City looking for ways to offset turf field costs

An overview of the proposed construction of separate soccer and football fields at Keizer Rapids.

City Manager Adam Brown met with members of a task force last week to examine the proposed Keizer Rapids Park turf field funding options and possible revenue streams. He and his staff have identified three possible rental fee models and made some initial estimates surrounding the costs and possible benefits.

One advantage of turf fields is that they can be used year-round, however regular maintenance will cut into that available time. In order to make the calculations, the work group gathered data from other venues nearby and decided on assuming an average of three hours per night in fee-revenue from field rentals, seven nights per week and nine months per year.

The pro forma Brown submitted to the work group includes estimates for a flat-rate, a two-rate and a three-rate model. All three proposals make some initial assumptions which may or may not turn out to be true – such as an estimated $375 per night revenue from the flat-rate, which would offer the use of the fields to private or public groups for $125 per hour.

According to Brown, the estimates come from an analysis of local rates at venues offering similar services, such as The Plex which charges $150 per hour and Lake Oswego’s $100 per-hour fee for their public-use fields.

Under the flat-rate model, the fields could potentially generate as much as $18,000 in net revenue for the city each year. Making the same set of assumptions as above, the other two models indicate a net loss annually – as much as $37,000 under the two-rate plan and approximately $51,000 under the three-rate version.

Assuming three hours per night, as above, the two-rate model would allow one hour per night at $125 and two hours per-night at $75. The three-rate model would split each night into three staggered rates: $125, $75 and $50. No determination has yet been made about the prerequisites for each fee.

The ongoing maintenance and labor costs involved with artificial turf fields are considerable. Brown estimates spending $33,000 annually on maintenance, $27,000 on labor, and more than $128,000 per year on maintenance equipment. This comes out to a $188,177 total cost to the city, each year.

The work group will meet weekly until a recommendation to the council is prepared.