The fences were coming down and the feet were stepping onto the new cork-filled turf on Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris field Wednesday.
Seattle Parks had predicted an August 12th completion date for the $1 million project to replace the playfield’s crumb rubber surface with a new experimental cork alternative. Installation began mid-June. Seattle Parks also looked at alternatives involving material like coconut husks, a mineral-like sand, and a synthetic material but ultimately went with the new cork product after visits from several manufacturers who came to Seattle to pitch their creations.
The old turf was installed a decade ago and was overdue for replacement, a parks official told CHS.
Crumb rubber has come under increasing scrutiny over health concerns that the recycled tires used as fill could be contaminating the fields. Three federal agencies are now studying whether the crumb rubber fields are exposing people to dangerous chemicals. If the new turf proves successful, the pilot program will be extended to artificial turf fields across the city, parks officials say.
— 8i// (@billmerrill) August 3, 2016