Vail drops idea for turf at Ford Park — for now
Town officials will further study implications of the swap
The athletic fields at Vail’s Ford Park will remain natural grass, at least for a while.
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday agreed to drop from the 2022 budget a $1.5 million “placeholder” item to convert the fields to artificial turf. Instead, the town will “fully vet” the idea in the coming months.
Council members when reviewing the first reading of the budget had asked for more information on the idea of converting the grass field to turf and had received calls and emails about the topic. Vail resident Chris Chantler spoke to the council at its Oct. 5 meeting asking them to reconsider the idea.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson in a Wednesday email wrote that the idea to convert the fields to artificial turf was seen as part of a “major sustainability initiative.” Robson wrote that the grass at the fields is “quite possibly the largest outdoor water consumer in the entire (Eagle River Water and Sanitation District) portfolio.” That’s important, given the West’s ongoing drought, Robson added.
In addition, Robson wrote that turf on those fields would allow the town to host winter events at the fields.
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Chantler said he was happy to learn the council had dropped the budget item.
Chantler said town officials “hadn’t been given all the facts” about artificial turf, adding he’ll be happy to help officials look at the broader implications of swapping grass for turf at the fields.
Chantler noted that studies indicate that switching to artificial turf can impact athlete safety and presents environmental problems, including runoff from the fields. In addition, he said, turf tends to get quite hot on sunny summer days, and has to be watered to be playable.
“I’m appreciative the council heard us. I’m glad it was removed,” Chantler said.