Vote for turf slows process


To the Editor:

We are heartened to know we are not alone. Thank you to the four school committee members who voted no.

Thank you to IGI, Mass Audubon, VCS, M.V. Environmental Educators Alliance, community leaders, coaches, parents, and alumni athletes who expressed their concern about MVRHS’s choice to pursue plastic.

The MVRHS committee received the 93-page Huntress report on Friday, publishing it to the MVRHS website Saturday, for a Monday vote, providing no time for community input regarding this $16.9M project.

The report did not offer a grass option. Wasn’t a side-by-side comparison the whole point?

The report states, “The most common discussion with all user groups was their desire to see a synthetic turf surface at the high school.” Anyone following the three-year debate knows that all user groups do not. If this is intended to be a “community campus,” this assumption is mystifying.

Everyone agrees field conditions need to be addressed immediately. The vote for plastic slows the process. The town of Oak Bluffs and MVC now have to consider the impacts of the controversial surface in addition to the new track location, etc.

The math to justify plastic is manipulated. Huntress’ formula for calculating usage is not reflective of reality. Are the minikickers really going to have a 2.5-hour practice, or impact a field as much as a football game?

Phase One doesn’t fix the remaining fields. Meanwhile, the cost of one plastic infield, $1M-plus, could pay for the full renovation of all the fields.

Shouldn’t this plan be considered in coordination with the $100M-plus MVRHS renovation?

The vote for a plastic field was a vote for climate change denial. There is nothing “green” about a two-acre, greenhouse-gas-emitting, superheated plastic carpet.

We trust that the town of Oak Bluffs and MVC will be more measured, weighing all aspects of this critical decision.


Mollie Doyle, Dardanella Slavin, and Rebekah Thomson
The Field Fund


  1. To quote Mollie, Dardanella & Rebekah: “The vote for a plastic field was a vote for climate change denial. There is nothing “green” about a two-acre, greenhouse-gas-emitting, superheated plastic carpet.” I concur!
    But the terrible environmental impact stated above doesn’t stop there- the plastic blades of grass shed like actual blades, get stuck to shoes and clothing, tracked everywhere beyond the field and washed down the drain from the laundry as micro-plastic pollution. This can only be avoided by the painstaking tedious process of locating/plucking the many tiny plastic blades from your socks, pants, shoes etc, before leaving the field, for which a lint brush is an ineffective tool. I know this from first-hand experience playing Fall softball on one of these plastic pollution athletic fields in NYC. Before you start hating, I grew up year round on the Vineyard, am a graduate of MVRHS (’87), and return to the island frequently to visit year-round family and friends, as well as work on commissioned artwork. Martha’s Vineyard will always be my home no matter where I live. While in high school I ran track and played basketball and football there, so I can tell you that any argument for a plastic field is bogus. There’s zero justifiable need for more more fossil-fuel based, non-biodegradable plastic to replace natural grass, emitting green house gas fumes and spreading micro-plastic pollution. This would be a step backward from the positive impact of banning unnecessary plastic shopping bags. We expect cities (where I fight against this as well) to be a source of excessive pollution, but not Martha’s Vineyard. Don’t do it!

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