The Nursery Field artificial turf proposal is back on the agenda. In 2019, the City hired Stantec Engineering to assess converting the Rye Recreation athletic field on Milton Road from grass to turf including costs and environmental impacts. The general area is a wetland and adjacent to the Blind Brook. The City Council held public hearings in February 2020 and then — COVID.
At City Council this Wednesday, Stantec will be back to re-present and to update its findings. “There’s a tremendous amount of work done [on the Nursery Field proposal], let’s brush that off and see where things stand,” said Rye City Council member and Rye Recreation Commission liaison Julie Souza. “The funding group came back and [they] said we still are really interested and dedicated to getting behind this effort.”
The funding group from the 2019-2020 effort (then called Rye Youth Athletics Foundation) has been reconstituted as Let The Kids Play, also a 501(c)3. Similar to its earlier effort, the group is collecting pledges to fund turf fields in Rye. Board Member Matt Pymm said the group has $1.5 million in private funds committed for turf field projects. The group maintains Rye grass fields sit closed and unused for 7 months each year.
“I think we have plenty of finance behind it,” said Pymm. “It’s not gonna work unless the community really wants it. So we’re trying to do a better job [to] tell the mental health side of the story, the environmental side of story, to gain more public support. Look around us as far as the other towns around us we’re the only town with one turf field with this big population. You look as far as Connecticut. You look as south as Mamaroneck. Everybody has two plus fields at least. Some have four some have six some have eight.”
Back in 2020 the Friends of Nursery group raised strenuous objections to any turf conversion, saying it ran counter to the intent and purpose of the original land acquisition, was out of character for the historic neighborhood and would cause environmental damage to the wetland area.
“To rip up nursery and fill it with over 1300 cubic yards of unrecyclable infill and plastic blades that could make its way further into the wetland, Blind Brook and the Sound would not only be at odds with the original mission for this land, it would destroy any hope of ever realizing that vision,” the Friends group said in a 2020 promotional video (see below). “Instead, we would be left with a fenced in synthetic field unusable for much of this summer and limited to official use in this season, and a financial burden to taxpayers for decades to come.”
The Friends of Nursery video from 2020: