Installing new turf for the city of Brighton sports complexes, approved by Brighton City Council Dec. 21, is underway, according to a press release.
“The Brighton Youth Baseball & Softball Association is extremely happy to see the City of Brighton investing in Astroturf on the eight-game fields in Brighton! In addition to saving millions of gallons of water every year,” said Cory Moul, the executive director of the Brighton Youth Baseball and Softball Association, the Brighton Youth Association Football League, the Rocky Mountain Junior Baseball League and recreation softball executive director for the Indian Peaks Girls Softball Association.
The conversion project is estimated to cost $4.3 million and is scheduled to start construction as early as Jan. 17 by Rocky Mountain Turf Solutions, according to officials.
Fields one and two at the Brighton Sports Complex will be the first for demolition. The other two fields will remain open for programming. Once the two are completed then demolition will start at Pawlowski Fields for the turf conversation. The projected timeline for the completion of both complexes is about 48 weeks.
According to officials, the conversion to turf would save more than 10 million gallons of water per year in all the complexes, and teams can practice all year long.
“While artificial turf isn’t maintenance-free we are projecting this project will cut our maintenance hours down significantly. We expect our maintenance hours to be reduced by over 60 percent, and those savings per season can be utilized in other aspects of parks maintenance,” said Carleen Watts, recreation sports supervisor with the city.
Converting to turf has its advantages, she said. Sports fields can be used year-round, and it will prevent cancellation during snow or rain conditions. Also, Astroturf eliminates all of the dust caused by dragging the fields.
“Grass fields can be damaged during the winter season, whereas Astroturf fields can be used year-round,” said Watts.
“We had to reschedule over 100 games in 2021 because the infields were too wet to play on after 15 minutes of rain. This will not happen anymore with turf fields,” said Moul. “It will save the city of Brighton and the Brighton Youth Baseball and Softball Association thousands of dollars every year in wages and equipment used to prepare fields for games.”
The only downside to having turf is the kids playing sports who are 14 years old and older use the metal cleats. They can’t wear them on turf fields.
“They will need to have molded rubber cleats when they play in Brighton and the second pair of cleats when they play at dirt infields, if they want to wear metal cleats,” Moul said. “Depending on how you look at it, that isn’t a bad thing.”
Moul said another advantage lies in the speed of the batted balls. On turf, the ball does not slow down like it does rolling on the dirt or grass, so the speed of the game will be faster.
“The kids playing in Brighton will need to learn to get to the ball faster when it is hit. This will make them better players when they go play on slower grass fields,” said Moul.
Several existing tournament organization teams have contacted the city of Brighton in the wake of the announcement to add several new tournaments in Brighton.
“Who knows? Maybe we can even talk to the Colorado High School Activities Association into hosting the Colorado state baseball or softball tournaments in Brighton someday,” said Moul. “With these eight fields being turfed, Brighton will have some of the nicest facilities in the state of Colorado for baseball and softball.”
Once the new fields are completed, the Brighton Recreation Center will celebrate with the launch of the summer softball league May 3.
“Hopefully the current City Council and city staff continue to make improvements like this to the sports facilities in our town. We are hoping they will decide to add turf to the football and soccer fields at the Water Tower Sports Complex in 2023,” Moul added.
The deadline to register for upcoming softball leagues is April 13 for an extended 12 week season for $500 per team. The men’s leagues play Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and coed teams play Thursday nights.
To register, call the Brighton Recreation Center at 303-655-2200. Contract Carleen Watts, sports supervisor for adult softball information at firstname.lastname@example.org.