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West Palm set to lift ban on artificial turf for parks, fields



By Andrew Abramson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Artificial turf, no longer resembling the rubbery, hard AstroTurf of the 1970s, could soon be heading to city parks and athletics fields.

Commissioners gave preliminary approval Tuesday to lifting a citywide ban on artificial turf, with a final vote scheduled for June 11 .

The ban would be removed for public or private athletic fields and playgrounds at community centers, parks, schools or universities. The turf also would be allowed in place of concrete or other hard surfaces in commercial developments or on rooftop terraces. It would not be permitted on residential lawns.

"Over the years, artificial turf has become more lifelike as technology has increased," said John Roach, a senior planner for the city. "It's made from synthetic fibers, and it's made to look just like natural grass."

City officials said artificial turf could be beneficial for athletic fields, such as the new one Palm Beach Atlantic University is building on Parker Avenue, because it doesn't need water, except for cleaning, and wouldn't be easily torn up.

"Over a 10-year life span on the product, used on a typical household, you would save approximately 234,000 gallons of water," Roach said. "It's important with water restrictions in place, and I have a feeling those will not be lessened anytime soon."

Artificial turf also would eliminate the use of lawnmowers, which cause "significant" amounts of pollution, and it also would do away with the need for pesticides and other chemicals, Roach said

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