Source: NorthFulton.com

Roswell parks go ahead with plastic turf
Concerns over cost

by JONATHAN COPSEY

January 09, 2013

ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell voters approved spending $2 million in bond money on November’s ballot for the creation of at least four synthetic turf fields at area parks. Along with about $1.5 million in city funds, the Roswell City Council is expected to give final approval Jan. 14 to the $3 million contract for the fields.

Currently the fields are traditional grass turf. Roswell Recreation and Parks Director Joe Glover said synthetic fields were the best alternative.

“Fields get muddy and worn out,” Glover said. “We try to shut them down in the winter, but grass doesn’t grow in winter. And we shut down in summer to re-sod and let it grow. That gives us three months of playing time.”

With the labor and materials required to keep the grass maintained, Glover said the one-time cost of synthetic turf fields is a no brainer.

“It gives us that extra playing ability,” he said. “We can schedule things during the summer that we’ve never been able to do.”

Nearly every high school sports field in the county is made of fake turf, and Glover said the schools are happy with the results.

“Overwhelmingly, the people we talked to said they supported it,” he said.

City staff members are recommending the city use contractor Medallion Athletics, a Mooresville, N.C.-based company specializing in artificial turf. Their bid for the contract was just over $3 million for the four fields.

This figure has angered some residents, notably Roswell resident Trent Moore, employed by Sprinturf, one of the companies bidding on the contract. Moore said the numbers don’t add up, since Medallion’s price was more than half a million dollars higher than other bids.

“It’s an absolute blatant waste of tax dollars,” Moore said. “I live in Roswell. These are my tax dollars they are wasting.”

Indeed, the three closest competing bids came in at about $2.7 million for the project. Medallion was the highest number by far. However, money was not the issue, said Glover.

“The bottom line was the committee felt it was a better product, would last longer and be a better product,” he said. “The bid never was done on a price basis. It was done on the quality of the product.

It’s not like bidding on the exact same thing. Everybody’s [product] was a bit different.”

In the end, Glover said, Medallion was chosen for having a better product.

The City Council will have final say on the issue at their Jan. 14 meeting.