CHARLESTON, W.Va. — City of Charleston officials are calling the recent investment in turf fields athletic fields across town a key economic driver for Charleston in years to come.
The Charleston City Council recently approved a contract related to installing athletic turf at 10 city-owned athletic fields. The $8.1 million contract with Turf Alliance is related to placing synthetic turf. Turf Alliance will develop specifications for improvements, seek construction bids and review the work happening at the fields.
Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin noted this is one of the largest investments in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department ever. She told 580-WCHS it’s a win for everyone involved.
“Cutting down on costs, maintenance of the field, providing a safe and competitive field to play on, and the return on investment we’ll be getting,” Goodwin said.
Chad Robinson, a Charleston City Councilman in Ward 20 representing Kanawha City and a little league official said there’s been a push to get turf on many fields for years in Charleston.
He also noted the return on investment the city may see after the fields are finished.
“We’ve missed out on state tournaments, travel tournaments. these 10 fields will give us one of the best locations to have a softball or baseball tournament,” Robinson said.
The city plans on upgrading fields located through city limits:
— Bigley Field 1 and Bigley Field 2.
— The upper and lower soccer fields at Cato Park.
— Kanawha City League Little Field.
— Kanawha City Softball/University of Charleston Field.
— Martin Luther King, Jr Center Complex.
— North Charleston Little League Field.
— Power Park Field.
— Suppa Little League/Softball Field.
Goodwin and Robinson both noted the cost to maintain grass and dirt surfaces, especially at Appalachian Power Park. Robinson told 580-WCHS that he met with the owner of the Charleston Dirty Birds a few months ago and it was a mutual agreement to replace the playing surface.
All infields and outfields of the fields listed will be turfed. Robinson said Bigley and King fields will be marked for different levels of play. Fields will also be designed for softball.
City officials are hoping work will begin in late summer or early fall and be finished by the end of 2022.