Defenders Question Woodstock HS Artificial Turf

From the Environmental Defenders email:

D200 School Board will be accepting bids for possible approval of the application of [a $955,170] crumb rubber (a component of Synthetic or Artificial Turf) to Larry Dale Field at Woodstock High School THIS SUMMER.

What do you think about this?

Please give them your two cents at public comments of the open meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 pm at Clay Academy – 211 Grove St. Woodstock IL.

Crumb rubber infill is the down-cycling of used tires.

Due to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, this material is not subject to consumer products safety scrutiny and has special dispensation by the EPA.

Use of this product is banned in Italy, Norway, Sweden as well as New York City and Los Angeles, CA due to emerging data surrounding public health and safety concerns.

It is known to contain toxic material which may contaminate ground water.

Proximity to Kishwaukee River headwaters as well as William C. Donato Conservation Area should be notable.

For additional information, visit:

Woodstock Independent article on the subject:


Defenders Question Woodstock HS Artificial Turf — 17 Comments

  1. 1. While school board claims the project is not funded by taxpayers, but is a donation, they have been presented with data about the high maintenance costs and necessity to replace the artificial turf field after its projected viable lifespan.

    Will the donors set up a fund for these purposes?

    2. One of the donors is City of Woodstock.

    Ask Woodstock citizens, whose latest property tax rate is 4.6% of home value, if they consider the characterization of using their tax money as a “donation” accurate phraseology.

    3. D200 taxes 2.7% of total home value.

    The school district has $150 million of debt including accrued interest.

    This debt represents an encumbrance of 6.5% of total home value.

    Illinois law limits unit school debt to 4.6% of total home value.

    4. With a ten year lifespan, an artificial turf field is somewhat like a balloon debt instrument: pay nothing until the debt comes due, then be faced with an enormous bill due immediately.

    In this case, that means in ten years or so, Woodstock D200 taxpayers will need to come up with replacement cost of field. At $1 million cost today, with 3% inflation that would be $1.35 million.

    And the cost burden of replacement repeats every decade.

    5. Feces does not degrade on artificial surfaces.

  2. You know what sane people call a “special dispensation from the EPA”?

    A perfectly legal, widely used, and presumptively safe product.

  3. The installation of an artificial field is ridiculous.

    The impact it would have, as Susan has stated, is certainly not worth it.

    To have it replaced in 10 years is horrendously non-cost effective.

    It would be one thing if either of the Woodstock schools could field winning programs.

    As can be seen from the following list, BOTH Woodstock schools need a lot of improvement!

    2015 Northwest Herald All-Sports Award Standings

    1. Jacobs 118

    2. Huntley 111.5

    3. Cary-Grove 109.5

    4. Crystal Lake South 108.5

    5. Prairie Ridge 106

    6. Crystal Lake Central 97

    7. McHenry 92

    8. Grayslake Central 83.5

    9. Dundee-Crown 62.5

    10. Grayslake North 57

    11. Hampshire 52

    12. Woodstock 45.5

    13. Woodstock North 21

  4. There’s a pretty strong correlation between median household income in the district and the number of all stars listed above.

    And, this makes sense because in most sports now-a-days, in order to be competitive the players have to do a lot of expensive out-of-season training (strength and conditioning coaches, club teams, travel teams, etc.).

    Quit pretending that the field or administration of the district can overcome those demographic factors.

  5. The demographic factors are a function of over borrowing, overspending, thus over-taxation within the school district taxation geography.

    Since D200 expanded, the property values have plummeted.
    (D200 maintains 3 buildings operating at under 50% student enrollment capacity, since 2008).

    Investor purchases of foreclosed property have created a largely renter population.

    In the past several years, property values all over America have recovered, while property values in Woodstock D200 have continued to fall.

    Now Woodstock D200 taxation district has a far lower taxable base than years prior to the 2008 real estate crash.

    Woodstock D200 cannot afford the debt it has amassed ($150 million) NOR the tax rate (2.7% of total home value, out of a total 4.6% total home value property tax rate for Woodstock residents) with which it now burdens its citizenry.

    Academic results are mediocre at best relative to local and State and National schools.

    Is anyone suggesting that spending more on athletics is beneficial for this community?

    On what basis?

    What percentage of total population and student population will benefit from higher spending and borrowing, when higher spending and borrowing has created a depressed housing price market which is anomalous compared with Case Schiller Index values?

  6. Artificial turf is bad news all the way around. Aside from the financial impacts, there are some serious health concerns.

    Crumb rubber is nothing more than untested, untreated ground up tires.

    One hundred tons approximately for a football field.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) once listed crumb rubber as “safe to play”.

    They have recently retracted that endorsement

    The women’s world cup was just played on artificial turf and now FIFA says they will never play another cup series on turf again.

    Abby Wambach herself had a suit against FIFA over using the surface

    Local citizens have gotten together to fight this. You can read more about the issues here:

    Here are just a few entries:

    – Synthetic Turf and Children’s Health with Patti Wood
    – Rep Pallone’s question during CMT CPSC Oversight Hearing 5/19/2015 –
    – 2 Investigators: New Research Raises Safety Concerns About Crumb Rubber « CBS Chicago
    – 2 Investigators: Crumb Rubber Turf Could Pose Cancer Risk « CBS Chicago
    – The Health Hazards of Artificial Turf Crumb Rubber Playing Fields
    – School replaces artificial turf over cancer concerns
    – New White House Playground Incorporates Potentially Toxic Materials Says EPA
    – How Safe Is the Artificial Turf Your Child Plays On?
    – NBC Nightly News: How Safe is the Artificial Turf on Your Child’s Sports Field?

  7. Artificial turf fields are an emerging trend in park districts and high schools throughout Chicagoland.

  8. Always nice to hear from the Janitors’ Union and their families.

    Artificial fields save the taxpayers’ money over the life span because they don’t have to cut every week(by a government union guy), Don’t have to be lined, and don’t deteriorate over the season, as a grass field becomes progressively less safe over a season.

    They are more versatile and encourage more use by more people and groups, and don’t have to be rested or resod in the spring.

    This is a use of recycled materials (used tires and plastics) which should be encouraged.

    Over 80% of mandatory recycled materials ends up landfilled or incinerated, as we are recycleing far beyond our ability to use the materials.

  9. There is no indication that any janitor will be fired or have hours cut back due to this project.

    It is my understanding that artificial turf requires regular maintenance also, including cleaning off goose or dog poop (which doesn’t naturally degrade as into soil.)

    But Let’s hear some numbers so we can make a fair comparison of dollars spent today, maintenance requirements in the future, and replacement of turf field within (average from many articles) 10 years at least $1 million.

  10. Susan, the fact that hundreds of schools annually install artificial turf is compelling evidence of the cost savings.

    I’m one to believe most conspiracy theories regarding government waste, but the story that every single school board has an uncle or nephew in the artificial turf business stretches even my willingness to believe.

    The cost savings are there.

    If you want to gin up biased numbers, be my guest, but the burden of proof is going to be on you to prove that it will cost more in the long run.

    Steve, the women’s world cup will never be played on artificial turf again, not because they’re concerned about cancer or other nonsense.

    It won’t be played on turf because turf is an inferior surface to grass in most respects except for cost.

    Arguing that our high schools should have the same caliber field as a world championship is ludicrous, especially considering how muddy and dangerously slick these fields become in late autumn.

    With respect to all this gobbledy gook about possible cancer risks, every sane person is giving you a huge eye roll.

    Our society is so litigious that if any kid in the three decades since turf became widely adopted came down with cancer that could even be remotely related to astroturf, I can guarantee that someone would have found a lawyer to go after the deep pockets of the school district that installed the field.

    The fact that there have been no such successful lawsuits is damning evidence of the fields’ safety.

  11. These are numbers found in Woodstock CUSD Official Statements for bond issues in which they borrowed millions of dollars.

    If the numbers are ‘ginned up’, someone might be criminally prosecuted.

    I’m baffled by an assertion that because something happens often it is correct.

    Illinois has done many things related to spending often, and Illinois is deep in debt, and Illinois/McHenry County /Woodstock has highest (top .01%) property taxes in US, and Illinois has lower trending property values than other States.

    How does the assertion that ‘things done often are correct’ fit that data?

  12. The cost savings are not there.

    The fields need replacing in 8 yrs. (sometimes less) and the warranty is hard to collect on seeing the people that do this are ‘Brokers’ who hire others to excavate, and install, sew etc.

    When something goes wrong it’s very difficult to find the right throat to grab and schools and municipalities end up in litigation and eventually give up trying to fight for their warranty to be honored. Furthermore, the fields replacement is expensive.

    Woodstock got the cost of today’s price of $450,000 but when it actually needs replacing it will be more than that!

    Also, once these are put in, there is plenty of maintenance and special equipment that needs to be purchased and operated.

    When the worn out field needs replacing it’s very expensive to dispose of.

    They treat it as toxic waste.

    YET when it’s new and very toxic, it’s considered ‘a great “product”‘!

    Only in an Orwellian World is this acceptable!

    Did you know that this is a 100 yr old school?

    Not nearly filled to capacity.

    The other New High School is also not filled nearly to capacity.

    Both schools need a lot of maintenance and refurbishing (yes even the new school needs a lot of work done in the pool area)

    These two schools should be merging to cut costs.

    Not piling a mint into a relic of a school that may not even be in operation by the time this proposed Turf Project needs replacing!

    This price quoted in the article is only the first phase.


    Is this really the best use of taxpayer money in an already Overtaxed Town in an Overtaxed County, in a Cash Strapped School District???

    And as far as the argument that “Everybody’s doing it” goes – I don’t want our town to go off the cliff just because other suckers succumbed to the slick sales pitch by snake oil AstroTurf Brokers.

  13. They say to ‘Follow the money.’ Notice how It’s always the same incestuous small town government names and players that keep coming up?

    WHO has ‘friends’ in the Turf business?

    WHO owns a business in Woodstock having to do with local athletes?

    WHO’s trying like Hell to get a six figure position with the controvercial SportsPlex in Lakewood – that the citizens don’t want?

    WHO’s listed as VP of Outdoor Operations at the Sportsplex in Lakewood that hasn’t yet been approved – that the citizens don’t want?

    WHO’s friends and neighbors with the Lakewood Vlg Administrator Catherine Peterson whose emails indicate that the Lakewood Administration & Board is hiding information from the public to suit their agenda by having private conversations instead of open board meetings regarding the proposed Lakewood SportsPlex – that the citizens don’t want?

    WHO made a motion at the Woodstock City Council meeting to give Dist 200 Woodstock High School $100K of city money toward this Dist 200 Turf Project?

    WHO attends the Dist 200 Woodstock Board Meetings and pounds his fist during Public Comment insisting that voting for this Turf Project is ‘Good Govt.”?

    WHO spearheaded a group against a project for dense affordable housing that would have affected his backyard view, saying it was because of drainage problems and ground water problems for the neighborhood by the High School?

    WHO ran for city council just after successfully stopping THAT Project, but now doesn’t seem to give a rats ars about those same people NOW?

    WHO has had more jobs that you can ‘shake a stick at’ that seem to have conflict of interest with his city council position?

    WHO promises BS like : ‘This Turf Project is going to raise property values, bump up enrollment and give Woodstock a better image’?

    WHO’s name rhymes with Tina Turner’s first Husband?

    Who’s sees right thru that guy? ……………………………………….. THIS GUY!

  14. After reading the article in Forbes at the link provided, comments supporting the ‘turf’ should stop.


    Read the article’s links.


    Read the article.

    Screwing with facts?

    Read the article.

    Woodstock residents would be better served with using their proposed contribution to the project to fix some the potholes in Woodstock streets.

    Wookstock, as the County seat, is an embarrassment relative to the condition of its streets.

  15. Questioning, did you even bother reading the Forbes article and its sources?

    If you had bothered to critically read the piece, lots of these sources would give you pause.

    For example, the Forbes author refers to David Millar of Red Hen Turf Farm and Aaron Loan of Blue Grass Enterprises [another sod farm] as authors of a “non-partisan stud[y].”

    I guess it’s technically correct that two sod farmers are non-partisan in the traditional Democrat/Republican usage of the term, but it’s horribly misleading to present their “study” as an unbiased inquiry into the situation.

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