The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) agreed in July to drop the use of crumb rubber for the construction of a planned soccer field #7 at Nike Park (next to Forestville School). Their decision followed the adoption of a June 28 resolution by the GFCA Executive Board stating that GFCA:
- has been and continues to be opposed to the construction of playing fields utilizing tire crumb rubber, due to continued questions of safety posing risk to players, spectators, storm water, and well water;
- calls for a countywide ban on use of crumb rubber on fields and transitioning away from fields built with hazardous materials;
- asks for the County to establish a citizens task force to study the safety and characteristics (lifecycle cost, durability, warranty validity, and functionality) of alternative playing field surfaces including both artificial and natural grass materials; and
- supports proceeding without further delay with the construction of Nike 7 – due to the needs of the soccer sports league – by selecting an alternative surface that does not include tire crumb rubber .
In response to the GFCA position, Supervisor John Foust replied to GFCA within days, letting us know that he had requested that FCPA not use crumb rubber on Nike 7 and instead should select an “appropriate artificial or grass alternative as soon as possible.”
GFCA is disappointed that FCPA did not invite public discussion of this field last fall when it initially agreed to build an artificial field with the soccer association. A more thorough examination of alternatives for safe playing field construction, such as natural grass, is warranted and overdue. GFCA plans to press the County to establish an independent and objective process to evaluate playing field surfaces and work to ban crumb rubber on other Fairfax County and Northern Virginia fields, on which our children play when competing.