Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, February 29, 2008

DeLaSalle AstroTurf - Victory

At the very last moment, and without any warning (to me, at least), DeLaSalle stadium their appeal of the Heritage Preservation Commission's denial of a certificate of appropriateness at this morning's Council meeting. In a timely way this was also the topic of a New York Times Article the same day the Council was voted on this.

I'm pleasantly surprised. A week ago, I thought the Park Board / DeLaSalle contingent had support lined up to grant the appeal: Council Members Johnson, Goodman, and Ostrow were vocally in favor, and Council Members Schiff and Samuels voted for it in Zoning and Planning committee. Only CMs Remington, Hofstede and I were vocally opposed.

In yesterday's Committee of the Whole, the pro- and anti-artificial turf contingents had a long, pointed debate. I prepared for a continuation of that debate this morning. One of the arguments we were prepared to make was that tire crumb, the base of artificial turf, contains phthalates - the very substance we were resolving to keep out of products intended for use by children (more on this later).

Instead, we prevailed without discussion. The Council voted unanimously to deny the appeal (standard procedure when an appeal is withdrawn).

I hope that this will serve as a precedent for denying other certificates of appropriateness for artificial turf. I also hope that the Park Board will rethink its support of this highly dubious, synthetic material in our parks. The same type of field, that includes tons of groud-up used auto tires (tire crumb) was installed at Parade Stadium without a full public discussion and study into the health of using this material. I am now convinced that we need more information about this materials before we use more of it and expose our children to it.

My father, an MD, used to say, "First, do no harm." I think this is sound advice that all of us, not just doctor's, should heed.


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