Mt. Lebanon will have experts talk turf with residents

Published May 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm (Updated May 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm)

The Mt. Lebanon commission plans to bring independent experts to speak on potential health issues related to artificial turf. Commissioners discussed bringing Dr. Andrew McNitt, a field surfaces researcher from Penn State University, and a toxicologist, to discuss artificial turf in detail with concerned residents.

The extra diligence won’t come free, however.

Municipal engineer Dan Deiseroth projected additional public outreach efforts would add about $11,000 to the project budget.

“The original million dollar budget included soft costs and contingencies,” he explained. “We included about $90,000 in that budget. That has now increased to about $101,000, and we will continue to monitor that going forward.”

Municipal manager Steve Feller said this did not necessarily mean the project would be $11,000 more expensive. Certain other soft cost items are already expected to come in lower than originally estimated.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve had this where there is a desire to do additional studies, get additional information, do informational meetings. It is more than you would usually do designing a turf field,” Feller said.

Commissioner Kelly Fraasch then proposed that all Turf Task Force meetings be open to the public. She said other municipal task forces, such as the one handling a possible pay-as-you-throw trash program, were open for any member of the public to attend. Yet, some residents said they had been turned away from task force meetings related to the turf project.

In response, commissioner Dave Brumfield seemed to waver. He said he would like to hear from commissioner John Bendel, who was absent from the meeting, before offering a final opinion.

“I don’t have a problem with those meetings being public,” Brumfield said, “but they are not required to be public. I would want to hear what John has to say.”

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