The Fly integral to Uptown beauty, recreation

The Audubon Commission plans to build a new sports complex with an artificial turf field and parking lots that would take over a 2.5 acre field that looks over the Mississippi River, in an area nicknamed The Fly.

The Fly, formally known as The Riverview, has traditionally been a public, inclusive place where families, students and locals alike can plays sports, lounge and watch the tugboats pass. With the new development, only paid members would have access to the complex.

This would completely privatize a traditionally public space, excluding the average Fly-goer from the amenities.

Audubon Park and a portion of The Fly’s area would still be open to the general public, by excluding a sect of the area, it further divides two distinct groups — those that can pay and those who cannot or choose not to.

The Fly and Audubon Park remain one of the few environmentally salvaged areas in a city with fewer and fewer outdoor amenities. As well, to replace a naturally grassy area with a turf field brings along health concerns.

Studies have found a relationship between turf fields and cancer. Crumb rubber, which makes up the padding for synthetic turf fields, is made out of used tires, which often contain toxic chemicals. In a study conducted by Yale University, 96 chemicals were found in 14 samples analyzed. Half of the chemicals found had no government testing, so the study had no idea if the chemicals were harmful or not. The other half of the chemicals found were linked to toxicity in aquatic life, asthma-causing irritants, skin, eye and lung irritants, and toxicity to liver and kidneys, among other harmful effects.

For the Audubon Commission to develop a structure over a natural grassy haven designed for the average person would be irresponsible, dangerous and restrictive. The citizens of the area should take a stand and save The Fly.

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