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Playing fields are straining under the weight of so much use

Football practice is held on the Charlestown High School turf field with the Tobin Bridge in the background.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The article “Safety risk as artificial turf fields wear out” (Page A1, Sept. 25) painted advocacy in Charlestown as the efforts of one woman speaking truth to power. I agree that we should be putting pressure on our officials to ensure the safety of our children, but the article misses the nuance of community involvement at large.

The challenge facing our youth programs is accessibility. We simply do not have enough space. The little space we have needs to withstand the sheer amount of play being asked of it. The best practice for natural fields is to limit play time to less than 24 hours a week. Last spring, with youth sports alone, the synthetic turf had nearly 40 hours a week in play time, with teams packed in 100 kids at a time.


This summer’s drought left our grass field essentially unplayable, yet we run our programs as we must, risking injury there as well.

There has been a community process with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department addressing the future of the open space in our community. The activists who are critical of the turf field know this, since they have been in these meetings. I applaud their efforts for the short-term fixes, but they are fully aware of the timeline for the replacement of the field.

Tim McKenna


The writer is a member of the board of the Charlestown Youth Soccer Association. The views expressed here are his own.