Brevard Commissioner Jim Barfield Issues Statement About AstroTurf and Lagoon Restoration

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BREVARD COMMISSION TO CONSIDER $5.5 MILLION LOAN FOR ASTROTURF AT APRIL 10 MEETING

BREVARD COUNTY COMMISSIONER JIM BARFIELD: There has certainly been enough misinformation regarding upgrades to Viera Regional Park athletic fields and the dollars associated for the upgrades.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA –  There has certainly been enough misinformation regarding upgrades to Viera Regional Park athletic fields and the dollars associated for the upgrades. 

With that said,  below is a “fact sheet” that hits some of the key points that I hope to answer questions or the misinformation you may be receiving.

Reconstruction and installation of 580,800 sq. ft. of AstroTurf “Rootzone HD 3D3 Blend” Synthetic Turf System with inlaid field markings for football, soccer and lacrosse. Construction and future maintenance to be managed by USSSA in exchange for field use rights similar to other “recreation partners.”

Existing fields are part of large regional County Park, operated and maintained by Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department. Fields are in poor condition due to overuse by local leagues. Poor drainage causes unplayable conditions for as many as 40 days per year.

There is insufficient budget for proper turf management. The soccer fields now share time with expanding teams and share use with football and lacrosse. Having year-round play on safe fields is critical to the teams and families.

Project cost: $5,527,485 with $5,000,000 from bond proceeds supported by tourist development tax revenue.

KEY POINTS

Brevard County Parks and Recreation and property taxpayers save money.
• The cost to reconstruct the natural grass fields was estimated to be $2.25 million.
• Natural grass fields would require $190,000 ($.35 per square foot) per year for proper turf management.
• Additional use for tournaments and events would have been very limited to prevent natural grass field degradation.

Local kids and families get world-class facilities, paid for by tourist development tax revenue.
• AstroTurf is the world’s leader in synthetic turf, and the product to be installed at Viera is used in professional facilities like Camping World Stadium.
• As an enhanced safety feature, an “Enplast” pad will be installed under the football field turf to protect against head injury.
• AstroTurf is unaffected by weather and is available for play all the time.

Tourism activity will increase.
• Due to consistency and unlimited use, Viera Regional Park will be available for tournaments and events which will generate 25,000 room nights per year.
• Annual economic impact of $17.4 million.
• Tourist Development Taxes of $135,000.
• Save Our Lagoon Taxes of $87,000. Public School Infrastructure Taxes of $87,000.

Save Our Lagoon.
• Due to the implementation of the half-cent sales tax for the Save Our Indian River Lagoon plan, which tourists pay nearly one third, time is the factor not money. It will take time to implement the plan and see improvements.
• The Save Our Indian River Lagoon project has benefited from increased taxes generating revenue to implement planned projects.
• The Save Our Indian River Lagoon plan is a long-term solution in which projects must be sequenced. For example, seagrass is still dying in the lagoon and seagrass restoration projects must wait until water quality improves.
The Save Our Indian River Lagoon Plan has $58 million of unprogrammed money.

Benefits of AstroTurf.
• According to a recent study, “Clearly the synthetic turf alternatives have significantly reduced environmental impact over their life cycle along with lower life-cycle costs when compared to the natural turf grass alternatives.” The majority of environmental impacts associated with AstroTurf occur during manufacturing.
• Once installed, the reduced environmental impacts are less water use, no need for nitrogen-based fertilizer and less need for machinery to maintain.
• Initial costs are higher, but on-going maintenance costs are significantly lower than natural grass fields.
• The AstroTurf Rootzone HD 3D3 Blend turf will have 2” of Bionic fill for cushioning, except football fields which will have 1.5” plus Enplast pad.
• Bionic fill will have a cooling agent “ZeoFill” to reduce turf temperatures in summer.
• Consistency of synthetic turf reduces the risk of knee and ankle injury.

Bottom Line.
• The County Parks and Recreation Departments revenues continue to decline and did not have money available for this project.
• Tourist Development Tax revenue will be generated.
• Synthetic turf was the right choice, using tourist development tax to cover the higher installation costs but saving the County Parks Department the long-term maintenance costs.
• USSSA was brought in to help negotiate favorable volume pricing, expertise in planning, resources (labor and equipment) for on-going turf maintenance and for tournaments and events to generate the tourism activity.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our office.

District 2: Commissioner Jim Barfield, 321-454-6601; D2.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

Brevard Commissioner John Tobia Urges Board to ‘Get Serious’ About Health of Indian River LagoonRelated Story:
Brevard Commissioner John Tobia Urges Board to ‘Get Serious’ About Health of Indian River Lagoon

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR BREVARD COUNTY COMMISSIONER:
District 1: Chair Rita Pritchett; 321-607-6901; D1.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov
District 3: Commissioner John Tobia, 321-633-2075; John.Tobia@BrevardFL.gov
District 4: Commissioner Curt Smith; 321-633-2044; D4.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov
District 5: Vice-Chair Kristine Isnardi; 321-253-6611; D5.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

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