Our meeting with the City of Berkeley at the Frances Albrier Community Center took place this past Saturday. We had a nice turnout of Spurs and ABSC parents and some kids even showed up as well! The architecture firm along with the turf infill researchers attended and presented at the meeting as well.
Several different alternatives to tire crumb rubber infill (including organic options – cork & coconut fiber) were presented as samples in jars and on a (crumb rubber turf industry created) comparison chart which listed pros and cons of the different types of turf infill, as well as estimated costs per square foot.
People who attended the meeting were invited to voice their concerns – many brought up health and environmental concerns of the crumb rubber infill and were strongly opposed to using it again as a replacement. We all agreed that health and safety was our number one concern and that we do NOT want more crumb rubber.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on March 25th (we’ll post it here as soon as that date is confirmed) at which point the City of Berkeley will make recommendations on which turf infill to use based on their research and our comments / concerns – but ultimately cost will be a decisive factor, as the budget to replace the turf was only set at the cost to use crumb rubber infill (organics are more expensive – a ballpark figure given by the head of Berkeley Rec. Dept. was $250k more – but without actual bids to work from it’s difficult to know how accurate that is.
Much of the discussion did center around cost, and so different ideas among the parents were brought up to increase the budget for the turf replacement, such as:
- Getting our city councils (El Cerrito, Emeryville, Albany, Berkeley, Richmond) that contribute to the JPA to increase their contribution; also getting other towns that use the field (e.g. – Kensington) to contribute
- Getting Easy Bay Regional Parks District to increase their contributions
- Crowdfunding / fundraising
- Local Corporate Sponsor(s) – e.g. – Clif Bar or Whole Foods (do you know anyone who works for such a company?)
- Contributions from clubs / field users
We are going to meet this Sunday to discuss further steps. We need your help to make this safe turf a reality. Please come this Sunday, 2/5, at 10am at the home of Kristin Leimkuhler and Jeffrey Wilk – email us to get the location.
If you were at the meeting Saturday and want to add anything, or if you have any questions / discussion points, please leave a comment below!