Former Jets defensive tackle Marty Lyons presented a proposal to Mayor Alan Beach and the Lynbrook board of trustees on March 5 to build a $1.4 million synthetic-turf field at Greis Park.
Lyons, who rose to fame as part of the Jets’ famous New York Sack Exchange defensive front line in the early 1980s, is now the vice president of marketing and public relations for the LandTek Group, based in Amityville. The group has built turf fields in hundreds of school districts across the state, and is the pitch supplier for the New York City Football Club.
“I thought it was a great presentation, and I think it makes a tremendous amount of sense,” Beach said. “The board is still thinking about it.”
Greis Park has four fields, labeled A through D. The turf field would be installed on fields C and D, in the southern portion of the park, near the basketball court, the Long Island Rail Road tracks and the Lynbrook Fire Department’s training center, where there are now baseball fields.
If approved, the field would take roughly 120 working days to complete, depending on weather and other potential setbacks. The 121,825-square-foot field would be used for football, lacrosse, soccer, softball and baseball. Two brown turf baseball diamonds would be built on the southeast and southwest sides of the field, and there would also be a T-ball field. Construction would include a set of soccer goals and football goal posts, at a price of $13,300. In addition, a four-foot-high chain link fence would be built around the perimeter, and a drainage system would be installed as well.
During his presentation, Lyons said that by using turf, the village would reduce maintenance expenses, because the field would not have to be watered or reseeded. It would also have an eight-year warranty. Reached by phone on Monday, Lyons said that LandTek and the village had been in talks for two years, and this is the closest officials have come to deciding on the project. After several inspections of the existing field, LandTek representatives said they believed conditions were unsafe.
“I think it would be a perfect fit because of the amount of use those fields are getting,” Lyons said of the turf. “With the amount of play those fields are now getting and the condition they’re in, it really becomes unsafe for the athletes to play on.”
Beach said he was considering the idea, but would have to work out the finances. He said that grants could be used, but the project would likely be partially funded by taxpayers.
The turf field would be home to the Lynbrook Little League and the Titans Football Program, among other village sports teams. Beach said that the board would also look into renting the field to other teams to produce revenue. He noted that because so many sports teams use the fields, the grass has been beaten up.
Park Supervisor Pat McDermott said that he and Pat Cardone, of the Lynbrook Titans Program, initially contacted LandTek in the hope of bringing a field to Lynbrook. “I’ve always wanted this, to make it easier on us to develop a field where everybody can use it,” McDermott said. “And there would be no rainouts or anything.”
Beach acknowledged that there have been some concerns voiced about whether turf fields, made from recycled rubber tires, may be carcinogenic or contribute to other health risks, and he said the board would do its research.
In February 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a study to determine the potential health risks of turf fields. According to its website, the collection of samples has been completed, and a peer-reviewed report summarizing the study results is scheduled for release in mid-2018. Lyons said that LandTek was “100 percent behind all of the studies,” but added that, to date, there have been no conclusive reports that attribute health risks to turf fields.
Though the board is still mulling the proposal and has not reached a decision, some trustees have voiced the belief that it would be a good addition to the village, including Deputy Mayor Hilary Becker. “This would be a big step in the right direction for the future of our Recreation Department,” Becker said, “and help us to capitalize on current technologies and modernize our fields.”
In response to a Herald Facebook inquiry, most residents said they would be on board with a turf field, citing the rough conditions of the Greis Park field and noting that a new one would be put to good use. Some, however, said they were concerned about how much it would cost taxpayers.