Vote No – Nyack’s Artificial Turf Bond


Vote at VCE, UNE, Hilltop and Depew. Call 845-353-7013 for your polling location or click here for street by street poll information (PDF file).

Bond Resolution  (Yes or No) One Question Only


“(a) That the Board of Education of the Nyack Union Free School District, in the County of Rockland, New York (the “District”), is hereby authorized to construct improvements and alterations to all District buildings and/or the sites thereof (the “Project”), and to expend therefor an amount not to exceed $26,400,000; (b) that the amount of not to exceed $5,000,000 from the District’s “Capital Reserve Fund-2010″ is hereby authorized to be expended to pay for a portion of the cost of the Project; and (c) that a tax is hereby voted in the amount of not to exceed $21,400,000 to pay the balance of the cost of the Project, such tax to be levied and collected in installments in such years and in such amounts as shall be determined by said Board of Education; and that in anticipation of said tax, bonds of the District are hereby authorized to be issued in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $21,400,000 and a tax is hereby voted to pay the interest on said bonds as the same shall become due and payable.”

By 2016 you will be paying $0 in taxes for bond payments.  If this new bond passes, an average household will pay $176 per year (depending if you live in Clarkstown or Orangetown) until the bond is paid off 15 years after borrowing begins. This is not a “tax-neutral event.” The District wants to borrow $21.5 million dollars over 15 years at whatever interest rate prevails at the time it borrows, regardless of the tax impact on Nyack School District taxpayers. If the current debt is permitted to retire next year, then we will be free from $2,000,000 per year in principal and interest payments. That is money we can use to re-hire teachers, invest in programs and technology and enhance academics.

We support all of the building repairs. They will be part of a new bond proposal when this one fails. The District has a $5 million dollar capital fund and is eligible for an additional $2 million dollars in state aid. Plus, it has $3.5 million dollars per year as part of its regular operating budget. It can use all of this money without borrowing a penny and without raising a tax.

The Board will develop a new bond proposal and could have it ready for a vote by spring. It has promised to “conduct an exit survey during the vote and will use information from that survey to modify the plan if this proposal does not receive a majority approval.” It may consider refurbishing the grass fields. It may scale back its plans for artificial turf. It may decide to change its decision to abandon MacCalman Field. Community input will be essential.

The District knows that the community has previously rejected an earlier artificial turf bond. It knows that a turf bond would fail again. So, the District has made a decision to tie the artificial turf to other necessary improvements. There is no other way that the District can secure artificial turf, but to force it on the community. Multiple requests were made to the District to separate the issues into two separate questions on the ballot. The District refused.



Most environmentally/health aware thinking people are opposed to the removal of natural grass and its replacement with artificial turf.  When artificial turf is installed, all of the top and subsoil is dug up, and rainwater that would have naturally percolated into the ground wiil now be channeled to Upper Nyack’s already taxes stormwater system. The runoff will reach the Hudson River, and chemical used to treat the turf (sanitizers, virucides, germicides, anticrobials, etc.) will be washed into the Hudson River.

The base of the turf is made from recycled car and truck tires, mostly imported from China, India and the far east, where environmental controls are more lax. The crumb rubber as it is called contains heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are carcinogenic, and endocrine disrupters that bioaccumulate in our children’s bodies. The actual turf is made from petroleum based polypropylene and has been shown to contain lead and other harmful substances.

Most who have studied the issues around artificial turf’s limited useful life and rapid degradation understand the economic traps of this synthetic chemical product. Most people who want to protect their children and the environment from the ill effects of the turf and its infill oppose installation. And, most of the people who study the increased likelihood of serious injury as the fields age and degrade are opposed to artificial turf.


There is an enormous amount of pressure on local and state agencies to “recycle” used tires and remove them from landfills and storage. Some states even pay schools to accept crumb rubber turf fields as a means to disburse the “tire recycled products” and get them out of landfills. The involvement in state and federal agencies in pushing tire recycling raises the issue of their actual objectivity in reporting crumb rubber turf fields as “safe.”  When you look outside of the recycling industry (including the turf industry as that is what it essentially is) and government, there is considerably less acceptance of crumb rubber. A report from the “Healthy Building Network” recommends avoiding the use crumb rubber tire derived flooring, especially round children. The report is absolutely illuminating and balances the obvious (but shortsighted) need to recycle products against the health risks associated with crumb rubber. Read the report here…. (requires Acrobat Reader)

Turf in the News:

High School Artificial Turf Field Wrecked by 2″ Rainfall (from the Tribune-Review, August 26, 2013)
2inchesrainA torrential rain storm that dumped more than 2″ of rain on an East Huntington, PA high school artificial turf field, caused the field to ripple. “It was just flooded,” Southmoreland football coach Mark Adams said. “When I got  here, I saw the devastation.”  Adams said they’ve moved practices to the  grass field next to the stadium. Officials don’t yet know where games will be played and don’t know when the field will be restored  to playing condition. “They are trying to give us a temporary fix so we can  at least have two or three home games,” Adams said. The turf warranty excludes “acts of God” from coverage.

(Editor’s Note: Everyone who lives in Nyack who has seen our streets flooded and stores on Main Street lined with sandbags, knows that this sort of storm is certain to happen here. It does all the time. When all is said and done, a grass field wouldn’t be harmed by rains, even torrential rains. And, there is not an artificial turf warranty out there that covers “acts of God.”)

August 29, 2013 – On a side note, the city of Calgary taxpayers will have to shoulder the burden of $12 million dollars to replace artificial turf fields damaged in recent storms, when groundwater beneath the turf fields unexpectedly shifted.  Read the story…

Worn Out Artificial Turf Fields and the Reality of Replacement  (from the Chattanoogan, August 28, 2013)

The artificial turf at Finley Stadium has completely worn out in just seven years. “We all agree that it’s time to think about replacing the artificial turf,” said Finley Stadium Board Executive Director Merrill Eckstein. It is just a question of money, he added. The current estimate for replacement of the turf and of the underlying base, plus the cost of installation, is between $700,000 and a million dollars.

turf600David Blackburn, athletic director, said the field has been patched by gluing and stitching. “The field is horrific from a health safety perspective for the athletes.” He told the board that there are places that can be peeled up, there is “cratering” caused by settling and the surface is hard from being compacted. Mr. Patten said bad publicity would come if a player was hurt because of the condition of the field.

(Editors Note: Claims that the fields last 10-15 years is nonsense. The fields start compacting immediately. Rips and tears are repaired, but the integrity of the fields are compromised. The artificial fields always need replacement as the failure to replace the fields would be a hazard to the students and a liability to the District.)

$2,000,000 Artificial Turf Field Torched by Fireworks Display (from InfoChicago, July 9, 2013)

burnt-turfSeems that artificial turf and fireworks (think lightning) don’t mix.  An illegal fireworks display charred a 20-foot patch on the brand new Lincoln Park artificial turf field in Chicago. The extent of the damage remains unknown, according to the Chicago Park District. the artificial turf remained charred, with fireworks and pieces of plastic melted into the field.

A spokeswoman for the Park District said an outside contractor would evaluate the damage. Because of the severity of the damage, “It was something we couldn’t handle in-house,” Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said.  ”The damage looked like it would cost thousands of dollars to repair.”

toxicturfIf you want to help oppose the turf bond, email me at

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