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Portions of Field Turf 'Melted' or Pulled Out in Vandalism

An inspection report of the Milford High School turf field reveals that portions of the turf melted or were pulled out, apparently from the spinning of tires, in an act of vandalism Sunday.

A project manager who oversaw construction of the artificial turf field at inspected the damage left by vandals Tuesday, and found portions of the turf had been melted or pulled up, presumably by high-speed spinning of tires.

The turf is laid in a series of rolls, like carpet, then attached together. It cannot be repaired through individual patches of damaged areas, wrote Scott Landgren, senior project manager for CDM Smith, in a report to Brian Murray, chairman of the Milford Board of Selectmen.

"There is no easy way to assess a value of damage to the field," Landgren wrote. "The value carpet of the field itself, above the engineered sub-base and drainage system, is approximately $350,000 to $400,000. Aside from completely replacing the entire field surface, there is no way to individually replace the fibers pulled up or repair other damage to the field."

In addition to damaging the field turf, the vandals left damage to or destroyed five sections of field fencing and several areas of natural grass. The vandals drove over the track and the long jump sand pit and cover, damaging that custom aluminum cover. [Editor's note: see attached PDF of damage report]

The manufacturer of the artificial turf, called Field Turf, is expected to inspect the damage on Thursday, Murray said.

reported in the early morning hours Sunday. Police stopped the driver and a passenger in the Jeep Grand Cherokee as they were attempting to flee the area.

Jeffery Vanzile, 29, of 122 Highland St., Milford, will be arraigned Thursday on charges of disturbing the peace, malicious destruction of property more than $250, and disorderly conduct.

Brent Nichols, 28, of 39 Main St., Apt. L, Blackstone, was arrested and charged with trespass, malicious destruction of property more than $250, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. At his arraignment Monday at prosecutors added the charge of operating under the influence of liquor.

The malicious destruction of property charge is a felony.

In lieu of $500 cash bail, Nichols was taken to the Worcester House of Correction, according to court records. If he is released, he is to have a curfew of 8 p.m. daily, must submit to random alcohol and drug screenings, and wear an ankle monitoring bracelet.

Nichols is next scheduled to appear in Milford District Court on July 2 for a pretrial hearing.

Bammit June 07, 2012 at 05:29 PM
The guys who did this need to be worked over. Tortured. Tarred/feathered then boiled in oil. Slowly. I hope the Project Manager was smart enough to have taken out insurance against vandalism. Otherwise, the perps and their family need to be on the hook for this. Perhaps his auto insurance can cover it. Usually, "Damage to someone else's property" is a normal part of Comprehensive coverage. Usually it covers up to $500,000 or so. There is no way the town (taxpayers) should be on the hook for this at ALL. Community Service?! That "punishment" hardly fits the crime.
UglyHat June 07, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I wonder if the fields committee will propose protective measures as well. Heavy-duty gates and posts like on the walking trail might be worth looking into. Private insurance against future damage might also be worth a look. Does anyone know if they have considered other potential hazards, like weather? Are there trees close enough to damage the field in a hurricane? The area seems pretty open but I haven’t been down there in a while. What about the scoreboard and goal posts? Could they damage the field in high wind? What if people climb on the goal posts? What if there’s a fire in the surrounding woods or in the media booth? Can the field handle firefighters and hoses, or soot and ash?
Henry June 07, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I watched the town meeting when this was approved and I do not recall any discussion of the down side of the artificial turf being allowed except for it retaining heat and being hotter to play on than natural grass. The field committee never said high heels, soda or anything else was a threat to the field. The committee never said that, if damaged, "Aside from completely replacing the entire field surface, there is no way to individually replace the fibers pulled up or repair other damage to the field." Playing fields in numerous towns have been vandalized over the years; the field committee should have provided for this in some manner. Erecting posts at certain entry points that are set into the ground and padlocked so they can be removed when necessary would have been a cheap preventive measure. I think self-insured means the taxpayers pay for it. "community service at the high school and face the victims of their stupidity face to face" says one person above. Smarten up. HS students aren't the 'victims' here -- the taxpayers are. Although damaged, is the field useable? Are teams being kept off it now? Must it be repaired? What percentage of the filed is damaged and in what area? Perhaps Patch could post pics of the damage to the artificial turf and not just the damage to the natural grass.
Mary MacDonald June 07, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Hi Henry, I attached the damage report to the article above. No decision has been made as yet as to whether it must be repaired. My question is whether, in its current state, is it safe for kids to use? I will try to get out there tomorrow to take some pics of the field. My access for these photos came from the other side, and a temporary fence was up.
Johnny Turfseed June 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
It doesn't sound believable that there isn't a "patch" solution to the field that doesn't endanger the field users (sports or otherwise). I doubt the town is paying "insurance" for a turf field....that would be prohibitively expensive. Putting it in was a gamble...that will not have paid off. No criticism of the town intended whatsoever. It made sense when done. Now the community must (and will) figure out a solution...of *$#% COURSE it can be fixed!!! It won't be pretty...and it will cost more money...first step is to investigate what other people have done...and get advice from any and all companies that install this stuff...odds are that SOMEONE will be found that is creative and honest. Good advertising for them. As for the defendants...no Judge is going to let them get off "easy"...focus on the solution to fixing the field. And don't waste time with whatever company said it's not repairable. RADICAL IDEA: cut around it and plant grass turf that someone tends to every few days. If you can't cut around it...it's a defective product.

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