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Lynbrook officials considering synthetic field for Greis Park

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Village officials are weighing whether to install synthetic turf on two playing fields in Greis Park, in the heart of the village.

Mayor Alan Beach said that officials were scheduled to meet with representatives of Amityville-based LandTek Group on Friday to discuss a turf field. LandTek is on the state bid list to install the field, which expires at the end of September. Beach said he would prefer to reach an agreement over the field soon because the price might increase if the village does not.

The cost of the project is now less than $1 million, the mayor said, but he did not specify exactly how much less if it were approved by village officials.

Former Jets defensive tackle Marty Lyons, LandTek’s vice president of marketing, began talks with village officials in 2016. He made a presentation before the board in March 2018, but talks stalled after that.

Lyons told the Herald that the project would have cost $1.4 million last year.

Synthetic turf “would be a perfect fit because of the amount of use those field are getting,” Lyons said at the time. “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.”

Greis Park has four fields, A through D. The turf would be installed on field C and D, in the southern part of the park, near the basketball court, Long Island Rail Road tracks and the Lynbrook Fire Department training center. The project would take roughly 120 working days, depending on weather and other potential setbacks.

The 121,825-square-foot field would be used for football, lacrosse, soccer, softball and baseball. They would be home to the Lynbrook Little League and Titans Football Program, among other village sports teams. A drainage system would also be installed. Village officials said they also planned to meet with an engineer to see if an underground cable, about four feet beneath the center of the field, would cause problems with construction and drainage.

Previous talks between Lynbrook officials and the LandTek Group stalled because village officials said they wanted to draft a master plan for the park before moving ahead with the field. Last September, officials voted unanimously to select Colorado-based GreenPlay LLC to undertake a nine-month-long, $60,000 effort to develop a master plan. The firm is gathering residents’ input through online and mail-in surveys.

Development of the plan is now winding down. It covers the existing park, recreational facilities, programs and services, village officials said, adding that it prioritizes the need to upgrade park facilities. Artificial turf might be included in it, officials said.

The seven-acre Greis Park, on Wilbur Street, has athletic field, trails, picnic areas and playgrounds. Officials and residents have for some time said it needed to be upgraded. In addition to housing the village pool, many of the community’s recreation programs and youth leagues, the park is the site of Patriots’ Day, on Memorial Day eve, among many other events. At the Aug. 19 village board meeting, officials said that if a turf field were approved, the annual Patriots’ Day fireworks show would likely have to be canceled because the field could catch fire.

In the past, many residents have voiced concern about whether turf fields, made of recycled rubber tires, could cause cancer or pose other health risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a study to determine the potential health risks of the field. 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 problems to turf fields. Residents have also expressed concern over how much installation of the field would cost taxpayers.

At the Aug. 19 meeting, village officials unanimously voted to consult with an engineer and negotiate with the LandTek Group, but a final plan is not yet set. “Why don’t we move forward?” Beach said. “Provided we get an engineer to evaluate the area, I’m good with moving ahead.”