hopes to fix the baseball field and make the field an all-purpose field as well fix the lights.

The football field is used by several sports teams at the school and the community.

The town has budgeted $1.2 million for the renovation, but Pascarella said it’s possible the cost may be more given the additional work that may be needed, should additional work needs to be done, such as if drainage problems are discovered.

Synthetic turf was chosen again because growing grass was not an option.

“If we did use grass, there wouldn’t be any time to grow,” Pascarella said. “It’s not even a topic of discussion.”

Louis Burch, a program director with advocacy group Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said the group is not opposed to synthetic turf. However, Burch said, those who are getting turf installed should be aware of health risks to a child who may play on it.

“Towns and municipalities should not be moving forward with artificial turf using crumb rubber until research is done regarding the potential health impacts to children still developing,” Burch said. “There are safer alternatives, such as coconut fibers, sand as well as recycled cork. These alternatives are readily available.”

Minority Leader Austin Cesare, who sat on the town Board of Education, said he heard complaints about the field. Cesare said the decision to renovate the field gives the town the opportunity to make it presentable and competitive with other towns.

“It’s about the best product and the best thing for the athletes,” Cesare said.