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Poll: Should Westminster Build a Turf Field?

The city of Westminster is toying with the idea of implementing a turf field at the city park.

When he talks about installing a turf field at the city park, city councilman Tony Chiavacci sees dollar signs, and it's not because of the cost to build it.

"It will become an economic engine for downtown," Chiavacci said.

Chiavacci, who chairs the city's Park and Recreation Committee, has been exploring the idea of an outdoor turf field for quite some time. He said that having a turf field in downtown Westminster could consistently draw thousands of people to the Main Street area that otherwise wouldn't have a reason to be there. He said it could be even more during tournaments and playoffs.

Chiavacci said that Carroll County only has two outdoor turf fields, one at and one at Gerstell Academy, neither of which are open to the public.

"This would be the only publicly owned turf field in all of Carroll County," Chiavacci said. "All of our surrounding counties have numerous turf fields and some have them at all their high schools. Some of the newer schools even have two."

"Carroll County is way behind our neighbors when it comes to turf," Chiavacci said.

But it's not all about the potential economic impact or the $1.5 million pricetag, Chiavacci said it's also about the athletes.

"It also would give our kids an opportunity to practice on turf, as they play many of their games on it when playing teams from other counties," Chiavacci said. "Many sports are very different on turf versus grass and our kids are always at a disadvantage when playing on turf because they never have the opportunity to practice on it."

So what do you think--should Westminster invest in an outdoor turf field at the city playground?

Steve Byrnes April 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM
It's time for Carroll County to catch up to the rest of the states with our athletic facilities! I think it's a great idea and long overdue.
Frederick Lowe April 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Not just one, as many as possible, but not at the city park only. There are many locations, including the high schools that should have them. It is time to look to the many individual, coporate sponsors and bond alternatives that could be utilized to develop the fields. The use of which could bring in funds not only from athletics, but band competitions and community events.
Michele Macera April 23, 2012 at 01:38 PM
it's a must in our county and since it seems they won't happen at the schools and obtaining field time on privately owned fields is costly if impossible. as noted in the above article, as our successful county teams continuing to advance to playoffs and state championships, the game plays differently on turf. for example,field hockey players/parents/coaches/AD's seek out turf time outside of the county and pay for it, including busrides, to reduce the disadvantage. the success of one field will open up opportunities for more in the future. it's time to get creative and finally get carroll county's and westminster's feet on the turf! if you build it, they will come!
Bob Mahr April 23, 2012 at 01:45 PM
If for whatever reason - financial, political, etc. - the schools cannot put in turf fields then this is the next best thing. Agree it would be a money maker for the City just based on rent/usage fees, then add in the in-direct economic benefit of having additional patrons in downtown Westminster.
S&W April 23, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I don't get it, what is the attraction of the turf field?
Dave April 23, 2012 at 01:57 PM
less rainouts, more consistent playing surface, probably less injuries as well since there are no rocks to fall on
Chad Costello April 23, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I feel there should be terf fields for sure in Carroll County. And the City Park is a good place to start. This would allow our kids the experience that many other kids are getting outside our county, to play on terf, which many colleges now have as well. I also feel the high schools should start installing them too. This would help to cut down on games missed during the season, and extended seasons because of the missed games.
Steve Heck April 23, 2012 at 02:26 PM
This is a no brainer. The turf field will pay for itself in the long term. If you add the cost of maintaining grass field V. turf, you will save as much as 5,000 plus per year. Thats doesn't include the pollutions that come from mowing and the lime for marking grass fields. Its time to step up to the plate CC.
Jennifer Resnick April 23, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Absolutely!
Cosmopolitan April 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
So, let me get this straight. By spending 1.5 million, we will save as much as 5,000 per year in maintenance? What's the payback (in years) on that?
Steve Heck April 23, 2012 at 04:33 PM
There is a lot more then just the maintenance. Carroll County will be allowed to host special events that only turf fields can. Some of these stadium charge 2-5 dollars just for entering and they can draw quite a few fans also.
Stacey Greene Hudson April 23, 2012 at 08:41 PM
YES!!!!
Jenn Rhine April 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Absolutely, we should have a turf field!! Not just for high school college special activities but for the younger kids like Wildcats football, lacrosse, soccer, ect the amount spent could easily be recouped and turn a profit in the near future!!!
Terri Beard April 23, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Been waiting years for someone to bring this notion forward. Our kids have been playing on the rocks @JC field and City Park for years, thankful they haven't been hurt, but I know some kids have. Looking forward to good news...and improving the downtown economy.
amanda johnson April 23, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Absolutely! This would be great for our county!
Boomer April 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM
This is the best thing that could happen to Westminster. It's amazing to see surrounding schools and recreation parks have one or two turf fields. If this can put money back into the city that should be a no brainer. Anyone not supporting this don't have a love for sports or recreation.
Becky Grove April 24, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Is this even a question? Absolutely yes to turf field. As many as possible. We should be embarassed by our fields. The city and county won't take care of the grass fields - they are in horrible condition and kids are going to get hurt. Put in some turf fields - there is little to no maintainance. Our kids will be safe. In addition it will bring people into downtown. Can you imagine the tournaments that will come to Westminster and bring in people to eat and shop in downtown. There is no downside!
Skip Carr April 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Great idea, but we need a comprehensive plan to address the parking issue if City Park is to be seriously considered. A more cost efficient solution may be to look at converting the high school fields over a few years using corp sponsors and advertising ...
Steve Heck April 24, 2012 at 12:38 AM
The city would benefit more if it was city park. Parking wouldn't be an issue. There is plenty of parking including the garage and middle school close by. Downtown could really use this.
Robin Nicole April 24, 2012 at 01:05 AM
How would this affect FallFest? Would they still be able to hold it at City Park, or would it damage the turf?
vin April 24, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Good idea. Wrong location. The field would get destroyed in this location. There are several rules at turf fields who is going to police the fields?
valerie April 24, 2012 at 09:34 AM
this should have been in the works a long time ago.... the sports plex on 97 north is more ideal and a better part of town! its A SAD SHAME that both Westminster HS and South CArroll HS were donated turf fields and the RIDICULOUS powers that be in the school system vetoed it because NOT ALL THE SCHOOLS can have one.....WELL YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE and if someone is willing to donate....YOU DONT turn that down! All the schools would ultimately benefit and the boosters who decided they want to starts funds for there schools would get a kick in the pants to starts raising the money! I think the sports plex or sandymount/deer park are better options with local teams having the ability to use it! valerie s.
Charleen Heyn April 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM
I would love Carroll County to have turf fields. I just question whether City Park is the correct location. All turf fields I've been to have a fence around them to keep people from destroying the field. The same reasons why City Park would be an economic boom to Main St are a disadvantage to that location...it is too accessible to people who might not respect it. The county would also loose baseball fields and every sport has a shortage of fields. The park is utilized for Fall Fest and other large events which you couldn't have on a turf field. The question is not whether Carroll County should build turf fields, but where. I would consider building at the schools or maybe Jaycee's.
Charleen Heyn April 24, 2012 at 11:31 AM
There may be enough parking down town but traffic on the streets could be a real issue.
J Poole April 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Maybe the powers that be should take a short ride to other local tuff fields and see the draw they have!
Steve Heck April 24, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I don't see any room for parking at Jaycee's, but what about East Middle? They have a lower track where the turf field could go in the center.
Michael Onkst April 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM
M Onkst The question should be why don't we already have at least 1.
Charlie Bovash April 25, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Definitely but there better be a plan for safe, adequate parking.
Kpotorti April 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM
I think it's a great idea finally! Carroll County has so many talented young athletes...we should have a turf field!
Beth Myers May 09, 2012 at 03:26 AM
The City Park was given to the residents of Westminster in 1935. It is a wonderful open space that families of Westminster use for their enjoyment. It's purpose is NOT for making money! I have long thought that Fallfest amusements should be on the parking lot so the beautiful park is NOT torn up each fall and then the restoration of the natural grass costs thousands of dollars to restore paid out of city taxes I assume. TURF fields for county use need to be placed elsewhere .

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