San Francisco Votes to Light Up a Park

     (CN) – San Francisco voters on Tuesday chose to install artificial turf and lighting for the first time at Golden Gate Park’s Beach Chalet Athletic Fields, according to unofficial results.
     Voters opted for more play time for children and families, rejecting concerns from neighborhood groups and the Sierra Club that natural grass is better for kids’ health and the environment.
     Voters backed Proposition I, endorsed by most of the city’s Board of Supervisors, who called San Francisco parks are unsafe and underused. Supervisors said that artificial turf and lights until 10 p.m. would give children and families a year-round access to a safe place for exercise.
     The measure passed by nearly a 10 percent margin, with nearly 85,000 votes, according to preliminary.
     Proposition I, which applies to all of the city’s parks, will have immediate implications for the fields at the Beach Chalet, where plans for turf and lights already have been made.
     Under the new law, if the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department determines that a proposed improvement project would double the public’s use of an athletic field, trail or playground, the city would be required to perform the renovations, as long as it completes an environmental impact report.
     The competing Proposition H, the other measure affecting the 7-acre site behind the Beach Chalet, drew roughly 45 percent of the votes, according to unofficial city figures.
     Had H passed, the city would have had to keep natural grass and ban artificial lights at the Beach Chalet fields and at the Polo Fields, also at the park’s west end.
     The Sierra Club and a coalition of neighborhood groups claimed that artificial turf would consist of ground-up tires and plastic that emit noxious fumes. Prop. H supporters also said that the master plan for Golden Gate Park requires that the western end remain in a natural state and that strong lights there would disturb migratory birds.

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