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Work begins on Mountain Valley turf

A backhoe roared in the morning fog Monday on the soccer field at Mountain Valley Park.

"We will just be relocating all the waterlines," said Bob Balke, project superintendent for Low Mountain Construction Inc. of Phoenix.

He said four employees are working on the project that includes replacing the soccer (multipurpose) field and adjoining T-ball fields with artificial turf, and installing fencing and lighting at the park.

Balke was huddling at a park bench with two Prescott Valley Public Works employees: engineering technician Alex Romero and utility inspector Chris Crujido. Low Mountain workers brought in equipment and piping this past week, and did some potholing to locate underground utilities, Crujido said. Town officials gave Low Mountain a notice to proceed Dec. 3.

The Town Council voted Nov. 19 to accept the bid for about $1.4 million from Low Mountain for the field expansion and lighting project at the park, located off Robert Road and Loos Drive. The town will use impact fees from residential construction to pay for the project, which is due for completion in March.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Witty previously said the artificial turf would save $20,000 to $30,000 a year in water, fertilizers and herbicides. Several residents questioned the savings, unaware that turf covered only a portion of the costs for the overall park project.

Broken down, costs are about $870,006 for the 100,000-square-foot soccer field, about $279,685 for the 40,000-square-foot T-ball fields and $206,226 for the lighting, according to figures Witty supplied.

The turf replacement, infill, concrete curb, striping and assorted infrastructure for the soccer field total $383,344. Turf costs for the T-ball fields amount to $168,000, the bid tabulation states.

Other costs include $80,080 for the subgrade (rocks and gravel) beneath the soccer field and $52,000 for subgrade under the T-ball fields, utilities engineer Gary McConnell explained.

"It is critical to have good drainage," McConnell said, referring to the subgrade. "For artificial turf, it is drainage, drainage, drainage."

McConnell said the artificial turf has holes to prevent standing water on the surface, and the water will drain into the subgrade.

"It has to drain a minimum of 14 inches an hour," he said.

McConnell cited savings from using the subgrade.

"The subgrade will be in there 40 years," he said. "If we rip the (artificial) turf off after 12 years, we just have to replace the turf. The turf is a carpet."

Some of the project costs will be one-time only.

"We don't have to do the fencing again or the concrete (curb around the fields)," McConnell said. "We don't have to do the lights again."

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