San Carlos field renovation raises residents’ concerns

As city officials move forward with plans to renovate an athletic field at Heather School, district leaders and neighbors are looking for a way to prevent ballfield lights from being added to the site.

San Carlos is seeking bids to renovate the field with either natural grass or synthetic turf — the first such project following a lengthy, divisive multi-year fight over the use of synthetic turf versus natural grass on the city’s playing fields.

Existing grass fields, including those at Heather School and Highlands Park, are deteriorating rapidly with overuse. However, residents whose homes ring Heather School fear that adding synthetic turf will increase noise and traffic as teams flock to the field, and that the city will be tempted to add lights so athletes can practice and compete into the night.

“The city keeps saying, ‘We’re not pursuing [lights] at this time,’ which is hardly satisfactory,” according to resident Katherine Tynan, who represented Heather School neighbors on the city’s athletic-fields task force in 2005 and 2006.

In response, the San Carlos School Board agreed this month to explore the possibility of establishing a permanent ban on any future ball-field lights, according to board member Eric Von der Porten. Although Heather’s field belongs to the school, San Carlos has a long-term agreement with the district that allows public use.

“All five board members said they would not want to see lights on that location,” Von der Porten said. “That has been the biggest concern of the neighbors.”

Because synthetic turf is more durable than grass, and can be used even during and after a rain, local athletic boosters believe that renovating existing fields with the material will allow them to use existing fields more without adding new fields — something the city cannot currently afford. But many question whether bringing synthetic turf to Heather School’s field, which is only available to the community a few hours each day, is the most cost-effective solution.

Vice Mayor Brad Lewis, who co-chaired the athletic-fields committee as it developed a series of recommendations for San Carlos’ sports fields, is optimistic about the bid process for Heather.

“I’m happy that it feels as though the idea has gained momentum, that there’s some progress being made,” Lewis said. “I think it’s ultimately going to benefit the youth of the community.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

SF Examiner
Share
Published by
SF Examiner

Recent Posts

Films opening Thursday-Friday Nov. 15-16, 2018

FILMS OPENING Burning: Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo and Steven Yeun appear in Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s moody adaptation of Haruki…

2 hours ago

Family continues fight to sue SF over Kate Steinle’s fatal shooting

A panel of federal appeals court judges heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit from the parents of Kate Steinle, who…

3 hours ago

Recycling proposal to require hiring trash sorters held up in board committee

A proposal designed to boost San Francisco’s recycling rate, but which could force large businesses to hire trash sorters, failed…

3 hours ago

Unhealthy haze over SF Bay Area from Butte County fire prompts health warnings

Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County continued to hang over San Francisco and the Bay Area on Thursday,…

4 hours ago

Smoky skies shut down historic cable cars

San Francisco’s cable cars were taken out of service due to poor air quality conditions, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation…

6 hours ago

As the death toll rises to 56, hope fades for those missing in Paradise fire

CHICO, Calif. — John Digby was on the phone with his son when there was a knock at his door…

6 hours ago