Minimal maintenance, year-round use for multiple sports and reduced risk of injury are among the benefits cited by those lobbying for synthetic turf at Adams Field in the Ken-Ton School District.
"I think it would be great for the community," said Guy "Rocky" Palmiero, a longtime youth football coach who's behind the proposal that surfaced at last month's School Board meeting. Palmiero said Friday that he has approximately 300 signatures in support of the proposal, which is in its infancy.
Noting the artificial turf fields at nearby schools -- including private institutions -- Palmiero said, "We're always competing for students." The district has to compete not only academically, but athletically, he added.
Palmiero suggested that a turf field could be used by both high schools for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.
Reconstruction of athletic fields at Kenmore East and Kenmore West -- including drainage improvements and new sprinkler systems -- was part of a still-unfinished project that began in 2008.
Ken-Ton resident Jerry Boyes stepped forward at the School Board's Dec. 14 meeting to voice his support for the turf proposal. He's the head football coach and athletic director at Buffalo State College, which installed a turf field a few years ago.
Boyes said: "It provides a perfect playing surface, regardless of the weather, thus providing a safe playing surface."
The current state reimbursement rate to Ken-Ton is 84.8 percent.
The Orchard Park School District installed a turf field in 2008. State aid paid for 70 percent of the $1.76 million project, according to Lori Allan, a spokeswoman for the Orchard Park district. That left $528,000 to be raised by the community.
"I don't know that we really need to raise that kind of money," Palmiero said about the Orchard Park effort. "You present this to the taxpayers, I think they would be willing to see the advantages of this for their kids, grandchildren."