Zick is still holding steadfast to putting artificial turf on the two soccer fields for $457,601 but is being directed by the council to look into natural grass costs as well as an assessment of annul maintenance expense.
“I have already presented costs to the council of approximately $440,000 for natural grass on the two soccer fields and $70,000 a year in maintenance costs including watering, but I want to an exact number to present to the council,” said Zick.
Russellville received $1.5 million from the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet in 2007 to build the new park. The funds were taken from a multi-million dollar settlement between the state who sued Rockwell International Corp., a long-serving industry in Russellville who released Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment.
In the beginning of the project, it was planned the park’s two soccer fields and the one softball field would be artificially turfed; however, after the costs came in council members bulked at a turf bid.
Councilman Lanny McPherson, who is co-owner of Rolling Hills golf course, lobbied for putting down sand-based Bermuda grass but later found out it would not be beneficial due its wide scope of variations and maintenance costs.
Natural grass sod is a possibility the council wishes to investigate more thoroughly; however, Zick feels the cost would be just as elevated as sand-based Bermuda as far as maintenance costs go.
“From what I have found out thus far it would cost approximately $5,000 annually to maintain artificial turf and $70,000 for natural grass. That doesn’t even include hiring additional employees to maintain the natural grass as well as equipment costs such as mowers,” said Zick.
“I’ve been told by nearly everyone I have spoken with about this that the city would be foolish not to go with turf,” said Zick.
Zick now says that winter has set in it is going to take longer to finish the park. “I have already lost three months of working on the park because of weather and now it it going to be even longer. I wanted the soccer fields to be ready by September of this year,” said a disappointed Zick.
The city council is worried about the burden artificial turf could have on the taxpayers in the future. Councilman McPherson said in a previous meeting he was concerned about where the money would come from when the turf needed to be replaced.
McPherson stated if the city could afford the turf then move forward but the council needed to make sure they could afford it and finish the park.
There are a great deal of additional items such as bleachers, score boards, backstops, bridges, trails and a skateboard park that are part of the plans but have no funding assigned.
Zick is depending on donations to complete the items where councilman McPherson doesn’t want to worry about trying to obtain them but instead include them in the park budget.