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The Press Enterprise
A popular Murrieta sports park is in store for a synthetic makeover.
With the Murrieta City Council's approval this week of a $959,000 contract, the city is preparing to replace grass with artificial turf on two youth fields at Los Alamos Hills Sports Park.
Assistant City Manager Jim Holston said the construction project will target the middle of three football fields and the center soccer field on the park's north side. He said construction will begin around the first of April and wrap up by July.
Holston said the city is pursuing the project in part to save money on maintenance.
The city anticipates saving $10,000 per field per year through not having to turn on sprinklers and an additional $5,400 because it won't need to mow grass, he said. Then there's the elimination of the $13,500 annual cost, per field, of refurbishing torn-up grass following a season's worth of pounding from cleats.
Perhaps the most important benefit, Holston said, will be a reduction in down time.
He said the city routinely closes natural fields 60 to 90 days each year to replant grass in places scraped bare. And on Wednesday, Feb. 5, barricades were set up on the football fields to keep people off thick, lush new grass.
"The real advantage of the synthetic turf is that it is there all the time," Holston said. "You don't have to shut it down."
That's huge in community of 100,000-plus that caters to many youth leagues and a growing number of club teams, he said.
"There is demand for it year-round."
Casey Barrs, of Murrieta, who was spending time at the park with his children Wednesday, said he thought changing out fields for synthetic turf was a good idea.
"You don't have to water it. You don't have to have someone out here cutting it," Barrs said.
Barrs helps coach a youth football team called the Murrieta Rams, which plays games on synthetic turf at Murrieta Mesa High School. He said players tend to get better traction on the rubber turf because they don't have to contend with the bare patches on grass.
And with turf these days much improved from the earliest artificial surfaces, he said players are less likely to get hurt.
"It's not hard," Barrs said. "It's kind of got a bounce to it."
His 12-year-old son, Kyon, plays defensive tackle for the Rams.
Asked which surface he prefers playing on, Kyon said, "It depends on what kind of day it is."
On boiling summer days, synthetic turf can be a little hot on the feet, Kyon said.
As for the construction project, it is going to be handled by Atlanta-based Sprinturf LLC, which submitted the lowest of nine bids at $959,000, according to a city staff report. Bids ranged as high as $1.4 million.
The report says the fields will carry an eight-year warranty.
Contact David Downey at 951-368-9699 or [email protected]