City of Grass Valley partners with school district to install artificial turf sports field at Lyman Gilmore |

City of Grass Valley partners with school district to install artificial turf sports field at Lyman Gilmore

Grass Valley’s city council was applauded — literally — Tuesday night when they approved a $1.5 million purchase of a new all-season sports field, to be installed through a joint use agreement with the Grass Valley School District.

A number of pint-sized soccer players and their parents were on hand to advocate for the field, telling the council members how hard it has been to play on the fields that are currently available to them.

“I think it’s a good idea,” 10-year-old Ben Law said, adding, “I don’t like to play soccer when it’s really muddy.”

Aonghas Wright agreed, telling the council many of the fields his team plays soccer on have “a lot of bumps” that make him trip.

A decision by city staff to opt for cork infill rather than rubber, which absorbs more impact and plays more like a grass field, also drew praise.

“The cork will make it cooler,” Akhil Childs said. “The rubber gets really hot in the summer.”

The artificial turf field represents a major use of funds from the Measure E sales tax, which was passed by voters last June. Those revenues are earmarked for general fund programs, specifically law enforcement, fire, and parks and recreation. In recent months the council also approved Measure E funds be used to hire a tech analyst for the police department and to install two turnkey bathroom facilities at Memorial and Minnie parks.

The Measure E oversight committee met in March and recommended the council approve the purchase of the 84,000-square-foot all-weather field, City Manager Tim Kiser told the council. The total cost for the turnkey field from FieldTurf is $1,558,743, Kiser said.

The field is under warrantee for eight years, but other school districts that have installed similar fields told Kiser they last about 12-13 years.

The field will be installed at Lyman Gilmore Middle School through a 25-year joint use agreement and will improve recreational opportunities for the public and the community, Kiser said.

As part of the agreement, the city will be responsible for: scheduling, operating and maintaining the parking lot next to the field; installing and maintaining a new irrigation system; refurbishing the existing fields at Grass Valley Charter School and Scotten Elementary School; and installing the artificial turf sports field, including fencing and a concrete pathway.

The school district will be responsible for providing and paying for providing a high-speed Internet connection for video surveillance cameras and irrigation controller at each site and making the playground area available for public use during the hours the city operates the fields. According to the city manager, the goal is to have the field in place for summer play.

“We want this field used every possible hour it can,” Kiser said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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