A major sports venue can be expensive to maintain, repair or renovate, and even when it’s handling laying turf in the local sports field, quite a bit of funding is going to be needed. Which is why the Barberton local community have launched a fundraising effort in order to raise $750,000 needed to pay for laying turf in the local high school before the 2019 season comes in.
Barberton Community Foundation President Jim Stonkus is one of the partners of the project, and says that it has been encouraging and welcoming to see locals, like school boosters and business owners, backing the project, expressing that the local community needs to handle laying turf in the field; that they need to get it done.
The Athletic Director for Barberton City Schools, John Sabol, says that, out of the 15 teams that are part of the local football league, only four schools had managed to replace the grass on their fields with turf.
He adds that there’s a good reason to go through with laying turf, as turf is a more consistent, meaning safer, surface, which leads to fewer injuries; less sprained ankles, injured knees, and, more importantly, far less concussions. He says that it’s not about keeping up with what’s hip and new, it’s about the safety of the people on the fields.
Stonkus says that Barberton have been discussing laying turf for over a decade now, but the two prior attempts to raise funding went nowhere, but this time, he says, it’s different. He explains that football is a contact sport, so the slippery surface of wet grass can be dangerous for them.
An additional benefit, Sabol says, is that the fields would also be able to hold more teams, gym classes, and, if needed, community events.
A grass field generally only gets used 25 times annually, because it demands a bit of maintenance and a recovery period following each use, whilst a turf surface would not be subject to the same demands. The new turf, chosen from the Maumee Bay Turf Center, is expected to last 8 years at minimum.
In order to raise funds, a professional auction will be held on the 12th of May at Barberton High School, 6-9PM. Those who want to participate can purchase tickets for $20 and come with stadium-style food and drinks. Those who participate on the auction can bid on 100 items, which include an autographed Goo Goo Dolls guitar, signed sports equipment, a day with the principal, and dinner with the local firefighters, among others.