NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The town of North Haven held a public meeting on Wednesday night about installing two new synthetic turf athletic fields at North Haven Middle School. Not everyone in town wants to play ball. People on both sides of the issue spoke at the meeting.
The meeting drew a large group of people who sometimes got emotional. It isn’t the fields themselves that people are against, but what is in them.
“The building committee and the Board of Education have voted to put in a coated crumb rubber as part of the infill,” said North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda.
Danielle Morfi doesn’t want the synthetic turf fields. She started a petition to call for the special town meeting; she gathered more than 50 signatures. Morfi spoke at the meeting, acknowledging that new fields are needed. However, she is concerned about the health of the kids who would be playing on crumb rubber fields.
“I think that as a taxpayer and as a parent of kids who will be playing on those fields, we need to put our best face forward. We have a wealth of knowledge,” Morfi said.
Crumb rubber is made from old tires. Some studies have shown they have chemicals in them that can cause cancer.
“My sign says “tires are toxic waste” because tires are supposed to go on cars, not fields and playgrounds,” said Connor Garrett, who attended the meeting.
Some people are also concerned the synthetic turf fields get too hot.
“I can’t understand why the town of North Haven would decide on such a toxic substance,” said Dan Garrett of North Haven.
The meeting was not intended to overturn the decision to put in the fields. The public heard from attorneys and the crowd of people made their voices heard. Not all of them were against building the fields, however. Some residents think they are a good idea.
“The research just doesn’t support the toxicity levels that some of them claim,” said David Mikos of North Haven. “We just feel that we’re ready for them.”
The Board of Selectmen decided at the meeting not to call another special town meeting next month to discuss postponing the project or other types of fields.