Buh bye, terrible astro turf.
Buh bye, terrible rubber turf pebbles. From Monday, June 27. ASK

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Chainlink fences went up around Cal Anderson Park's Bobby Morris Playfield hours before Pride festivities kicked off in Capitol Hill last Friday. If you overlooked the City's fluorescent flyers on the fences, Seattle Parks and Recreation officials are replacing the field's turf.

According to Jay Rood, Parks' capital projects coordinator, the astro turf was about 10 years old and was due for an upgrade. The playfield is part of a city pilot project to replace the current pebbly, synthetic turf with a mix of sustainable organic cork, sand, and some new synthetic turf.

Progress as of 2 p.m. on Monday.
Progress as of 2 p.m. on Monday. ASK

The Parks department explained their choice of material in a flyer:

Cork is a sustainable natural material. Cork trees remain alive and continue to produce after the cork is harvested. Cork is durable, resists fungal growth, requires no supplemental irrigation (to remain stable during dry/warm periods), is playable, and has the same maintenance requirements as other turf infill systems. Cork has been used in Europe for several years and is being used in California and Southwest playfields. Cork’s lighter color makes it more reflective than darker infills, thereby lessening field heat.

Aside from removing the tiny black pebbles that inevitably end up in park-goers' shoes, the department will also be testing the new material for "durability, safety, playability, maintainability and environmental health" and making needed repairs. New soccer goals and nets will be installed, too.

9:25 a.m. Tuesday, June 28.
9:25 a.m. Tuesday, June 28. ASK

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Parks and its contractors will be installing a pad similar to the material of a track field underneath the new turf. The padding is intended for increased safety and to prevent concussions if someone is knocked over while playing. So far, there hasn't been any negative community feedback for the project, said Rood.

According to the department, construction is planned for the next six to 10 weeks and the field will be closed while the new turf is installed.

Many of Seattle's parks are going to need new turf fields in the next several years, said Rood. If all goes well with the pilot project, a number of parks including Loyal Heights Playfield, Georgetown Playfield, Magnuson Park Playfields, and Genesee Playfields could get this new cork turf in the next four or five years.