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Change in field surfaces
Fake grass hardier, more cost effective
Turf 1 esWEB
John Kuntz, left, and Shawn Gregory move soil. - photo by Emily Saunders
The drought was taking a toll on some Forsyth County athletic fields and the cost to maintain them was a growing concern for county officials.

The solution? Artificial grass for three county-run fields often used for football, lacrosse and soccer.

Sharon Springs, Midway and Bennett parks are in the first stages of surface makeovers, compliments of the $100 million parks, recreation and green space bond voters approved in February.

In a 4-0 vote Nov. 6, the county commission approved using $1.29 million for the project. Chairman Charles Laughinghouse was absent.

“They’re turning dirt right now,” said Tommy Bruce, assistant director of parks and recreation. “We should be able to get more play out of the fields now. They should be safer too.”

The new turf will eliminate the need for annual maintenance, which can shut down fields for several weeks at a time.

Wayne Maddox, athletic division manager for parks and recreation, said the scheduled downtime gives maintenance crews a chance to reseed and replenish the fields, which “take a beating every year.”

“The amount of wear and tear on those fields really adds up,” Maddox said. “This will significantly lower the maintenance cost associated with them.”

Maddox said the artificial turf fields have a life expectancy of about 15 years, and the surface quality is “not what it used to be” in the 1970s or ‘80s.

“This turf has a very cushiony, spongy feel to it,” Maddox said. “It will be very similar to grass for those that fall on it ... it might even feel softer than a grass field.”

The turf has a nylon surface and is filled with several inches of rubber granules.

“This will be a very natural-feeling surface,” he said.

The Forsyth County school system had artificial grass installed last  year at each of its high school football fields.

Maddox expects contractors ProGrass LLC to be finished with the projects by March, weather permitting.

Parks and recreation director Jerry Kinsey said the new fields will “give the county more playing time on the field ... there will be less maintenance, and it will also be safer.”

E-mail Frank Reddy at