Babylon is reclaiming its turf.
The town has unveiled the latest athletic field to be renovated as part of a five-year plan to redo one artificial turf field per year.
The multipurpose field at Venetian Shores Park in Lindenhurst, which is used for soccer, lacrosse and football, was finished last week. The field, which measures 120 by 60 yards had been converted to artificial turf from grass more than a decade ago.
“Luckily we got 12 to 13 years out of it,” Town Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez said. “But it was showing its age and its wear and tear was heavy.”
Holes had started forming in the turf, and Martinez said the substrate underneath was compacted, which could lead to injuries to players. The town estimates that more than 1,000 athletes use the field each year.
The new turf and related work, which was done by LandTek of Amityville, cost about $437,000. The town is using a $950,000 state grant to pay for the new field, with the remaining money going toward new LED lights, which will be installed by the fall.
Martinez said the town’s five multipurpose artificial turf fields were put in about 15 years ago to reduce maintenance costs and work, which are more extensive with grass fields. Knowing the life of a turf field is limited, the town came up with a five-year plan to renovate at least one multipurpose field and convert one Little League Baseball field each year, bonding for the costs.
The town has so far bonded for nearly $2.7 million to replace six artificial fields over four years. The town also converted the baseball field at Anthony Sanchez Memorial Park in West Babylon to turf for $1.2 million, of which $1 million was covered by a state grant. Next year the town hopes to renovate a multipurpose field at Van Bourgondien Park in West Babylon and convert a Little League field at Tanner Park in Copiague.
When evaluating which of the town’s 39 fields to change to turf, Martinez said the town examines how much use each field gets. He said the town received a request to change the field in Wyandanch Park, but since it is only used in the fall for football, “they don’t have the numbers” and the town decided not to install turf.
“It wouldn’t make sense in that case because we are able to maintain that grass field properly,” he said.
Martinez couldn’t estimate how much is saved by having artificial versus grass fields but said the synthetic fields benefit all town parks.
“By having these fields, it allows our landscaping crew to have the time to really expand into maintaining our parks better,” he said.
Chris DeRonde, president of the Lindenhurst Lacrosse League, which plays at Venetian, said it’s a “huge benefit” to have a turf field. The bounce of the ball is more consistent, providing a “fair game” for all players, he said, and a synthetic field allows for more games to be played.
“You don’t get canceled out because of rain or bad weather,” he said. “The turf gives you much more reliability.”
Turf fields renovated over last four years
Venetian Shores multipurpose field: $436,808
Tanner Park multipurpose field: $370,000
Birchwood Park multipurpose field: $597,480
Phelps Lane multipurpose field: $429,995
Phelps Lane baseball field: $404,868
Pine Acres baseball field: $507,225
Town Hall baseball field: $380,742
Converted to turf
Anthony Sanchez Park baseball field: $1,195,874
Source: Town of Babylon