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Dispute over artificial turf for Lower Gile Field continues

May 09, 2023

The debate over the hotly disputed installation of artificial turf at the Lower Gile Field continued during meetings before the Conservation Commission in April and May.

The project was approved at Town Meeting a few years ago, but a group of residents calling themselves "Grass for Gile" are seeking to change those plans as environmentally unsound and dangerous.

Meanwhile, the Parks and Recreation Department has argued that the renovations of the low-lying field will provide much-needed field time for young athletes in a town where such field space is limited.

The Conservation Commission agreed at its May 16 meeting that it will continue to take testimony as it seeks to determine whether the project will have adverse effects on the nearby wetlands and Pine Tree Brook.

Conservation Chair John Kiernan said that the issue is one of great concern in other communities as well and he was seeking information on studies done for those communities, which include Arlington, Martha's Vineyard, Malden, Hull, Sharon, and Wayland.

The commission also agreed to seek to hire a consultant from a multi-disciplinary firm to provide more expert information relative to the hydrologist or water quality, possibly an environmental chemist.

The commission will take up the matter again on June 9.

About 50 people were in attendance at the meeting held over Zoom, many of them Grass for Gile proponents who quickly sought to counter the testimony supporting the installation of the field.

During the April 11 meeting, Christian Huntress of Huntress Sports, which designed the new field, explained that the field, which is used for multiple sports programs, will greatly increase the playing time the field is available.

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