OCEANSIDE — As requests for more athletic fields continue to stack, Oceanside City Council wants to know how much installing these fields with synthetic turf would cost.
At council’s Dec. 4 meeting, Deputy Mayor Jack Feller and Councilman Chris Rodriguez requested staff prepare a plan within 90 days that includes estimated costs, timelines, funding options and retrofit feasibility for spaces already in use for multipurpose synthetic fields.
“We’ve had many, many requests for more fields, for more access to fields,” Feller said.
Over the past year, coaches and board members of the Warriors Athletic Association have approached council on several occasions asking for more space for its football players to practice. According to Zach Barrington, marketing coordinator for the Warriors, so far nothing has changed for the team.
“We need more fields,” Barrington told council. “We don’t have enough space.”
Barrington said Warriors football has grown a lot in the last few years, and the association anticipates it growing even more after the 11u Warriors team took the 2019 San Diego Youth Football & Cheer Super Q-Bowl championship. The team is also becoming a year-round sport by incorporating rugby in the winter months, moving to spring football and into flag football for the summer before the fall season returns.
Despite the Warriors’ growth, Barrington is worried about some parents threatening to leave Oceanside and move to a nearby town that has the right amount of field space.
Synthetic turf works just fine for Barrington, but he would also be happy to see grass fields as well. Ultimately, he said he just wants space and plenty of lighting on the fields to ensure practices can extend into the evening during the winter months.
Another sport that has grown in popularity in Oceanside is rugby. According to Josh Williams, the director of coaching for Tri-City Thunder Rugby, the organization has grown more than 200% over the last five years.
Tri-City Thunder Rugby is an all-volunteer youth rugby organization that serves boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 18 in North County. Because of its growth, the organization is struggling to find fields where it can practice.
Williams asked council for all-weather fields that are lit and accessible to the team between November and March when rugby is in season.
Several residents voiced concerns about synthetic turf, noting harmful chemicals and carcinogens can be found in the material. Synthetic turf is often cushioned with crumb rubber, which is recycled rubber made from tires.
Earlier this year, Carlsbad postponed the replacement of two older multipurpose synthetic fields with new synthetic turf at its Stagecoach Community Park. Council later approved the replacement project in July.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez was the only council member who voted against the request. She noted that synthetic turf is not recognized in the recently updated
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son