City Council members unanimously approved $3.2 million in funding last week to kick off planning for athletic synthetic turf fields that will in the long term save the city money on maintenance costs.
With the council’s approval Monday, existing grass sporting fields at Sea Cloud and Port Royal parks will be converted from grass to a synthetic turf surface.
Construction planning includes converting existing grass soccer and baseball fields at Sea Cloud to turf to join an adjoining synthectic field already at the park. Port Royal’s grass soccer field will also be converted and accompanied by a walking track.
Foster City installed two synthetic turf fields in 2009, one of them at Sea Cloud, saving water maintenance costs while increasing playing time.
“We think they’re good, safe surfaces,” Foster City Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Miller said.
Last year, Foster City saved 2 million gallons of water total from synthetic turf fields that were installed at Sea Cloud and Catamaran parks in 2009, he said.
In addition to its water consumption, Foster City also reduced its field maintenance staff by about one person last year — saving the city at least $75,000, Foster City Financial Services Director Steve Toler said.
Under the council’s ruling, the Sea Cloud project will take $1,536,700 from Redevelopment Agency funds, Toler said.
For the Port Royal project, $1,651,700 will be appropriated from park-in-lieu developer fees.
With the anticipated maintenance savings of both projects, Toler expects the turf fields to pay for themselves in about 10 or 11 years.
The American Youth Soccer Organization, the Peninsula Youth Soccer Club and Little League Baseball are all expected to contribute to the project. AYSO and PYSC have proposed a combined pledge of about $400,000 for the projects, Toler said.
Foster City hopes to kick off construction in February 2012, Miller said. Completion of both park projects is scheduled for September 2012.
The projected life of a turf field is about 15 years and will allow for longer playing time over its lifespan, said Toler.
“Rain or shine,” Toler said, “we’re out there.”