No to artificial turf at Darden Towe!!! We do not want an economic engine at Darden Towe. Did you think about the neighborhood and the people who have lived here and paid taxes here for many years? We moved here to get away from the Crowds and traffic of urban life. This is Not Richmond or DC. We've lived here for 35 years and have seen way too much development in the Pantops area.

I have several concerns about the use of artificial turf for soccer fields. It seems like the perfect solution, but the story of artificial turf is not as simple as it sounds. We get so much more from grass than just a splash of color. There are several problems with artificial turf that need consideration for its use, including:

• Artificial turf is a Plastic Rug which looks perfect - at first. It’s essentially an outdoor carpet that is designed to look like a natural plant material. Typically, polyethylene, polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or a hybrid of these different materials is used to make the “blades” of grass. The blades sit on layers developed through primary and secondary padding material, which receives an acrylic coating before being coated by other chemicals, such as polyurethane or latex. • Just like any other rug, it will collect bits and pieces of pet and bird droppings and liquids from humans. It will need raking to fluff up, straightening the fibers, and hosing it down with water. The Turf Council suggests the installation of a manual or automatic irrigation system with artificial turf to improve field sanitation and to make it more comfortable for players in warmer climates. • This requires additional water use for irrigation at a time when water conservation is needed. We don’t know what the future holds for rainfall rates needed to replenish water supplies. Soccer field irrigation would require additional drawdown of water resources. • Eventually, artificial turf needs to be replaced. Some manufacturers claim a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, while industry observers estimate closer to eight years. • Artificial turf is hard, and will hurt if you fall while playing sports. Unlike grass, artificial and will hurt if you fall while playing sports. Unlike grass, artificial turf doesn’t have a cushion underneath it. Even with a sand base, turf can be hard because it becomes compacted without roots and added moisture. • Artificial turf is expensive. Installation costs can range from $5 to $20 a square foot. Grass fields are less expensive for improvement and development. • Artificial turf can get very hot. Surface temperatures of artificial grass are about 20-50° F higher than natural grass and typically reach the same temperature as asphalt pavement. It is not a healthy environment for youth soccer players. • Artificial turf is not Environmentally Friendly. It’s made of plastic and difficult to recycle and reuse. When components break down, it’s possible for the chemicals or plastic materials to escape into the environment. Instead of increasing the life of soil, it compacts soil and creates an inhabitable environment for the living organisms in soil, rendering it unable to grow plant materials. • Artificial turf is not an investment in a lively, beneficial landscape that keeps our climate cool, provides a natural habitat for wildlife, and gives back to the environment that sustains us. Plant materials provide so much more than just aesthetic value. They help improve water and air quality, reduce temperatures, reduce storm water runoff, and provide habitats for animals, insects, bees, and birds.