Work to install artificial turf begins at Phenix City stadium

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 26, 2014 

The green grass of Phenix City’s Garrett-Harrison Stadium is gone, soon to be replaced with a new artificial surface.

Pittsburgh-based ProGrass LLC has begun grading the surface and should be finished in less than two months, City Manager Wallace Hunter said Wednesday.

“They should be through by May 14,” Hunter said.

A three-man crew was on the field Wednesday leveling the dirt surface after all the grass was removed.

The grass will be used throughout Phenix City, Hunter said.

“It’s good grass and we will use it in other parks and places, including Lakewood Golf Course,” he said.

When Phenix City Council voted 5-0 to replace the surface in January, it was reported they were spending more than $100,000 a year on maintenance and other costs. The field comes with a 10-year warranty and it will save the city money in the long run because maintenance, fertilizer and other costs will be eliminated or greatly reduced.

In this area, the ProGrass surface is in place at Troy University, Jacksonville State University, Prattville High and Colquitt County High in Georgia.

The only local high school facilities with an artificial surfaces are Opelika High School and Harris County. The field at Harris County was installed in 2012 after the stadium was heavily damaged by a tornado. The school district reportedly spent $1.29 million to put in artificial turf and resurface the track around the field.

One issue involving the new surface is unresolved.

Last month, council rejected an bid from Earth-Scapes Inc. of Phenix City for the fencing and installation, saying it was higher than budgeted. The bid was $65,456 for the materials or $89,936 for the fencing and installation.

The metal fence is to be placed between the playing field and seating inside the stadium.

Under Alabama law, if one or fewer bids is received, the city can negotiate for a lower price. That process is ongoing, Hunter said.

The city has about $200,000 remaining to complete the work. In addition to the new fence, the city is looking to add a sidewalk on the outside of it and enhance the scoreboard with a video screen. Those projects have yet been put out for bid.

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