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HomeGovernmentCity of RyeDiligence Will Commence on Artificial Turf for Nursery Field

Diligence Will Commence on Artificial Turf for Nursery Field

(PHOTO: The proposal to install an artificial turn field at Rye Recreation's Nursery Field was advanced at the June 14, 2023 Rye City Council meeting.)
(PHOTO: The proposal to install an artificial turn field at Rye Recreation’s Nursery Field was advanced at the June 14, 2023 Rye City Council meeting.)

New diligence will commence on a proposed artificial turf field for Rye Recreation’s Nursery Field, after the Rye City Council approved moving forward at its event Wednesday evening.

“Tonight is not a go – no go,” Rye Mayor Josh Cohn told the packed Council chambers. “Tonight is intended to be the possibility of going to a design that will enable many of the technical questions that have been asked in the past to be answered with greater certainty and on the basis of an actual design.”

The Council approved, on a 4 – 3 vote, directed the City staff to spend $150,000 on consultants to advance to design to a 60% completion and prepare various environmental reports to understand wetlands and flooding impacts.

Residents on various sides of the issue attended the meeting, with many on both sides wearing green shirts. The private non-profit group Let The Kids Play has collected pledges of $1.6 million in private pledges to fund the cost of any turf field built at Nursery Field.

“If the city produces a final plan that is satisfactory for a high school size, artificial turf, multi sport field, with infill other than crumb rubber, high quality components, attended accessories and environmental protection, Let the Kids Play will fund the construction costs including the initial study, the design, the approval expenses, on a timely basis, in an amount not to exceed $3 million,” said Let The Kids Play Board Member Matt Pymm.

While almost no one spoke against artificial turf, concerns continued to be expressed around the placement at Nursery Field versus the consideration of other locations in the City due to concerns primarily focused on wetlands and flooding. Residents spoke eloquently and respectfully for nearly three hours on multiple dimensions of the issues at hand.

Council members operated under the pall of the Mayor’s freshly filed lawsuit against the City’s own Ethics Board. Fontanes, Henderson and Nathan voted against advancing the project, citing a number of reasons including time for additional diligence on alternate locations and time to work with the funding group to be assured of the $3 million commitment to this public – private partnership. Councilman Nathan spoke about his experience on the Board of Education where two public – private partnerships were pursued with one success (the turf now at Rye High School’s Nugent Field) and one that came apart.

The Mayor, along with Councilmembers Johnson, Souza and Stacks (who also joined Cohn in suing the City this week), voted to approve the $150,000 needed to take the project to the next stage.

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