San Carlos City Council to reconsider artificial turf

Some members of the City Council aren’t ready to bench the fractious athletic-fields debate, despite public sentiment that it’s time to move on.

The council will reconsider on June 12 whether to add synthetic turf at Heather School after voting May 8 to renovate that field with natural grass. Synthetic turf would cost $1.3 million — compared with $800,000 for natural grass — but add nearly 900 hours of practice time for local teams, according to San Carlos Parks and Recreation Director Barry Weiss.

Turf wars have divided the city, with neighbors fearing increased traffic and noise due to heavier field use squaring off against athletics groups that have to compete for space and playing time. The debate culminated in a yearlong effort by a 28-member committee to develop a plan that would suit everyone. Lewis said Monday night that the City Council’s May 8 vote, which largely ignored the committee’s findings, was “by far the most expensive option with the least efficacy.”

It remains unclear whether the sites where the city is hoping to put synthetic turf — two fields at Tierra Linda Middle School and one at Central Middle School — will actually be made available to them. Rumors that the school district plans to put new buildings on a field site at Tierra Linda aren’t true, according to Ron Little, business official with the San Carlos School District.

City and school officials are tentatively scheduled to discuss those options in mid-June, according to board member Mark Olbert. The city already has permission to use the fields at Heather, which has no school sports teams — but no such agreement for the other schools, which do have teams, Little said.

Meanwhile, community members begged the City Council on Monday to stop rehashing the issue and move on.

“This issue has divided neighborhoods, and the only reason we are still talking about it is because of a few angry voices,” said fields-

committee member Greg Harris, who fought against the addition of synthetic turf and lights at a field near his home. “It’s time to begin the healing.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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