Hoover, school system plans artificial turf for 11 baseball and softball fields

Hoover City Council on Monday night approved a resolution calling on the city to partner with Hoover City Schools and the Hoover Parks and Recreation Board to add artificial turf fields to 11 baseball diamonds and city ​​softball.

The city plans to pay about $9 million for artificial turf on seven fields at Hoover City Parks and the college baseball diamonds at Hoover and Spain Park high schools, city administrator Allan Rice said.

The Hoover School Board is expected to consider approval to pay for artificial turf on the two college softball fields in Hoover and Spain Park on Tuesday night, Councilman John Lyda said.

The fields in the city that are expected to receive artificial turf will be two large baseball fields at HooverSports Park East, two large fields at the city’s Spain Park sports complex, two softball fields at Hoover Sports Park Central and a large baseball field at Hoover Sports Park West (also known as Shades Mountain Park), Rice said.

The artificial turf should allow for more extensive field use because field wear won’t be as bad, Rice said. Also, the city and school system won’t have to wait as long to use the fields after the rains because they won’t have to worry about mud, he said.

This could potentially help reduce the number of times children have to wake up late on school nights to try to put on makeup, Rice said.

Also, large fields can actually be divided into smaller fields for younger children, allowing for even greater use, he said.

Artificial grass fields, while expensive, reduce maintenance costs because they don’t require all the water, fertilizer and mowing that natural grass fields require, Rice said.

Plus, “we’re pretty sure moms all over town will be glad they don’t have to wash the clay out of white ball pants,” Rice added.

The reason the city agrees to pay for turf on college baseball fields that belong to the school system is that the city of Hoover actually uses these fields more than the schools, primarily for tournaments run by groups such as the Perfect Game. organization, Rice said.

While a high school team might play 15 games at its field in a year, the city and its management partner at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex, Sports Facilities Management, schedule hundreds of games a year at those fields, Rice said.

So it makes sense for the city to contribute to the cost of the turf, he said.

The city plans to use the money that is currently allocated for debt payment, Rice said. That money will no longer be needed to pay off a particular set of obligations, because that existing debt will likely be turned into new debt that the city plans to take on, he said.

The turf should be a good investment because it will allow the city to schedule even more activity at baseball and softball fields, expanding sports tourism and bringing in additional tourism dollars, Rice said.

On a related note, the Hoover School Board has already budgeted $1.2 million to add new restrooms to both high schools’ varsity baseball and softball fields, said Matt Wilson, school system operations manager. .

Currently, the press boxes on university grounds have two single-use toilets, but the new sanitary facilities to be built will each have six stalls for women and three stalls and three urinals for men, Wilson said. These sanitary facilities are being designed and school officials hope to build them next spring, he said.

Construction timelines for the artificial turf pitches are still unknown, Rice said.

Hoover Councilman Steve McClinton said artificial turf is a great idea that’s long overdue.

In other business Monday night, the Hoover City Council:

  • Agreed to hire a company called LandDesign to do an inventory of existing recreational facilities in the city and help the city develop a strategic plan to improve these amenities, expand them or add them with amenities in new locations. This study will cost $239,000 and will be funded in part by a $50,000 donation from Signature Homes, which suggested that the inventory be done.
  • Agreed to pay Amwaste a fuel surcharge for garbage collection services when fuel prices exceed $3.05 per gallon for low-sulfur commercial diesel fuel, Rice said. Fuel prices have hit garbage companies hard, and this change will allow the price paid by the city to float with the market for fuel when it rises above baseline, he said. “It allows them to cover their costs.
  • Agreed to use the $8.9 million the city received from the federal government for COVID-19 recovery to replace revenue spent on payroll. The $8.9 million should cover three to four pay periods and allow the city to use that money for something else, Chief Financial Officer Tina Bolt said. The city council will decide on the use of this money.
  • Agreed to pay $58,675 for the construction of a fitness court at Veterans Park as part of a joint project with Shelby County and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. The total cost of the fitness court will be $167,350, with Blue Cross providing a $50,000 grant and Hoover and Shelby County each paying $58,675. The fitness court will be a 40ft by 40ft mat with full-body workout stations, planner Mac Martin said. Sample drawings provided to the Hoover Zoning Chart showed workout stations designed for core exercises, squats, push-ups, lunges, pull-ups, agility moves, and turns.
  • Agreed to donate $20,000 to the Hoover City Schools Foundation and $15,700 to the Miss Hoover Foundation.
  • Approval given to developer Clint Sukar to construct a three-story, 26,700 square foot mixed-use building on 1 acre at 1869 Chace Drive, right on the edge of the Lake Chace commercial area and near single-family homes. The plan is to have 10 condominiums of at least 1,420 square feet each on the top two floors of the building and 5,000 square feet of retail space and six garages on the ground floor.
  • Reappointed longtime municipal judge Brad Bishop for another two-year term.

Jeremy S. McLain