Artificial system

Artificial turf in Ocean City raises concerns in $11m fundraising package

OCEAN CITY, NJ — The Ocean City Council has approved a nearly $11 million bond ordinance that would earmark funds for various improvements throughout the city.

Most of the funding is for improving beachfront areas, dredging, rebuilding promenade areas and improving public buildings and facilities. Read more: Nearly $11 million for various Ocean City upgrades

Among the improvements was the installation of artificial turf on Tennessee Avenue, which some residents disagreed with. Supporters praised it for being better for athletes, while others worried about its potential impacts.

Donna Moore, an environmental activist, has expressed concern about the chemicals used in turf and its impact on people and the environment.

“It’s great that maybe it helps players play a better game,” Moore said. “But what did people do before plastic surfaces? You know, they played with what they had.”

Rick Bernardini, chairman of the Environmental Commission, called for a referendum for the public to determine their beliefs on the turf. He expressed his concerns about microplastics and the impact on wetlands.

Others came out in favor of turf.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Kevin Smith, head football coach at Ocean City High School.

Lesley Graham, women’s lacrosse coach at Ocean City, said her players prefer to play on grass.

Councilor Bob Barr said while he respects everyone’s opinions, he has done some of his own research and talked to people, and found people are in favor of the turf.

“At the end of the day, the different people who are going to use these fields for the activities and participate in them want these things,” Barr said.

Other council members agreed that the turf would benefit Ocean City and most people wanted it. The resolution was adopted unanimously.