Chaminade to turf Saville Road practice field, residents voice concerns

Chaminade to turf Saville Road practice field, residents voice concerns
Chaminade High School will be turfing the practice field near Saville Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Chaminade High School will be turfing the large neighborhood-adjacent practice field at the end of Saville Road, with a tentative project start date slated for May 15, according to a spokesman.

Residents said they were notified of the project via letters dropped in their mailboxes April 22. Director of Communications Guy LaCognata confirmed that the project manager did notify residents via letters in their mailboxes.

“Chaminade High School values the longstanding relationship we have had with our community and our neighbors,” Bro. Thomas Cleary, president of the Board of Advisors, said in a statement. “This project will allow for less maintenance of the fields, more high-quality drainage, the elimination of mud on Saville Road, and less use of fertilizers and other chemicals on the grass.”

But some residents living on Saville Road and nearby Bauer Place said they do not want the field turfed, citing health and safety concerns.

A group of at least seven residents spoke to Mayor Paul Pereira and the Mineola village trustees at a board meeting Wednesday to voice their opposition to the project.

“I didn’t know anything about artificial turf until I googled it and it’s a little scary regarding injuries,” said one resident.

Another resident said her child breaks out in hives when he is near a turf field and worries about living so close to the turf.

“Our backyards are literally in that field and we’re just afraid from what we’ve read,” said a third resident.

Pereira said that he had not heard of the turf project and asked residents for a copy of the letter.

The contents of the letter are short: It announces a turf project at the field, promises to mitigate community impact and encourages residents to reach out to the project manager with any concerns. Residents said they emailed the project manager and did not hear back. Reporters’ efforts to reach the project manager by phone and email were unavailing.

Village Attorney John Gibbons, Jr. said Chaminade does not have to notify the village about their turfing plans because Chaminade owns the field.

“We are not Chaminade,” Pereira said, “and I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because we just turfed a field.”

The Wilson Park field was recently turfed, funded by $1.7 million from the MTA designated for Wilson Park upgrades, Pereira told Blank Slate Media in March.

However, Pereira said he thinks it is important to leave parts of the field unturfed and preserve some grass for drainage purposes and health concerns. He said he wondered if Chaminade might have plans to turn the practice field into a game field, since turfing is an expensive undertaking.

“The entire field will be turfed,” LaCognata said. “Nothing beyond the existing grass will be turfed. All perimeter landscaping and fencing will remain.”

There are no plans to turn this practice field into a game field and no plans to add lighting, restrooms or sound systems, the communications director said.

The project is estimated to cost a little more than $1 million and is fully funded by an alumnus donation, LaCognata said.

LaCognata said the field will be turfed with FTVT 57 2.5, a “high-quality” turf.

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