Q&A 2005

Our end-of-the-year compilation of questions and answers is always a big hit,

particularly since so many of the Q&As have universal application.

Furthermore, the following Q&As represent a year’s worth of troubleshooting

and lessons learned, often the hard way, hands-on, with the hope

that each contributor’s experience will make the way smoother for you.

If you get a chance, and you’ve been helped by any of this year’s contributors

to the annual Q&A feature, please drop them a line and let them know.

And, let us know if you have any questions you’d like to have answered and

we’ll do our best to find one for you, and publish it for others who might have

the same question.

We’ve divided this year’s Q&As into our four general editorial categories—

parks + playgrounds, grounds + sports turf, everything H2O and sports + fitness

+ recreation—plus a special category devoted to management + mission.

If you have any questions or comments along the way, or would like to contribute

your own experiences, please send us an e-mail at editor@northstarpubs.

com or go

to www.parksandrecbusiness.com. Thanks again…

Q: Is there a difference in cost of a synthetic

turf installation vs. an irrigated

blue grass turf installation?

A: Yes. In the Denver area synthetic turf

costs approximately three times more to

install than irrigated blue grass turf.


we feel that we will be able to amortize

the additional costs in six to eight years

through the following factors:

By using

synthetic turf there is a significant reduction

in the amount of maintenance hours

per field, materials needed (paint) to line

fields, no fertilizer, no irrigation supplies,

no weed control, no aeration, no water

costs and no mowing.

In doing the calculations

on amortization we used present

water rates and present usage rates, but

we expect water rates to rise significantly

in the next ten years and we presently

use our irrigated turf fields about seven

months per year and are using our synthetic

turf 12 months per year, which will

account for an additional five months

of revenue.

We also charge a 25 percent

higher use fee for the synthetic turf fields.

We feel that all of these factors combined

will actually help to amortize the additional

synthetic turf costs at a much higher

rate than projected.

Randy Burkhardt is a landscape

architect employed by Douglas County as

the parks and trails planner. Randy is scheduled

to give related presentations at Parks &

Rec Business LIVE! at Deer Creek State

Park, near Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 19-20.

Q: Has the irrigated blue grass turf in

your park system benefited from the use

of synthetic turf?

A: Yes. We expected the irrigated turf to

begin to recover when we removed the

majority of the soccer and football use,

but were pleasantly surprised by how fast

the turf recovered and how we are now

able to keep our irrigated turf fields in

good condition with much less maintenance

time than in the past.

—Randy Burkhardt

Q: Is synthetic turf right for all park

applications where irrigated turf has

been used in the past?

A: No. I feel that synthetic turf used on

highly programmed sports fields is

exceptional, but we still use irrigated blue

grass turf in non-programmed areas, seating

areas adjacent to the synthetic fields,

and around picnic shelters and buildings.

—Randy Burkhardt

Q: Have you seen a revenue increase

because of the synthetic turf fields?

A: Yes. This can be attributed to two factors…

First, as mentioned earlier, we

charge 25 percent higher rental fees on

our synthetic turf fields. We feel that they

are premium fields and the rental fee

reflects that.

There have been no issues

with the teams regarding these higher

fees, and we now have a waiting list of

teams wanting to rent our synthetic turf


Secondly, we have increased the

time that we are able to play on our fields

from seven months per year to yearround.

The only time that our synthetic

turf fields are down is when there is snow

covering the field.

These two factors have

led to an almost 100 percent increase in

our projected revenue for our synthetic

turf fields in 2005.

—Randy Burkhardt

Q: What are some of the best tips you’ve

learned over the years for maintaining

sports fields?

A: 1. On fields (like football/soccer)

where you have enough space, try to

move the field over or turn it 180 degrees

to try to spread out the high-wear areas.

If it’s a combination game and practice

field ask the teams to move the practices

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