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Residents Criticize Molloy Fields Upgrade Proposal

More than 50 RVC residents came to Mayor Fran Murray's Town Hall Meeting to voice their concerns on the plan.

Traffic jams, light trespassing, an adverse environmental impact and health risks associated with artificial turf were just some of the concerns voiced by village residents on the upgrades during Wednesday night's Town Hall Meeting hosted by Mayor Fran Murray at the .

Kevin McAndrew, a representative for Cameron Engineering — the company who would do the work — explained that the project, which Molloy would pay $6 million for, wouldn't impact the Mill River corridor and would remain within the footprint of the existing fields.

Residents said they were concerned that wildlife in and around the river would be adversely impacted by the creation of synthetic turf fields and the water runoff from the field into the river.

Under the proposal, three of the four fields (Barasch, Lister and Blighe) on the South Side of the village that would be upgraded would have synthetic turf, McAndrew noted, but all four would be equipped with a sub-surface drainage system that would store rainfall and inhibit runoff into Mill River. He added that the drainage component can handle eight inches of rain an hour.

Barasch Field would be renovated into a fenced-in, NCAA baseball stadium with Major League Baseball dimensions, equipped with dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, bleachers, a press box and a continuous Evergreen tree line to screen the field from the streetscape. Molloy would use this field for its baseball season — January to mid-May — and the high school would use it for its home games.

Deputy Mayor Nancy Howard said the schedules of both teams do not conflict with each other. Pette Field would be eliminated under the proposal.

McAndrew explained that the proposed renovation to Blighe Field would eliminate Ketler Field, and a 25-foot high net fence would be installed adjacent to Riverside Drive. The field would also get support field lighting. He explained that the lighting would be "directed and focused" and wouldn't shine light on surrounding homes like the lights at Barasch Field. Blighe would be used for the Babe Ruth Little League division, Howard said.

This took residents by surprise, who were unaware that lights or a fence at Blighe were part of the proposal. Many said they felt a fence around Blighe would "close them out" to parkland they have used with their children for years.

Residents who live near the field said the village must take into account the increased traffic and possible health impact of artificial turf fields. Rodney Place resident Joe Thrapp said there needs to be more studies on the impact this proposal will have on the community before the village signs off on it.

"There are several things that need to be studied and planned," he wrote in an email to Patch. "Traffic studies. Light trespassing issues that will invade hundreds of houses along the Mill River and the misinformation about risks of using rubber tire refuse as a base filler under the artificial grass."

Thrapp pointed to this study on the dangers of artifical turf and how it could impact kids.

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Kevin O'Brien, a Hendrickson Avenue resident, said he feared that artifical turf could increase the chances of kids getting "carpet burn" and it turning into infections. "Is $6 million worth that much?" he asked. O'Brien's reference to $6 million would be the cost Molloy would pay to upgrade the fields.

Leslie Price, a Riverside Avenue resident and president of the RVC Conservancy lauded the project, but questioned if Cameron would consider planting different types of trees rather than just Evergreens to help keep the overall scenic landscape intact. "I'm happy that the village is taking on this project with no burden on the taxpayers," she said.

McAndrew said for every tree they cut down, two more will be planted in its place.

Residents also voiced concerns that with the renovated fields, the village would solicit more leagues to play there, but according to Price, more than 90 leagues already use the current fields.

Murray said there would be less games and traffic because the proposal removes two of the existing fields, and Molloy only gets an average of 40 to 50 people per game.

Vincent Perry, a resident who's lived on Riverside Avenue for 49 years, said the village needs to investigate if there's anything toxic underneath Blighe Field because it used to be a landfill. McAndrew explained that once an environmental assessment is complete, they will file an application with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"What you're turning this into is an industrial site," Perry said.

Murray added that the proposal is not set in stone, nor is there a signed contract to do the work. The project is still in its preliminary stages, he said.

The other two field upgrades would turn Lister Field into a synthetic turf NCAA regulation field hockey venue that will have multi-purpose markings: the new field can accommodate three youth soccer games at once, or two Little League games, or two tee-ball games or lacrosse.

Further south, the village’s former debris holding site will become a large, natural turf practice field.

 

 

John Q Public May 27, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Mickey, while that would be wonderful, its not true...the field would be light, the noise would continue (cheering, yelling, clapping) until 9:30 or 10 PM...now it ends at 7 or so and its only kids, except on Sunday Plus I spoke to a realtor today and she said the lights will immediately lower all property values on both sides of the river.
mb May 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Here is a thought that I would love Mayor Murray and Molloy College to respond to - "crumb rubber is a material that cannot legally be disposed of in landfills or ocean dumped because of its toxicity. Why on earth should we let our children play on it?"
John Q Public May 28, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Found this on Friends of Mill River facebook page: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/PlanDev/Downloads/Athletic_Field_Lighting_draft0710.pdf Intricate article on 'light spill trespass".
John Q Public May 28, 2012 at 04:13 PM
which by the way indicates they can't control the light trespass unless the light poles are about 70 feet high.
MassapequaBorn May 28, 2012 at 09:56 PM
These are strong valid arguments, they are the same that the residents up North had. However, all those involved -THEY DON'T CARE. The Village and school has joined together to put these fields and lights in all over town, regardless of the impact that it will have on the community. It's on the table now that the Village is going to pay for the transformers needed to generate the lights at the high school. I'd like to say that you have a chance with all of the good documentation that you have, but once again. THEY DON'T CARE. What has to happen that it is to be remembered during a re-election. Get people in office who care about ALL of the people in the community, not special interest groups.
Frank May 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM
@ LeeAnne. So true. the HS field is a disgrace. Tell that to the Mayor!
Frank May 29, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Why doesn't Molloy consider Morgan Days instead of Blighe?
ERsanity May 29, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Bligh/Kettler is simply too small for a HS/Middle School field with 90 foot base paths. It can handle tee-ball and "AA Little League ball (aka coach pitch). The deputy mayor even admitted that it was too small and the rep from Cameron Engineering said the field "has character." While logic is something that often takes a backseat to emotion, the most logical play to put this extra H.S. Field is just south of Sunrise Hwy at Lister Field where they plan to put the Field Hockey Team. They could easily fit a multi-use Field Hockey/Baseball field up there without bothering any neighbors (since, well...there are no neighbors up there). What's more it would be a FULL SIZED HS field that could handle games, not just some cut-rate, 25 foot fenced field with a 200 foot right field fence.
ERsanity May 29, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Morgan days would also be a great site for this HS field, especially since it's in the worst shape of all the town's fields. It's also a lot closer to the Middle School and High School than Bligh. I bet all the young families at Avalon Bay would love this gift from Molloy.
Mickey May 29, 2012 at 08:00 PM
@JohnQ. I never commented on the noise. I strictly commented on the fact that I have read reports that say with certainty that the lights do not shine in people's windows,which you claim is not true but then fail to elaborate. Have you read anything that supports your assertion or are you simply assuming the lights will shine in your window? I don't really have a dog in this fight other than I always want people to make informed decisions based on facts.
Frank May 30, 2012 at 02:10 PM
i'm still waiting on all those supporters of the project to tell me why Morgan Days, which is much larger than Blighe, is not part of this project! Isn't odd that every park in RVC, with the exception of Morgan Days, has been discussed? @ Molloy. What about Kennedy Park? it's literally four blocks away. Oh, but your reason to skip Kennedy was simply to retain a RVC zip code? LOL. funny, i bet $100 that Mayor Hall would love to discuss Kennedy Park with you guys...
mb May 30, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Frank - welcome back. We missed you!
Frank May 30, 2012 at 03:17 PM
@ Public. i don't think they care. it's obvious what Molloy's intent is to everyone in town. they want their 6 million investment to be surrounded by "nice" properties. OMC and Hempstead are not "options" for Molloy, even though OMC and Hempstead stands to gain with an investment of this scale.
mb May 30, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Frank - we missed you. Welcome back! We needed you in this discussion.
Frank May 30, 2012 at 03:30 PM
John Q Public is right. East Rockaway wanted that project, but Bay Park is not part of East Rockaway, . it was nixed by NIFA. http://longislandreport.org/news/nifa-rejects-nassau-county-request-for-baseball-field-renovations/11237 Molloy was willing to join Nassau, (50/50 on costs) on that renovation for Bay Park... that's how the $3 million came about. the 6 million for the RVc proposal is all Molloy money.
Frank June 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Just a thought... Why doesn't Molloy offer to buy those row of homes on Riverside Road? Couldn't be more than $3-4 million to buy out those lots. they would have an instant 100 foot buffer from Bligh field to those South Side residents.
Frank June 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM
no Molloy takers on the Morgan Days conundrum? See, this should be the time where OMC sympathizers should speak up! (Bleep). There is a great chance to upgrade a field, in dire need of repair, in an area FOR FREE and y'all are not saying much of anything? Y'all were screaming against the community when the gang bust happened. Y'all should be screaming that a major college does not want to support your neck of the woods because of "location, location, location" Be consistent on the issue... crime should not be the motivating factor for voicing your opinions...
Frank June 04, 2012 at 08:13 PM
no Molloy takers on the Morgan Days conundrum? See, this should be the time where OMC sympathizers should speak up! (Bleep). There is a great chance to upgrade a field, in dire need of repair, in an area FOR FREE and y'all are not saying much of anything? Y'all were screaming against the community when the gang bust happened. Y'all should be screaming that a major college does not want to support your neck of the woods because of "location, location, location" Be consistent on the issue... crime should not be the motivating factor for voicing your opinions...
Frank June 05, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Come on Bleep. This is a perfect venue for you to prove a point. I can't find one LEGITIMATE reason why Morgan Days should be excluded from the Molloy project.
joe thrapp June 26, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Hi, It's pretty quiet on any updates after the May24th meeting about the ball fields. I'm a little nervous Mayor Murray kept saying "it's just a proposal, nothing is written in stone". Oh, and not to forget, I'm paraphrasing Mayor Franny "we have no formal agreement with Molloy, Oh we just have a letter of understanding. I have to check if that's a contract, Oh,if it has two signatures, well maybe that's a contract". At this point public hearings to review this proposal would help make me believe there were no prior agreements already negotiated. The process should be handed over to the RVC Planning board under the Molloy Public Square Decision in May of 2009 where any future application for Molloy fields were covered. I hope the Mayor is not trying to deny people from participating in the discussion on the effects this project will have to the whole Village and specifically to the South Village. A formal Planning Board hearing would guarantee that the residents and the applicant Molloy College (Mayor Franny) would be able to address these issues objectively
mb June 26, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Joebush - The mayor and his board are about as transparent as a burqa. I have sent emails and made calls regarding the usage of synthetic turf. No response. I have sent an email regarding testing of skelos fields for any potential heavy metals or vocs. No response. Do they forget who they are working for? I think they forget that as taxpayers, we are their employers. Or maybe they just don't care whether or not our children are exposed to toxic chemicals. I don't know because I haven't gotten a response.
joe thrapp June 27, 2012 at 05:38 AM
MB, If I was an elected official I would answer every email and phone call. I would never forget, as no one should, this is a representative democracy. As such, officials are duty bound to speak for the collective voice of all the residents. The Patch simple survey says: Is the Molloy Field Upgrades Project Good for RVC? Yes. We need new fields for our teams and Molloy is footing the bill, so why not? 43 (22%) No. This will negatively impact residents near the fields and cause a slew of problems. 129 (66%) Maybe. Let's see what the final project proposal looks like and go from there. 21 (10%) Total votes: 193 The collective voice of RVC have spoken no Baseball Stadium, no closing of two little league fields and thank God no Health causing hazardous artificial turf to effect our Children, Yes, Children first.
Will Munny June 28, 2012 at 12:36 AM
http://www.fieldturf.com/artificial-turf-environmental-responsibility/ @everyone.....this stuff sounds pretty good to me.
mb June 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Hi will - while i am sure there is synthetic turf that has environmentally friendly infill, i have no idea if this qualifies: 70% silica and 30% cryogenic rubber (recycled tires). I have read that crystalline silica is considered hazardous and a carcinogen. I can understand the rush to synthetics if we were dealing with a concrete field. But to convert natural grass to plastics and rubber makes no sense. Didn't the majority of us move to suburbia for the backyard and green space? If we honestly spent the same amount of money on natural grass as we do on synthetics we would have beautiful fields. Skelos fields were installed in 2005 and already need to be replaced. I wonder how expensive it will be to remove and how expensive it will be to find a landfill that would take the turf?
ERsanity July 03, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Do you really think a company that manufactures artificial turf is capable of giving an unbiased opinion on its product?
mb July 03, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I wonder where they will do the fireworks next year since the Mill River fields will be off limits due to the fire hazard of artificial turf.
Frank July 03, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Yeah, recycled rubber tire chips are "all the rage" now among the eco conscious and environmentalists. They use it to for landscaping instead of mulch, and use it to stuff pillows.
Frank July 03, 2012 at 10:03 PM
@ MB. 100% on point. No one can park on the fields and god forbid you light pyrotechnics! See, this is why Murray is a big windbag. Instead of tackling the huge crime issue in RVC, he's focusing on turf... of all things. Some words to live by. A fool and his money are easily parted. A good beginning is half the work. A list full of gain and a village full of shame. A little of anything isn't worth a pin; but a wee bit of sense is worth a lot Better an idle house than a bad tenant. Even the truth may be bitter. Idleness is a fool's desire. It is no shame to tell the truth. Many hands make light work.
Will Munny July 05, 2012 at 09:32 PM
@Ersanity, I think that a company that makes field turf can give just as unbiased an opinion as someone with a political or personal agenda. I'm not interested in getting in a pissing match with anyone and I won't pretend that I am 100% certain. There are lots of opinions on this topic and I just wanted to add some info that I found. I am still looking into this because like most of you I don't have any agenda other than what is best for RVC. If field turf is good thing then let's do it. If not then we should do something else.
ERsanity July 09, 2012 at 11:24 PM
And they won't be able to park on Bligh/Kettler because it will be fenced in.

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