A synthetic soccer field will replace the traditional grass field at Losco Park in Mandarin.
The field should be opened to the public in the coming weeks if not days. The plan was helped along by City Councilman Art Shad. He helped lock up the $659,700 for the field. He says it’s not meant to save money but to upgrade the park.
“We are not to the point in our city where we can’t make good investments in the recreational activities for our citizens,” says Shad.
Even though it’s not being put in to save money, there are some cost savings as a result. There would be no maintenance costs associated with the field, for example no pesticides, no mowing, and it would need to be watered. A traditional grass field gets replaced every 5 years or so at a cost of about $100,000. The turf field could go up to 20 years without getting replaced, according to some estimates. Others have the timeline at about 8 years.
Shad says because the field can be used even during inclement weather it could potentially have other people use it which in turn would lessen the wear and tear from other fields.
This project was developed after the Jacksonville Youth Soccer League had started to notice the fields were getting torn up quickly, mainly because they had so many kids playing on the grass.
The money for this field is coming from the city’s park improvements section of the capital improvements fund. Shad made it clear that the money could not be used elsewhere.
If the budgeted money in that fund was left over it would automatically go to the emergency fund. There’s no real way of appropriating that money from one fund to the other, once the money has already been set aside.
This project will range between 15 to 20 percent of that city park improvement fund.