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Synthetic Turf in Encinitas
On January 16, 2008 the City of Encinitas took a step toward changing Leo Mullen Sports Park from natural grass to synthetic sports turf. The council endorsed a grant application which could be used to purchase synthetic sports turf. Using synthetic turf would allow for greater field usage, less water usage and less maintenance. It's a move that after an initial period of greater funding, is cost effective.
The safety comparison of synthetic sports turf vs. natural grass is dependent on the condition of the grass. An overused or under maintained field could be inherently more dangerous than synthetic field. Grass can have an inconsistent playing surface and ground hardness due to overuse and inadequate care. Synthetic sports turf has a consistent, even playing field with a specified level of shock absorption, as determined per installation specifications.
We will be able to play safely and more often if the city gets the grant.
ETA Note: It is important to base the final decision to adopt synthetic turf on solid data. The Parks and Recreation Commission set up a subcommittee in past years to study this issue. It is hoped that this subcommittee is recommissioned for the current year, soon. Their final report should shed some light on the true cost effectiveness, benefits, and potential issues of synthetic turf.