Council approves Battle Point field funding

The city council approved an agreement Wednesday that will give $300,000 for sports field renovation at Battle Point Park, while council members distanced themselves from the controversy surrounding artificial turf.

The funds will go to support the Bainbridge Metropolitan Park and Recreation District’s $1.5 million plan to replace two sand fields at Battle Point with a synthetic FieldTurf surface and improve surrounding facilities.

Several islanders spoke out against the artificial turf, which they said is a risk to human and environmental health.

“The fallout from this installation will never go away,” Sally Adams told the council.

Council members acknowledged the conflict over artificial turf, but said the choice of field materials is in the hands of the park district.

“We’re supporting a sport, and we’re supporting fields that need to be improved,” Council member Debbie Vancil said.

To make the point clear, the council removed language regarding field material from the its resolution approving the funds.

The city money will boost the fundraising efforts of sports clubs, which have teamed with the park district on the project. Club members were on hand Wendesday to support the field funding.

Two appeals have been made to the environmental determination of nonsignificance issued by the city for the field project.

The park district is appealing a condition of the determination, which would require a government agency to certify that the fields would not contaminate groundwater. Park board Chair Ken DeWitt said the district doesn’t believe it would be realistic for an agency to make that guarantee.

Artificial turf opponent Chris Van Dyk has also appealed the determination.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14.

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