Town debates turf for Cypress


Above is the plan for the layout of the field. No decision has been made yet.

Josh Fleishman, Sports Editor

Cypress field: the hub for various sports teams and the only green space within an eye-shot of the high school. Not only is “the field” a spot for sport team practices, it is a place for students to eat lunch and for Brookline residents to walk their dogs.

The apparent wear-and-tear from community activities have spurred an ongoing, town-wide conversation about redoing the field. Recently, the Parks and Recreation Department has narrowed down the decision:  a soil-based natural grass field, a sand-based natural grass field or a synthetic turf field.  

Currently, Cypress field is natural grass. Many sports teams, such as the freshman soccer teams, use the field for daily practices and games. However, the uneven, spotty-grass field has effects on  athletes who use the field.

According to Brookline parent Mark Giglietti the unevenness of the grass makes the field too dangerous to play on. Giglietti plays in a men’s soccer league which meets at Cypress, as well as at Skyline Park, a turf field in South Brookline.

“The same group of guys play at Cypress on Tuesday nights and I won’t even go to that game because I think for me, as an older athlete, that there’s so much unevenness at Cypress that I feel like I’m going to twist my ankle,” Giglietti said.

Antonio Quintero, the current boys junior varsity soccer coach, has experienced multiple seasons on Cypress Field. Quintero said that he acknowledges the downsides to a turf field but said that the athletic-based benefits overrule these concerns.  

“I can see the side where grass might look better or have a nice appeal. It feels good if you live right across the street and want to walk your dog. I understand that, but just to serve the overall community, the synthetic surface just makes a lot more sense,” Quintero said.

Tobin Getsdad, a junior and former player of Quintero’s, thinks that the current field is an inconvenience to many athletes.

“Most high schools have nice fields in front of their school and I think we really need that,” said Getsdad. “It’s really bad to have to commute so much to play on nice fields.”

Despite the athletic benefits that would come with the change in field surface, the initial cost of the turf would be $1.96 million, while it is only $500 thousand for soil-based grass fields and $1.05 million for  sand-based grass fields.

Synthetic turf fields have also been associated with health related issues, but in this case, the concerns are not relevant. The town would implement an organic infill in place of crumb rubber, used on fields such as Skyline.

The maintenance for the three different fields vary greatly.  Over ten years, the annual cost for maintaining a turf field would be $18,000, sand-based $70,00 and soil-based $50,000.

Parks and Open Space Director Erin Gallentine said the town has the ability to build all three types of fields, but the ultimate decision will be made by the seven-member Parks and Recreation Commission. Still, there are three public scoping sessions for residents to discuss the renovation.  

“We are listening to the public about all the pros and cons,” said Gallentine. “Ultimately the Parks and Rec Commission will take a vote on the scope and budget that they’ll submit as part of the town’s capital improvement.”

The next public scoping session will be on December 12.