LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The city will spend $3.3 million to replace artificial turf on several sports fields over the next year, starting with two fields at the Kellogg Zaher Sports Complex on Washington Avenue and Buffalo Drive.
This is part of a longer term project to replace fields that are showing their age. The fields that will be filled in first are:
- Fields 6 and 7 at Kellog Zaher
- Fields 1 and 2 at Ed Fountain Park on Decatur Boulevard at Vegas Drive
- Stupak Park, a small park at 300 W. Boston Ave. which has no grass at all.
A contract awarded to Sprinturf LLC on Wednesday drew protests, but the city council approved the offer, which is well below the projected cost of $4 million. The city expects to spend millions more over the next few years, and the use of artificial turf continues to grow.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore was the only one to vote against the approval, saying she was not comfortable approving the offer without hearing more about complaints about the Sprinturf offer. A competitor challenged Sprinturf’s license to qualify for the project, but city officials were assured the bid was in good standing. Another speaker asked if Sprinturf uses local labor.
Urgent need, says mayor
“We have to do them and do them soon,” Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman said. She described the condition of some fields as “appalling”.
“This issue on our territory,” Goodman said. “I’ve gotten so many calls to the mayor’s office over the past two years about ‘We need a replacement, my son has fallen.’ And you watch the exposure of children who can be hurt if we don’t.
Sprinturf has replaced 19 pitches in Las Vegas since 2014, city officials said.
Fiore also asked if there was anything that could be done to reduce the heat in the fields.
“This fake grass gets really, really hot when you put your foot on it – barefoot. Is there a new…like, is there something a little cooler?” she asked .
A cooler alternative
Steve Ford, director of parks and recreation, said the city participated in a test of a new “filler” product at Baker Park on St. Louis Avenue, just west of Maryland Parkway. In most existing fields, crumbled rubber is used to help make the surface of sports fields softer and more like natural grass fields.
The new product uses an alternative called “Eco-therm” which appears to be cooler than the crumb rubber used in most areas, according to city officials. Eco-therm requires more maintenance than crumbled rubber turf, and the city is still evaluating the product.
“Field temperature tests with IR thermometers would appear to show the fields to be colder,” according to spokesman Jace Radke. “Anecdotally, groups of users on these courts have reported that they seem cooler to train and play.”
It’s more expensive, too, and not currently in the city’s plans. For now, they see how it goes in Baker Park.
“We only have three years into an assumed 8-10 year life cycle on these two fields, so we won’t be able to fully determine the cost/benefit ratio until they approach replacement time. “said Radke.