City to renovate parks’ turf fields to the tune of $27M

Five of the targeted fields are in Queens.

The city has announced plans to spend $27 million replacing worn, synthetic turf fields at eight parks.

Five of the targeted fields are in Queens, with two at busy Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The three others are in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

“We’re thrilled to be able to announce this funding to replace some of the city’s most popular, heavily permitted and used worn turf fields,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said in a statement.

Synthetic turf fields are more resilient and easier to maintain than grass fields, which need regular mowing, watering, fertilizing and seeding. They can also be used for a variety of sports. There are 160 synthetic turf sites in parks across the city, which includes fields and playspaces.

City parks boast more than 800 athletic fields in total.

St. Michael’s Playground in Woodside, Queens, and the Jacob Schiff Playground in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, two of the fields to be renovated, will switch from crumb rubber infill to carpet-style turf.

The Parks Department no longer uses crumb rubber as infill in its new or reconstructed fields. In 2008, elevated lead levels were found in a field at Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan that used crumb rubber — which is made from recycled car and truck tires. Officials have maintained that the crumb rubber athletic fields do not pose a health risk.

Last year, the agency created a Synthetic Turf Maintenance Team to maintain the fields. Using specialized equipment, the crews redistribute the infill, sweep litter, remove graffiti and even pull out weeds that can pop up in the artificial grass.

“Thanks to our specialized Synthetic Turf Maintenance Team, who are trained in grooming and repairing these fields, they will be able to stand up to kicks, cleats and tackles for years to come,” Silver said. 

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