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Rec Center Mulls Options After Turf Is Stolen

Andy Berg

A considerable amount of AstroTurf was recently stolen from a recreation center in Alaska, leaving the facility with unanswered questions and a budgetary dilemma.

Staff at the Big Lake Lions Recreation Center in Big Lake, Alaska, had just taken two large rolls of AstroTurf out of winter storage only to find that chunks of turf had been sheared from the rolls.

“I’m guessing it’s on someone’s porch. They were too cheap to go buy a piece of AstroTurf,” Big Lake operations manager Bill Haller told the Anchorage CBS affiliate.

The stolen turf was discovered as baseball players from Redington and Houston unfurled the field, which Haller noted is no easy task.  

“They weigh about 1,800 pounds each,” Haller said, adding that the recreation center inherited the turf when the Alaska Wild indoor football team folded in 2010.

“When they went defunct, we were able to buy this turf fairly inexpensively and we were able to cut it to fit into our hockey rink,” Haller explained.

Haller couldn’t be sure exactly how much turf was stolen, but he said it would be expensive to replace.

“If we have to replace a whole roll, they’re $10,000 to $12,000 each,” he said.

While the field should be playable, Redington’s baseball coach said he still has some concerns

“It will actually create a safety issue,” said Redington head coach Peter Kanz. “Now we have uncovered concrete floors and a hard baseball, and when those two collide you’re going to have a baseball bouncing potentially into players, creating another cause for injury.”

Having already invested thousands of dollars in repairs to the recreation center after an earthquake in November, Haller aid the stolen turf is a big hit. 

“This facility is here so the kids have a place to go and do things. And for someone to come and steal something like that, it just takes away from the opportunity for kids,” he said.

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