Turf field talks move forward

Discussion continued this month among city council members and the task force led by City Manager Adam Brown about the proposed addition of two artificial turf fields to Keizer Rapids Park. The task force met last week and put together a detailed analysis which Brown presented to the council on June 6.

The proposal is a partnership between Marion County and the City of Keizer using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the initial construction of the two fields and their associated ground-leveling, parking lots, and lighting systems. Brown’s task force has been examining the post-construction and long-term costs to the city, as well as determining how the fields could be leveraged as a revenue stream.

Brown said that the two fields are consistent with the parks master plan, which requires the city to carve out more parks capacity.

The good news for the city is that the annual maintenance costs for artificial turf is less than half the cost of the organic equivalent, while at the same time turf more than doubles the availability for recreational use. Brown estimates the two fields could be used as much as 2,800 hours per year as compared to an average of 800 for traditional sports fields.

Brown said the task force is still examining revenue options, including possibilities for advertising and partnerships with other municipalities and private sports clubs, however much of that information is preliminary and still under discussion.

“I think what’s clear is that even at a beginning level, this is do-able,” said Mayor Cathy Clark. “Even if we get no additional funding, we can do it today – will we do it that way? Of course not.”

Clark said next steps would be to assign staff to prepare an intergovernmental agreement between Marion County and the City of Keizer for acceptance of the funds for the project – that motion was made and passed.