Letter to the editor: An environmentally-friendly artificial turf option

The following was sent to the Edmonds School Board, and the author requested that it also be posted as a letter to the editor.

Edmonds School Board Members:

There is an alternative product that will allow you to address most of the concerns raised by the community while still allowing eager athletes to have a great sports field to play on. The White House researched the product and has installed it behind The Oval Office around the pool.

A decision to go with an organic infill does NOT fall in the grey area of “equity of opportunity” since the location for the proposed fields is environmentally unique. The fields are surrounded by Fish and Wildlife Conservation Area, contain migratory birds identified by the Audubon Society, and are one of only 3 City of Edmonds zoned open spaces and as such they should be treated differently than other athletic fields.

Additionally, the fields are located just a few feet outside of many classrooms housed in a building built in the 1960’s. This 50 year old building has never been remodeled and has a wall of drafty windows opening up to the fields. Air going into the class rooms will smell like tires, especially on hot days. I suspect the drop in indoor air quality, for the building holding the bulk of Edmonds Heights K-12 classes would drop significantly with the use of plastic turf covered with ground tires. We could remove one major source of off gassing and odor by using an organic infill.

We have contacted schools in both California and British Columbia who currently have this type of field. Both School facilities Managers confirmed their satisfaction with the product and encouraged you to contact them directly to ask questions. They confirmed that, while the supplier is in New York, you have it installed by a local company of your choice.
. Piedmont Unified School District Facilities Manager, Michael Brady. Installed Geo Turf 5 years ago and “love it”.

· West Vancouver School District GM Facilities, Gary Cords. “Surprised DA Hogan did not offer Geo Turf as an alternative.”

Please contact these schools and reconsider an environmentally friendly, less invasive synthetic turf application, before your vote on Tuesday. You have an option that better fits the land to be developed AND suits the needs and desires of most parties concerned.

Respectfully, as always,
Laura Johnson

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