From Nic Smith:
"In the Master Plan being developed we are calling for a combination of artificial turf (3 fields) and grass (6 fields) for the following reasons:
1. Water conservation. Our goal is to REDUCE the overall water usage with better irrigation – but have more grass fields. The issue really isn’t the growing of the grass, it is the maintenance and ‘wear and tear’. Grass gives us greater flexibility in field operations because we can easily change the field sizes to suit different league requirements. The down side is that it has a much shorter playing season – you cannot play on it when it is dormant, lining, cutting and general maintenance is an ongoing issue. It is less expensive to install, more expensive to maintain and operate over a 10 year period.
2. Turf fields. This extends the playing season – we can start earlier in the year and finish later. It is also much more durable than grass – so you get more playing hours on grass. It is much easier to maintain (no watering, lines, cutting etc.) Downside…it gets very hot in the sun. There is anecdotal evidence about the cancer concern – but no empirical data. The current Women’s World Cup is being played on artificial turf. But we will obviously watch this. The quality of turf has improved dramatically over the last 10 years.
That all said. Our expectation is that the youth leagues (u 4 – U12/14) will all continue to play on grass because their season is shorter, they have different field requirements and are not so hard on the grass as adults. Hence the 6 – 3 ratio of grass to turf fields. For tournaments and to attract professional teams looking for a high altitude training center we need grass, but from a practical stand point we also need the flexibility, durability and cost effectiveness of turf fields."
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