Chaminade yet to begin turfing field, neighbors still opposed

Chaminade yet to begin turfing field, neighbors still opposed
Chaminade High School will be turfing the practice field near Saville Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Chaminade High School has yet to begin turfing the large adjacent practice field at the end of Saville Road, according to nearby residents, despite a tentative start date slated for May 15.

A group of Mineola residents approached Mayor Paul Pereira and the village Board of Trustees for the second time Wednesday night to express their disappointment with the plan to turf the field.

Community members first notified the village of the project at a meeting May 1 after residents were informed about the turf plans via letters dropped in their mailboxes April 22.

The village’s ability to stop the turfing process is nearly impossible since Chaminade owns the field in question and there is no legal reason to deny the turf permit, the mayor said.

In addition, the village recently turfed its own field: The Wilson Park field turfing was funded by $1.7 million from the MTA, the mayor previously said.

Pereira said he has had dozens and dozens of parents and members of the  Mineola Athletic Association approach him and the village board to thank them for putting in the turf field.

The mayor said one benefit of the turf project is that it allows sports games to be held despite rainy weather.

Since the village meeting May 1, the mayor said he has spoken to Bro. Thomas Cleary, president of Chaminade High School, and implored him to listen to nearby residents’ concerns.

Chaminade held a meeting for interested neighbors Wednesday night before the village meeting.

But residents said it is not enough: They want the turf project canceled.

“I’m fully aware that turf exists in Mineola…but for how it affects the community now with the surrounding houses that are literally up against the proposed turf, I just want to get a better sense of understanding from all of you of…what say do we have,” Mineola resident Jonathan Serrano said. “And what can be done to remedy some of the concerns that we have, knowing that a simple Google search can show you the health effects that are associated with the turf.”

Health concerns were the main point of contention for most residents, who claimed that toxins from the turf will tamper with the surrounding air and harm the health of nearby residents who sit outside their homes.

But the mayor said the village is required to comply with federal law and federal regulations currently permit field turfing.

Residents also shared their concerns about environmental impacts, such as the displacement of animals and aesthetic worries.

One resident said he would not have purchased his home in Mineola if he had known the Saville field would be turfed, calling it “one more reason to leave New York.”

And residents said they worry that Chaminade will later convert the practice field into a field for games or scrimmages with bleachers and stadium lights. The Chaminade communications director told Blank Slate Media after the May 1 meeting that there are no plans to turn the field into a game field or add lighting, restrooms or sound systems.

The mayor suggested that village residents could ask Chaminade to add a windscreen or make other alterations to the field instead of protesting the turfing process altogether.

According to the letter dropped in resident mailboxes on April 22, the turfing project was tentatively slated to begin Wednesday, but no construction had taken place as of Wednesday night, according to the mayor and Mineola residents who live near the field.

The mayor and village attorney confirmed that Chaminade has not yet submitted a permit to turf the field.

Efforts to reach a Chaminade spokesperson were unavailing.

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