Puyallup Herald

‘Huge asset to our community.’ Puyallup replacing grass sports fields with turf

Puyallup has completed turfing the first of three sports fields to provide the public and local clubs a place to play year-round.

The Puyallup Valley Sports Complex opened on May 1 to the community and regional clubs and leagues, and fields have been busy since, the city’s Parks and Recreation Director, Sarah Harris said.

“We expect people to use the fields nearly every day of the year,” she told The News Tribune on Thursday.

A mix of city funding, grants and donations paid for the center on 808 Valley Ave. NW. The city used a total of $3.8 million in lodging tax revenue to pay for the two projects to tear up grass and replace the fields with turf at the PVSC, locally known as the Puyallup Recreation Center.

Turf currently covers the baseball field, and the next project would finish the two softball fields. The fields are designed for multiple sports, including football, baseball, softball, lacrosse and soccer. From October to February, weather conditions left the fields largely unusable.

“This facility is going to be a huge asset to our community,” Mayor John Palmer said.

The first phased relied on $2.3 million from city lodging taxes. The second phase will turf the outfields on the two softball fields and replace the outdoor lights to LED. An estimated $10,500 in community donations, $736,000 in state grants, and $1.3 million in city lodging taxes fund the second project.

The city said the projects are an appropriate use of the lodging tax because when people visit the city for tournaments, they will be renting Puyallup rooms. Property owners pay a lodging tax, also known as the hotel-motel tax, for renting out spaces. The revenue collected is used to incentivize tourism, according to state law.

“Not only will it meet the needs of our family-oriented sport programs and clubs year-round, but it will be a boost to our local economy by bringing in teams to stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants,” Palmer said.

The project began in September last year as crews tore up the grass, set up a drainage system, poured gravel and set synthetic turf on top. The turf requires less maintenance than grass and has a life expectancy of up to 12 years.

The multipurpose turf can be used daily without the upkeep and concerns grass has, Harris said. Outside of summer months, grass can be too wet to play on safely.

Community sport leagues and tournaments can use the fields. There are deposit and rental fees to reserve the field, but teams can be penalized for canceling last minute or not showing up. The parks department has made $6,011 since the center’s opening on May 1.

Pickup games can be played on the field if it’s open and empty, Harris said.

The fields close again July 31 until spring 2020 to finish the project.

Fields can be reserved by calling 253-841-5457. For more details about renting a field, go to this guide on Puyallup sports fields.

Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.