Summertime means a few things. The weather heats up, school ends, vacations are planned, pools are opened, and there is no place like home…plate. But, this summer also marks the heart of the baseball/softball season in Arlington Heights. This summer, the Arlington Heights Park District is working to improve their baseball/softball facilities at Melas Park by installing four synthetic turf infields.
"Melas was already known to be one of the best parks to host tournaments, but the Arlington Heights Park District wanted to provide their athletes with a park of the future that will secure the safety of players, effectively wash away rain delays, as well as save costs and increase revenue in years to come," according to John Robinson, Superintendent of Recreation.
Robinson added, "the Arlington Heights Park District is able to fund this project using the Capital Projects monies set aside for supporting projects that make recreational facilities accessible as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)".
Brien Halterman, Athletics Supervisor commented that "the safety of all users is extremely important to the Arlington Heights Park District. Synthetic turf is known to reduce injury of players. Turf has consistency; meaning that it does not create divets, rocks, or holes as a regular dirt infield would. Players will be able to more effectively read the ball off the bat without the risk of a bad hop. The turf is extremely durable and environmentally friendly. The company Field Turf was able to further assist the Arlington Heights Park District with a safe surface for all players who are now able to play safely and consistently".
On average there are 18-25 rainouts in one season. Turf fields are easily accessed after, and during rain. Extreme weather conditions will now be the only reason for rescheduling or delaying games.
Thanks to new sewer and drainage systems underneath the field athletes will have the opportunity to play after harsh weather conditions. This system will disperse access water to the retention side of the park. Fields will remain playable after excessive amounts of rain. More games will be able to be played, and less time will be spent on field maintenance, and rainout rescueduling.
By Spring 2013, all four fields at Melas Park, located at 1500 W. Central Rd, will be fully equipped with synthetic turf infields. The season will continue even throughout construction as two fields will remain playable while the other two are being worked on. Once the remaining dirt fields are under construction the new turf fields will be in use for the leagues that take place in the fall. The Arlington Heights Park District is prepared to accommodate players throughout turf installation. More importantly, AHPD is looking forward to many successful softball seasons to come on the new surface.
With less maintenance needed for the turf facilities, Park District staff will be able to reduce operating expenses over time. The District views this investment as a long-term solution that will generate a revenue over time. Less delays and less maintenance means that the field will be able to used more creating opportunities for more games and more leagues in the future. Athletic Supervisor, Brien Halterman explained that the community is very excited, and fall leagues are already full for the upcoming season.
Anyone interested in playing on the new synthetic turf is encouraged to sign up early. Leagues are available for children and adults. See your Arlington Heights Park District program guide for more information on what will be offered throughout the renovations.
The Arlington Heights Park District thanks all the other agencies involved in the project. Gewalt Hamilton, Lenny Hoffmann and Co, Field Turf, and RJ Underground.
Contact John Robinson
at 847-506-7131 or Brien Halterman
at 847-506-7132. View a slideshow
of the installation of the Melas Park synthetic turf project. For more information about the Park District, please contact the Arlington Heights Park District at 847-577-3007.