What can YOU do?

Email the Mayor and Council Members

Email the Mayor and Council and tell them: We don’t want to spend $9M on artificial turf and stadium lights! We want more affordable, natural, rain absorbing, and properly maintained grass athletic fields for the health and safety of our youth athletes. We are concerned about the environmental impacts of artificial turf such as toxic emissions and storm water runoff. Well maintained grass fields recover from storms quickly and won’t suffer damage like Houlihan/Sid Fay Fields.

If email isn’t your preference, write a letter to the Mayor and Council as well as the Board of Education, expressing your view that natural grass is better than the costly, environmentally risky, and potentially hazardous artificial turf plan.

Make sure all your neighbors are aware of the Mayor and Council’s plans, in partnership with the Board of Education, to spend $9M on chemically based artificial turf fields that emit toxic chemicals, increase the percentage of injuries to athletes, and create heat islands in our neighborhoods.

Sample Letter:

Subject: Edison Athletic Complex

Dear (Members of the Westfield Board of Education or Dr. Bolton or Dr. Gonzalez):

I am a Westfield resident with # children who currently are in Grades ________ at ____________ School(s). My child(ren) participate(s) in (sport or WHS Marching Band).

I learned about the letter of intent which was signed by the Board of Education and the Town Council for the Town to lease the property behind Edison Intermediate School for $1 per year for 30 years. I understand the Town then plans to tear out the existing grass fields and install synthetic turf fields and stadium lights behind the school.

I agree that athletic field capacity in town is lacking and that the field behind EIS, and many other BOE owned playing fields need to be improved. However, I urge you to limit the Town to only improving the existing natural surfaces rather than resorting to the use of petroleum based plastic surfaces and stadium lighting. Keeping natural surfaces would be consistent with the “tradition of environmental stewardship which remains constant in the Westfield Public community on Earth Day and year-round” and “the Westfield School District’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.”

  • Natural grass removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it in the roots and soil which helps to lessen the greenhouse effect. Removing this beneficial resource goes against what Westfield students are being taught about solving the climate change crisis.
  • The manufacturing, installation, service, and disposal of synthetic turf athletic fields generates carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and pollutants.
  • Synthetic turf materials leach toxins and carcinogens into water and soil.
  • Synthetic turf athletic fields become much hotter than grass fields and can become unplayable for several hours on hot, sunny days.
  • Artificial turf carries several health risks for our children including dehydration, heat exhaustion, physical injury, and exposure to toxins, carcinogens, and bacteria.
  • A lighted sports complex across Rahway Avenue from Kehler Stadium would greatly increase the safety concerns related to traffic and inadequate parking that already exists around EIS, particularly at night. Changes to the school should serve to improve student and teacher safety, not introduce new risks.
  • Converting all or part of the field at EIS to artificial turf would deprive EIS students of natural grass on which to safely participate in gym class and other outdoor educational and recreational activities. Since Roosevelt Intermediate School (RIS) is not being considered for artificial turf, this project would create unacceptable inequity between EIS students and RIS students.
  • Permitting the Town to install stadium lighting in any residential neighborhood increases nighttime traffic and creates more dangerous situations for drivers, bikers and pedestrians. It also creates unacceptable inequity for the impacted residents.

It is my sincere hope that you will prioritize the health and safety of our children, residents, and the environment as we all work together to increase athletic field capacity in Westfield.


Insert Name, House Number, Street Name and Ward Number