by Justin Vick
MOORESVILLE – The town didn’t have to look any farther than its backyard for a firm to install artificial turf on two of the six soccer fields at Mazeppa Road Park, scheduled to open next year.
When Medallion Athletic Products incorporated 15 years ago, the Mooresville-based company specialized in ice hockey rinks, scoreboards and zambonis. Since then, artificial turf has become its staple.
Locally, the general contractor has installed turf at Mooresville High School, Benchwarmers Sports Complex in Lakeside Business Park and Xtreme Turf Sports in Talbert Business Park.
And the company just inked a deal to install about 500,000 square feet of artificial turf at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Northeast Recreational Field Complex set to open March 2011.
The complex was to have natural grass until the university decided to accelerate the project’s timetable, said Jennifer Evans, UNC Charlotte’s construction manager. The university will break ground on its new football stadium in the spring, taking away two large fields where intramurals are played.
Despite signing several local contracts, company officials remain cautiously optimistic for the future given the fragile state of the economy.
“It’s hard for a school system that’s laying off teachers or closing schools to justify putting in an artificial turf field to the public,” Owner Matt Broughton said. “From the public’s perception, all they see is teachers being laid off and schools being closed.”
But artificial turf saves construction costs, sparing customers from having to purchase irrigation and natural gas systems. And it also saves maintenance costs, such as manpower, water and fertilizer.
And in the case of the Mazeppa Park Road project, Mooresville benefits from a visitors and tourism standpoint, Broughton said, because tournaments on those fields likely won’t get rained out.
More on Mazeppa Road Park
Plans for the Mazeppa Road Park include baseball and soccer complexes, as well as a playground.
The baseball complex includes one baseball field and three softball fields, while the soccer complex calls for six fields, including two with artificial turf. Each complex will have concession areas and restrooms.
The playground will consist of separate play areas for toddlers and children 5 to 12 years old.
Picnic shelters and walking trails will be available throughout the park.
An artist’s rendering of the park can be viewed at www.ci.mooresville.nc.us/portal/recreation.