Aspen considers request for synthetic turf at Iselin Field
September 29, 2010
ASPEN – Aspen Parks and Recreation Department officials Tuesday night laid out a $1.25 million plan to replace the grass on Iselin Field at the Aspen Recreation Center with synthetic turf.
Department head Jeff Woods, in asking the City Council to support the expenditure, said synthetic grass would boost the amount of play time the facility yields.
Use of playing fields around town has increased rapidly for the past decade, partially because of new recreation programs that have appeared almost on a yearly basis. At the same time, the amount of field time available with the facilities has remained the same.
The parks department estimates that one synthetic turf field is equivalent to three grass fields. Aspen High School’s football field was converted to synthetic turf in 2006.
If approved after it goes through the city’s application process, money would be taken from a bond that voters approved at the beginning of the decade for athletic facility renovations, open space acquisitions and city facility maintenance.
Councilman Torre said more information needs to be gathered before he would be willing to support the spending. He asked specifically for all the field schedules, a detailed report of what the project would cost, a comparison between Aspen’s fields and those of other communities and more community feedback on the issue.
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No decisions were made Tuesday.
Mayor Mick Ireland and Councilman Dwayne Romero both said they would support the project, citing a need for a healthy athletic community, especially among Aspen’s high school demographic.
“We’re creating a generation of kids that are just not active,” Ireland said, referencing a new wave of technology that keeps youth inside playing video games.
Romero said the fields, in their current state, will be hard pressed to sustain the amount of use that will be required of them in the future.
“This is not about native versus synthetic; this is about capacity,” he said.
Councilman Steve Skadron said he would also support the spending.
Aspen High School coaches who attended the council work session said the new turf would help accommodate the increasing size of the school’s athletic community. The high school recently started a girls lacrosse team, broadening student athletic participation.
About 350 students participate in boys and girls lacrosse at Aspen High.
Woods said the new turf would save the city $40,000 annually in maintenance fees and would save between 2 million and 3 million gallons of water.
The synthetic turf, which is made from recycled material, is normally guaranteed to last eight years.