Letter: A better location for Pittsfield turf field

A better location for city turf field

To the editor:

The proposed new turf field at Berkshire Community College has stirred up quite a controversy. Supporters champion a new turf field which they claim is better for playing soccer on and helps the community at large. Opponents see a possible carcinogen that could affect the children playing on it, as well as an environmental hazard in a sensitive ecological area.

Artificial turf is comprised of ground-up crumb rubber from tires. You all know the smell of burning rubber, right? That is what the turf field is going to smell like, that is what our kids are going to inhale, and it is ground crumb rubber that is likely to leach into our sensitive wetlands, creating an unnecessary environmental disaster.

In spite of the opposition, the turf field is a go. I am opposed to the turf field, but since it is going ahead, I have one final suggestion. Why not situate the field on former GE property on East Street next to Belanger Park?

Checking the Facebook page for Belanger Park, it appears that Belanger, which is natural grass, has been used for soccer. Putting the turf field on adjacent property would definitely make sense. The adjacent property is a relatively large, unused flat surface that is not in an ecologically sensitive area.

It is a lot more centrally located and will therefore not cause congestion on outer West Street. Plus, there had been a traffic light that GE put in that was taken down, but I believe the underground wiring is still intact, so it would not be a lot of effort to put the traffic light back in to deal with the new traffic to the field.

People coming from Westfield, Northampton or anyplace to the east wouldn't have to travel as far. If you're going west on Route 9, the GE location is a good 10 minutes closer than BCC. Any time saved is huge when traveling a long distance.

For those of you who would like the artificial turf, I would like for you to have it, but please, not at BCC. If turf field supporters would agree to this location change, I think we would all be happy, and this is what is most important.

David Grossman-Ponemon, Pittsfield


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