The underlay provides padding and allows water to drain. A non-woven geotextile on one side inhibits weed growth. Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Work began on Aug. 18, and already large sections of a new artificial turf field are being unrolled in Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn.
Last week the old artificial turf was stripped from the field, and over the weekend, workers laid down rolls of fresh underlay and new synthetic turf.
The former turf had been worn out by the thousands of soccer, football and T-ball games, protest marches and rallies which have taken place on the synthetic field since its installation in 2007.
This first round of artificial turf had itself replaced what was locally known as the “dust bowl,” a hard-scrabble dusty lot at the south end of the park, which turned into a mud hole after every rain. The field was further degraded by its use as a parking lot by scores of TV news trucks whenever a big case was being held in the court house across the street.
Black infill crumb pellets made of shredded tires, long suspected to contain known carcinogens, have been spilling from the artificial turf for years, sticking to the clothing, hands and hair of anyone playing there.
In recent years, the city’s Parks Department has gravitated to newer infill materials — typically sand coated in silicon — Davey Ives, chief of staff for the Parks Department’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner’s Office, said at a Community Board 2 meeting in October 2022.
On Saturday, dozens of large sacks of this “synfill” were stacked around the edges of the park.
Replacing the turf has long been a priority of the Cadman Park Conservancy, park-goers and the Brooklyn Heights Association. Councilmember Lincoln Restler’s office allocated $750,000 for the turf replacement, which could take two to three months to complete, BHA said in an email in early August.
In addition to the turf replacement, the shaded oval section at the north end of the park is currently undergoing a major, $6.4 million upgrade that includes a new lawn, new paths, replaced plumbing for water and drinking fountains, new planting and lighting. This job was expected to take a year.
Parks also plans to develop a new cafe to be built inside an existing former Parks maintenance building along Cadman Plaza West and Tillary Street.