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City approves contract for cool new stadium turf

Brock A. Stein | 9/21/2017, 6 a.m.
The city didn’t go with the lowest bid for its new Slammer’s Stadium artificial turf but thinks that the additional ...

The city didn’t go with the lowest bid for its new Slammer’s Stadium artificial turf but thinks that the additional money will provide a cooler playing surface.

The City received 5 bids for the turf replacement project ranging from $471,000 up to $980,000 but officials deemed the low bid from Plainfield-based Midwest Sport and Turf as not meeting the criteria for the bid citing the drainage system and lack of a cooling system.

City staff instead recommended the next lowest bid from Glen Ellyn-based Field Turf, USA for $585,456 about $4,000 below the original engineering estimate for the work. However, the city also recommended the addition of a Cool Play system that will lower the temperature of the playing surface about 35 degrees during the summer months. That will add another $65,733 to the cost for a total of $651,189.

The city council approved the second lowest bid Tuesday night with council members Larry Hug and Jan Quillman voting against the contract.

“I just can’t see not taking the lower bid,” said Quillman.

Tom Cunniff, Director of Sales for Midwest Sport and Turf, had asked the city to reconsider their recommendation Monday night, saying that the savings could be put to better use.

“There’s a lot of things you can do with that $115,000,” said Cunniff who disagreed with the city’s assessment of the bid and their reasoning for disqualifying the bid. He also disagreed with the effectiveness of the cooling system touted by Field Turf.

“It’s the holy grail of synthetic turf,” he said of the Cool Play add on, “There is nothing that will cool the turf.”

Cunniff said that the significant costs savings reflected in his bid is a result of the business being local and the money savings realized from not having to put an out of town install crew in hotels during the course of the project.

City Manager Martin Shanhahan said that the Cool Play system “doesn’t cool the surface but keeps it cooler than the surface would be otherwise.”

Jonathan Huard Regional Sales Manager for Field Turf said that his company’s original “premise was to design something as close to natural grass as possible.”

The system will include the carpet-like turf along with a layer of sand to hold it in place topped with silica sand, pulverized rubber granules plus the Cool Play component that’s made of extruded mineral composite which he said reduces the temperature.

Earlier in September, the city council approved just over $953,000 in contracts for landscaping, site and utilities excavation, fencing, concrete and wall padding work that will be completed ahead of the new artificial turf installation.

In total, the city is planning to invest just over $1.8 million in upgrades to the former Silver Cross Field with the funds paid by the city but reimbursed at $50,000 per year from its TIF fund along with another $100,000 from a Waste Management Community Support fund over the next 12 years.

City officials hope that the turf and other upgrades will make the field more versatile and attract more use for youth baseball tournaments, soccer, and other non-sport uses to draw more people to the downtown.