Woodstock Turf Fight

From some opponents of putting artificial turf on the Woodstock High School football field:

An organization called “The WHS Turf Campaign” has raised pledges for around $801K to install an artificial turf field at the old Woodstock High School.

Aside from the increased cost of maintenance, there are many concerns about health risks associated with the field. The issues and resources that support those issues can be found at http://www.votersinaction.com/whs-turf.html.

Volunteers have been knocking on doors and passing out flyers to try to inform the greater public of the project and the concerns we have regarding it.

Turf No sighJuly 1st, a handful of volunteers passed out around 500 flyers at Woodstock’s Wednesday Night Concert on the Square where Jack Franks was passing out ice cream.
Truf back


Woodstock Turf Fight — 27 Comments

  1. Sports trends have gotten out of hand. When is the next sports complex going to hit the news?

    Oh yeah, and there should be a place to play soccer 24 seven indoors right? (NO)

    The kids can play on the dirt and their clothes can be washed.

    Better yet, start thinking about the injuries in football.

    I like the game but the kids are too young and not mature enough to make the decision to play.

    I know we can’t protect kids from everything but isn’t the truth that came out in the last 10 years enough to convince parents that their children don’t need their brains whacked around.

  2. There has not been one peer reviewed study yet that shows any significant increase in long term health problems incurred by football players who did not play Division 1 college football and at least 2 years professional football.

  3. Hey Charles, what does that have to do with the turf?

    You don’t need a slide rule to see that soccer players have a much higher incident of injury on turf than they do on grass.

    There are reams of evidence that the chemicals found in turf are dangerous to everyone.

    But if you are still not convince, what about the Consumer Product Safety Commission removing their “Safe to play” endorsement, or the fact that many municipalities are forbidding any more turf installations, or that FIFA has made the statement that they will never play a cup game on turf.

    How can anyone, in good conscience, look at all this evidence and still want the turf???!!!?!


  4. Let’s keep part of this simple.

    Is this needed or wanted.

    If it’s needed, why.

    I mean you’re talking about a lot of money and it’s not going to be where the SuperBowl ever gets played.

    If it’s wanted, why.

    And – Who is financially going to benefit by this big investment?

  5. Sorry Steve, your hysterical rant doesn’t wash.

    These “dangerous chemicals” that you are so afraid of are the same chemicals that are in plastic bottles and containers that our food comes in, because the turf is made from recycled plastic.

    Sue is the only person I have ever heard of that says that purified recycled ground up tires are less dirty than dirt covered with thinning grass.

    geese are not drawn to artificial turf because they can’t eat it.

    Most of your pooping occurs on natural grass.

    Has anyone seen Steve’s “…reems of evidence..” about soccer injuries?

    The fact is the new era turf is miles ahead in safety over the first generation Astroturf I played on in Soldier Field in 1971.

    The only issue is that we should contract out janitorial and maintenance services at our schools and dump these overpaid union janitors making spacious arguments to protect their overpaid jobs.

  6. Sorry.

    Sue’s point is that dirt with goose poop is less dirty than purified plastic and rubber.

  7. That was not the point.

    I made the following comment on the original article:

    5. Feces does not degrade on artificial surfaces.

    It was inarticulately stated, but meant to convey that feces degrades and is rapidly absorbed into an organic surface, but not an impermeable surface.

    Therefore there is an additional cleaning task for janitorial staff when compared to natural turf.

    If allowed to accumulate, the e coli will present a health hazard.

    I do however agree that geese will not be as likely to graze the artificial as the natural turf.

    That is a good point.

    If the conditions of this installation were:

    1. the guaranteed reduction of maintenance staff (to cover additional costs of AT and replacement cost escrow and additional liability insurance premiums–over $100,000 annual?), and

    2. Woodstock City rescinds their mischaracterized “donation” (when property tax rates are what they are and property values are what they are), and

    3. Woodstock CUSD School Board acknowledges that ‘donations’ spent for the benefit of a few might be better spent to address the unsustainable budget and crippling debt which is depressing Woodstock home values and stealing from the college funds of all Woodstock families’ children (6.5% of home value school debt, 2.7% of home value school tax rate–out of total 4.6% of total home value tax rate in Woodstock–compared to national average property tax rate 1.5% of home value),

    then I would be indifferent to the outcome, once I knew beyond reasonable doubt that children would be safe using the AT sports field.


    Oooooh, spooky.

  9. Sue:

    EAch kid at the school will use the fields for PE classes.

    Also, on a home football weekend, about one quarter of the student body uses the facilities, teams, soccer teams, cheerleaders, majorettes, marching bands, and pep squads.

    There is no other voluntary activity which has the active participation as fall athletics.

  10. Charles?

    Are you not aware that all plastic is unhealthy? [End of possessive pronoun usage.]

    IF you are ingesting food that comes in plastic, I’m pretty sure that you are not going to have the ability to discern the actual problems (that have been pointed out) with this whole scenario.

  11. Cindy, Cindy, Cindy

    Go to the supermarket and see that most of the food is packaged in plastic. You don’t eat the plastic, you throw it away.

    It is used to protect from contamination and spoilage, that’s why those dates are provided.

    I am sure my academic and professional qualifications supersede your qualifications.

    You should really get out more.

  12. Even if 100% of the designated HS population used this field and felt the comparative results highly beneficial:

    Benefit accruing to “A small portion”, small portion being defined as:

    1. roughly half the hs population attendance in D200 (there is another high school which is also kept open, also at half-capacity but full cost to taxpayers). So about 950 humans.

    2. taxpayers in Woodstock D200 about 30,000
    households in Woodstock D200 about 11,000

    So: 950/30000=3% (3% of total School District population, if every single HS student at that school perceives a marked benefit from AT vs. natural turf, and there are ZERO DELITERIOUS EFFECTS)

    If every single HS student at this HS is from a different discrete household,
    950/11000= 8.6% of households will benefit.
    (if, say, there were 2 children in this HS from each household with HS attending children,
    then 475/11000=4.3%; only 4.3% of households are receiving a benefit).

    So for the benefit of 3% of taxpayer population, 97% of taxpayer population are being forced to absorb additional cost and liability.

    For the benefit of between 4% and 8.6% of district households, over 91.4% of district households are forced to absorb additional cost and liability.

    This is very relevant given that the property tax rate in Woodstock is 4.6% of total home value.

    Also extremely relevant is the 6.5% of total property value debt encumbrance amassed by Woodstock D200.

    Illinois State Law limits school debt to 4.6% of total property value.

    This is for a reason.

    This district’s school debt is so far in excess of statutory limits, which were made law to protect children and adults from voracious spending appetites of those empowered to borrow and spend, and are meant to protect society at large from ending up precariously overburdened with unsustainable debt…this law is being ignored by this school Board.

    Every penny spent frivolously in this environment has dire consequences on a large percentage of this district’s population.

  13. Sue, I hope your political activity is not limited to the anonymity Cal’s column.

    Your taxes are too high because you want to send your kids to nearly all white suburban schools, in a community with little industry and tax base (and pollution, for our Defenders fans).

    State law requires all real estate to be taxed to support all the taxing bodies.

    You are not paying for a service when you pay your property taxes, you are paying for government to protect your ownership interests in that property.

    Don’t pay your property taxes and see how long you “own” your house.

    Your beef is with the School Board, if you have the courage.

  14. I don’t understand your point, nor how it supports spending on this project.
    Are you asserting that the property tax rate of 4.6% of total home value, relative to the national average property tax rate of 1.5% of home value is justifiable?
    I’m not clear on what your criticism is meant to convey to me.

  15. By the way please be specific.

    Generalities are not credible arguments, and cannot be responded to productively.

    The absurd assertion that this school district is all white and that is why our taxes are so comparatively high is factually inaccurate on at least two quantifiableable counts.

  16. Please look up ‘industry’ in this taxing district and see how much is being taken for tifs or abated for ‘incentive’ purposes.

    You can find tax rolls at the County website.

    Also at that website you can find Athena, which is a mapping program of all tax parcels.

    From there you can find PIN numbers for reference.

    Then look up tax bills on the ‘find your tax bill’ function at County Treasurer website.

    Absent that sort of effort, your remarks must be interpreted as deliberate efforts to lead the arguments astray from the topic at hand.

  17. Susan?

    That person is obviously a troll.

    When they said “I am sure my academic and professional qualifications supersede your qualifications.” to me; that was the huge tip-off that this person has no clue what you or I are talking about.

    Keep speaking truth, Susan.

    God bless you for all your intense research and trying to bring it to light for the unenlightened.

    (AND not only on this subject. Thank you!)

  18. This is specific:

    Get a slate together and run for the school board.

    Anything less from you is mental masturbation.

    The taxes are high because there are so many people who will pay a premium to live in a district with a low underclass and minority population.

    Cindy: Did you go to the supermarket yet? There is a whole new world out there, and there is a lot of dangerous plastic trying to poison you.

  19. Prime example of being penny wise and pound foolish.

    These turf fields require nearly zero maintenance.

    But go ahead keep it grass and employ yet another maintenance worker to water, cut and fertilize it.

    Be sure to give them a nice stare sponsored pension too.

    Replace the tractor every couple of years and don’t forget about the paint and labor to stripe it.

  20. None of those dangerous artificial plastics to poison our children in fertilizer.

    Oh wait, don’t you have to wear gloves to handle fertilizer because it is…poisonous?

    Don’t tell Cindy, she my never come out again if she finds out her neighbors use fertilizer.

    Maybe she uses clean safe cow manure.

  21. It is factually inaccurate to state that artificial turf fields require zero maintenance.

    The excerpt below is from a University of Arkansas comparison written by Aaron Patton titled:

    Synthetic (Artificial) Turf vs. Natural Grass Athletic Fields

    published online at:


    It is a myth that synthetic fields require less maintenance than natural turfgrass fields or to say that artificial turf fields are maintenance free. Synthetic fields require 1) additional infill, 2) irrigation because of unacceptably high temperatures on warm-sunny days, 3) chemical disinfectants, 4) sprays to reduce static cling and odors, 5) drainage repair and maintenance, 6) erasing and repainting temporary lines, and 7) removing organic matter accumulation. In a recent presentation by the Michigan State University, Certified Sports Turf Manager, she cited that the typical annual maintenance costs of her artificial turf fields ranged from $13,720-$39,220, while the typical annual maintenance costs of her natural turf fields had a similar range of $8,133-$48,960 (1).

    Long-term costs

    Long-term costs are less with natural turf fields compared to synthetic turf fields. Artificial fields need replacing every 8-10 years, whereas a natural turf field does not need as frequent renovation and can be renovated at a much reduced price compared to an artificial field. In a 16-year scenario, Fresenburg came up with an annual average cost for each field type as follows: the natural soil-based field, $33,522; the sand-cap grass field, $49,318; the basic synthetic field, $65,846; and the premium synthetic field, $109,013 (2).

    Disposal costs

    When artificial turf (in-fill systems) needs renovating every 8-10 years, there is a hidden cost of disposal. Because the field is filled and top-dressed with a crumb rubber material (typically made from ground automobile tires), the material may require special disposal. Disposal costs are estimated at $130,000 plus transportation and landfill charges (3).

    Warranty concerns

    Artificial turf (in-fill type) is a relatively new product. As such, its complete life span and maintenance requirements are not fully known. When considering the purchase of one of these systems, the answer to several questions should be researched prior to purchase. These questions include (adapted from Natural Grass and Artificial Turf: Separating Myths and Facts)(3):

    •Will the artificial turf manufacturing and installation company provide a warranty specifying the expected life of the product?

    •Will the selling firm provide a warranty bond for the life of the product? This will ensure that there is some legitimate recourse in the event of a product failure even if the seller is no longer in business.

    •What is the longest period of time the artificial field being specified has been in use at another school, college, or university?

    •What conditions or maintenance practices will void the field’s warranty?

    •Does a single warranty cover all aspects of the artificial field’s soil base preparation, base materials, artificial turf materials, etc; will there be separate warranties and warranty voiding conditions for each element, some of which could contravene each other?

    •What is the minimum and maximum financial investment in specialized equipment that must be purchased to maintain the artificial field at a level that will provide maximum playing conditions and maintain the warranty?

    •What level of technical training is supplied, recommended, or required for the maintenance crew in order to properly maintain the area and the warranty conditions?

    •What are the warranty requirements or recommended processes to address each of the following repair or replacement demands of the artificial surface:

    ◦Damage caused by fire? Large and small areas.
    ◦Damage caused by vandalism?
    ◦Discoloration of areas caused by wear pattern differences?
    ◦Replacement of areas caused by wear or other physical or weather-related damage?


    •Fouty, Amy. “A Sport Field Manager’s Perspective: Synthetic Turf Considerations, Maintenance Costs and Concerns” May 11, 2005 presentation at the Synthetic Turf Infill Seminar, Detroit, Michigan. Reviewed by Lynn Brakeman in “Experts Spell Out True Cost of Synthetic Turf Maintenance.” Athletic Turf News, May 24, 2005.

    •Adamson, C. 2008. Synthetic Turfgrass Costs Far Exceed Natural Grass Playing Fields. Available at: http://cafnr.missouri.edu/research/turfgrass-costs.php/.

    •Turfgrass Resource Center. 2008. Natural grass and artificial turf: Separating myths and facts. Available at: http://www.turfgrasssod.org/webarticles/anmviewer.asp?a=130&z=37/.

    •National Football League Players Association. 2006. NFL layers playing surfaces opinion survey. Available at: http://www.turfgrasssod.org/webarticles/articlefiles/130-NFLPA_Players_Playing_Surface_Survey.pdf

    •McNitt, A.S. 2005. Synthetic turf in the U.S.A. – trends and issues. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 10:27-33.

    •Epstein, V. 2007. Texas football succumbs to virulent staph infection from turf. Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=alxhrJDn.cdc&refer=news; Data compiled from the Texas Department of State Health Services, http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/health/antibiotic_resistance/mrsa/

    •Brakeman, L. 2004. Infill systems spark debate at STMA conference. Available at: http://www.athleticturf.net/athleticturf/content/printContentPopup.jsp?id=85955 .

    •Williams C.F., and G.E. Pulley. 2003. Synthetic surface heat studies. Available at: http://cahe.nmsu.edu/programs/turf/documents/brigham-young-study.pdf .

    •McNitt, A.S., D.M. Petrunak, and T.J. Serensits. 2008. Temperature amelioration of synthetic turf surfaces through irrigation. Acta Hort. 783:573-581, ISHS 2008.

  22. Charles, you are assuming a lot.

    I’m not blaming you tho.

    Many people assume this is safe or govt. wouldn’t let us install it.

    Government is also the force that lead people to believe fluoride was good for us when they needed to dispose of a waste byproduct that mainstream has known for the last 30 yrs that that was the case and it is NOT good for us-but good for the govt.

    The problem is that crumb rubber used for these fields are not purified in the least.

    You are assuming this and you are incorrect.

    Crumb rubber fields are nothing more than ground up used-tire landfills with astroturf laid on top of it.

    The rubber is not purified and it’s not kept underneath the astroturf.

    It is poured and raked into the astroturf’s blades.

    It gets ingested.

    Toxins get absorbed thru the pores, it gets in hair, eyes, ears, even in the uniforms against the skin in ALL places.

    This is not healthy for the players/coaches/neighbors.

    It’s not healthy for the ground water.

    Even if this were in the middle of a cornfield, it wouldn’t be fair to the community because of the toxins in runoff that land in the groundwater.

    Some coaches are questioning this as they are seeing the youth contract lymphoma.

    There are good reasons why these are no longer allowed in some states and that some pro-fields, universities, schools and municipalities are ripping these out (at a large cost)

    I guess they feel the cost to rip it out and replace it with natural grass is the price they’ll pay for the safety and health of their citizens.

    And let’s be practical too, it probably is worth it to them to keep the liability at bay.

    Please take an hour and do the research.

    I thought this was a great idea too until I learned that it is unhealthy, it’s polluting, and very pricey.

    To add to all that, the plan is not to make it safe.

    Where recommendation is 10 feet or so to have a chance to recover once you’re off the field and keep from running into concrete, THIS plan only allows for 3 feet so players WILL be injured and other schools / games / conferences will NOT be played there.

    Put the subject into google to be alerted as to when new articles come out.

    I think you will be convinced that you would not want to live adjacent to these or let people be exposed to this for any length of time.

    Every week there’s a new claim that this is bad all the way around in one form or another.

    I don’t want to be ‘that county’ or ‘that town’ that yields to pressure that this is ‘cool’ or ‘this will make us look cool or make us more popular.

    I don’t want to be that town.

    We are classic and so is Grass.

    Crumb Rubber Artificial Turf will be this generation’s Asbestos.

  23. Eric, that’s the common misnomer that artificial turf is a ‘money saver’. I used to think that too. That’s why I was for it at first. Turns out, that’s not the case. They will still need to employ maintenance workers as this needs to be raked everytime it’s played on, and it needs to be maintained from debris like whirlybird seed pods and the like. It also needs to be watered as it becomes too hot to play on. On a pleasant day it can get up to 162 degrees all the way up to 3.5 feet high. New equipment will need to be purchased to maintain it, and it’s only good for a projected 8-10 yrs. and will need replacement at a cost higher than $450K (this would be today’s price. in 8-10 yrs. it will be higher) AND the cost of disposal I don’t believe has been discussed. That will be pricey and may need to be treated as toxic hazardous waste. It is in other states.

    It’s not required that they use pesticides on natural grass fields. We can rally for that to stop too as it’s not necessary.

    Phase II is not considered in the amount that the group has raised. If they vote for this, that will be on the taxpayers.

  24. I love how people that possess common sense do their own research and are able to figure out the angles. Thank you, Karen (another in the know person with integrity). Come on people, show some personal responsibility; and learn what the powers that be are trying to pull over on you. These two ladies (Susan and Karen) are survivors. Nobody can pull the artificial wool over their eyes.

  25. I’m trying to follow the money.

    The WHSTurfCampaign.com website has a Paypal link to donate cash directly to the district.

    So, I’m assuming that their description of “Pledged Donations” of $805,925 includes a combination of actual Cash donations received and “Pledges” (or promises to donate at some future date).

    I’d like to know the following:

    1. How much ACTUAL Cash has been donated under the campaign to the district.

    2. Which District Fund have the proceeds been recorded in?
    The Capital Projects Fund?

    3. What expenses have been incurred by the district for the fees charged by Paypal?

    4. When was the Paypal account set up? Did the board approve via resolution, the establishment of this account that now holds a balance of district cash?

    5. Has the district established and/or reviewed with the external auditors, the internal controls necessary to prevent unauthorized transfers of the Cash in the Paypal account?

    6. What happens to the Cash received from donors if the turf field is not approved? Is it returned? Used to pay down debt? Spent on day-to-day operations?

    7. What happens if the turf project is approved, but not all of the “pledges” are collected? Does the district have to take funds from elsewhere to make up the shortfall? What process exists for the district to begin collecting outstanding pledges?

  26. Thank you, Dist 200 WHS Board for voting down on the Crumb rubber turf project.

    Thank you, Renaissance Committee for your offer.

    Hopefully you and the citizens against it, along with Voters In Action can meet and work together to produce something that’s great for everyone and a project where there is only positives!

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