Having grown up in Novato spending many of my weekends on the sports fields throughout the community, I am a strong advocate for youth athletics. Unfortunately, with the budget cuts over the years, the city's Parks, Recreation, and Community Services department has faced some significant reductions.
What if there were a way to improve and expand youth athletics while saving money at the same time? Synthetic turf fields just might be a solution. They directly relate to the focus of long term sustainability, reducing maintenance and ongoing costs, increasing revenue, and ultimately increasing the quality of programs and facilities available to the public. It truly is a win-win.
Why synthetic turf in Novato?
- DECREASED MAINTENANCE COSTS - $50,000/year - Based on less water use & less maintenance, a synthetic field could significantly reduce ongoing costs. Granted, there are still some maintenance costs with synthetic fields, including refill & sanitizing, but with the high schools both having synthetic fields, it is possible to share resources or negotiate better pricing with maintenance vendors.
- INCREASED REVENUE - $35,000/year - Petaluma has had a synthetic turf field for 10 years. It is rented 363 days out of the year. We live in an area with great weather where outdoor sports can be played year-round. Unfortunately, fields have to be closed even after mild rains and are completely closed during the winter months--even on dry, sunny days. However, synthetic turf fields could be utilized year round.
- ONE-TIME WATER REBATE - $60,000 - For this reason, it makes logical sense to replace a current field with turf. If a new field were constructed, you would still have the added revenue, but would lose out on the rebate as well as the decreased maintenance costs. In fact, a new field in a new location could result in increased maintenance.
From a simple cost perspective, a $750,000 field could pay for itself. The turf does need to be replaced every 10-15 years (some manufacturers even say 20). The increase revenue could be put into a restricted fund for turf replacement (as done in Petaluma). The turf replacement would probably be around $300,000, so after 10 years of increased revenue, the funds would be available. Also, the project might even be partially financed by the field manufacturer.
This is a perfect example of a long-term sustainable park/facility that the city should be exploring and encouraging. In the midst of program reductions and facility closures, this project could serve as a huge positive and win for the city. Considering the current use of our fields in Novato, from youth soccer and lacrosse to tournaments and adult recreation, this project would truly touch and impact many residents.
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