Parks Department in Negotiations with Donors to Replace Defective Nike Soccer Field on Stanton Street

Posted on: February 12th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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Nike’s resurfacing of astroturf in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Stanton Street was cause for celebration back in 2006. That was a World Cup summer, and the new installation hosted several inaugural events, including an appearance by F.C. Barcelona. The installation was part of a joint initiative between the athletic company and FieldTurf USA Inc. to create new soccer fields in fifteen communities around New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It was a donation to the community, albeit one with a premature expiration that we must now pay for…

This high-profile “gift” sees heavy usage on a daily basis, from dawn to well past dusk. Several soccer leagues and pick-up games book the space, and when it’s not serving its premiere function, locals often treat it as a backyard of sorts. Bottom line is that this public plastic parkspace constantly feels the footfalls of the locals.

Just a few short years later – sometime in 2010 – the turf itself began to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Never was it really maintained, either. The worn carpet unfurled revealing the metal plating beneath, while several divots further caused safety issues. As previously reported, the field condition even threatened the annual Showdown in Chinatown event headed by Steve Nash.

There are also claims that the turf was defective from the start.

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The issue of a replacement went before the Parks subcommittee of Community Board 3 at the end of January. From what we understand, the soccer field is technically under warranty but the manufacturer will not honor it due to the lack of maintenance. Parks admitted as much, noting that the city doesn’t have a staff trained to maintain a field of that nature (they only address basic needs). Especially thanks to previous department cuts.

The silver lining here, however, is that fixing the field is now a “high priority” for the Parks Department, and that two possible donors are in the wings. These unnamed entities would be willing to replace and sponsor the new field. Negotiations are underway, and it should happen soon, though no timetable was provided.

This story of field failure is much deeper than the Lower East Side, yet has pretty much escaped the eye of the media here at home. Other defective, taxpayer-funded FieldTurf installations across the country have prematurely failed in similar fashion. Articles abound about artificial fields in towns and high schools that don’t last as long as advertised. Some municipalities even sued – and settled – with the turf maker. In a nice roundup of the issue earlier this fall, Michael Tarantino, director of maintenance and operations for Poway Unified School District, told Forbes, “I think you are seeing buyers remorse of artificial turf fields because communities quickly lose sight of the replacement costs associated with artificial turf. You wouldn’t use artificial turn from an ROI point of view.”

Exactly. So once the field is swapped with more of the same artificial turf, will we simply find ourselves in this exact position a few years hence?

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