ANACORTES — The Anacortes City Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday for the installation of artificial turf at Alton R. Daniels Field in Volunteer Park.
Construction — which includes removing grass, dirt and irrigation, then laying a new base and the turf — will start within a few weeks, Anacortes Parks and Recreation Director Gary Robinson said.
The goal is to have the baseball field ready by March.
Alton R. Daniels Field is one of the most well-used fields in the city, hosting the Anacortes High School team and other youth teams.
The next step is deciding what kind of infill to use with the turf. The infill, which are small pellets of rubber, is used to soften the playing surface.
Robinson said Parks and Recreation is looking at encapsulating the crumb rubber in a type of safer plastic to mitigate potential health problems.
The biggest advantage to artificial turf over grass is that it’s easier to play on in the rain, Robinson said, so fewer games will be postponed or cancelled. Maintaining artificial turf also takes about one-fifth of the time of maintaining grass fields, he said.
With artificial turf, the parks department won’t have to water, mow or fertilize the field.
The cost savings in maintenance would even out over time, Robinson said, as the cost to replace the turf is about $400,000. Turf replacement could occur about every 20 years, he said.
The City Council had expressed concern over the project’s funding at its meeting a week earlier.
Though the city received a $500,000 private donation for the project, it will need another $100,000 to $200,000 to fully fund it, Robinson said.
The city already has one artificial turf field at Volunteer Park. The city converted the park’s softball field, Marguerite and Don Daniels Field, from grass to artificial turf 14 years ago, Robinson said.