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Activists, Developers And Parents Go To Court In Golden Gate Park Turf War

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Beach Chalet athletic fields at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. (CBS)

Beach Chalet athletic fields at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. (CBS)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The battle over what should be done to the Beach Chalet soccer fields in Golden Gate Park was fought in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday.

The courtroom was packed with some San Franciscans who said the city needs better soccer fields, but others who said they like the folksy feel of the existing fields with its real grass, no lights or bleachers. In short, it’s a no frills kinds of atmosphere.

The hearing focused mostly on the artificial turf and whether it contains toxins that warrant more environmental review. The eventual ruling will determine if the current plan can move forward or be sent back for more environmental review.

Katherine Howard is one of the neighborhood activists challenging that EIR.

“I’d like to see it remain as Golden Gate Park was designed, which is during the day you have recreation that takes place in a natural setting, but when those people are not there playing, then it is a park and then everyone can enjoy it,” she said.

Patrick Hannan, communications director with City Fields Foundation, which is funding the project, said a new soccer field will make San Francisco more family friendly.

“Beach Chalet fields are the final major recreation facility that could provide a dramatic increase, an increase of 12,000 hours of play and triple the amount of play that kids and adults could use these fields,” Hannan said.

Opponents argue that they want to see real grass in the new field so that it can be enjoyed by the general public when it’s not being used for soccer.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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