When the Charlestown High turf field was put down in 2007, it was the highlight of the region when it came to youth sports and high school sports.
But that was 2007, more than a decade ago, and now the turf field is in dire need of major repairs as holes and cracks in the carpeting cause injuries, and the rubber pellets become more of a play thing for kids than a protection.
That said, the Parks Department said this month there isn’t any plan right now to replace the field – despite such fields having a life of only about 10 years.
Ryan Woods, a spokesman for the Parks Department, said they are inspecting the field now to see what can be done, but at the moment there is no plan in the capital budget for replacement.
“The artificial turf field at Charlestown High was installed in 2007, and the average life span is 10-12 years on average,” he said in an e-mail. “We are inspecting the field to see what can be fixed until a field renovation is funded in an upcoming capital budget.”
Allen Reitz of Charlestown Youth Soccer said they have concerns about the safety of players on the field now, and a long wait for funding just doesn’t seem feasible.
“You see everything from the kids making piles of those rubberized pellets – which we track into the house all the time – to more serious safety issues,” he said. “The holes being dug out are a huge concern because of injuries to feet and knees. There has been pain in knees from the players because the turf is gone away. It is a huge concern. The biggest thing is that everyone in Charlestown uses that field during the year. It’s been great. When they turfed it, it was one of the only turf fields we had in our entire league. Everyone who came in from outside the City was really impressed. It’s gotten great use, but it needs some help now. It’s gotten really worn down.”
Reed Catlin, executive director of the Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center, has said on numerous occasions that the turf field needs some TLC immediately.
Most recently, he has brought up the issue at the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC), and they are keeping that as an agenda item to follow up on.
Meanwhile, the field is in an odd situation because apparently it is owned by the Boston Public Schools via Charlestown High (which has priority use of it), but is permitted by the Boston Parks Department. With both departments involved, some have said that there is a bit of red tape between the two that has slowed down regular maintenance and replacement.
In response, Reitz said they are looking at the Oilies – officially known as Barry Field – on Medford Street. He said they are looking at plans to use the Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to help get turf down on the Oilies. He said they are working with elected officials and have learned that the CPA money can only be used for preparation of the field. CPA monies cannot be used for the actual turf, which is something he hopes they can raise money or get City money to help with.