Kingsport BMA OKs new turf for J. Fred

Matthew Lane • Nov 21, 2018 at 7:04 AM

KINGSPORT — New artificial turf is coming to J. Fred Johnson Stadium, a project that will cost nearly $900,000 once complete.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 6-1 to award a $853,000 contract to Field Turf USA to install artificial turf over the football and baseball field, as well as an indoor baseball practice facility at the stadium.

Alderwoman Jennifer Adler was the lone “no” vote against the measure. She said Kingsport City Schools does not have a rational plan for the maintenance and updating of its facilities.

Adler said that there are vast inequities among the playgrounds at city elementary schools and that the money spent on this artificial turf will constitute 85 percent of the school system’s maintenance funds for the year.

The new turf will replace the 10-year-old turf currently in place at the stadium, and according to school officials, it’s expected to last at least a decade.

The Board of Education has already recommended the purchase.

David Frye, the chief financial officer for Kingsport City Schools, said Field Turf USA would start work on installing the new turf as soon as possible.

“A couple of weeks from now to get the bonds in place, to get the contract signed ... it’ll probably be mid to the third week of December,” Frye told the BMA on Monday.

“If we get the same wear out of this new turf as we got out of the old one I’ll be happy,” said Alderman Tommy Olterman. “(The old turf) was in really bad shape.”

Money for the project will come from recently issued city bonds and work is estimated to wrap up by the middle of February 2019, just in time for the upcoming baseball season.

Field Turf USA is the same company that installed the turf currently in place at the stadium. According to previously published reports, the company has been hit with numerous multi-million-dollar lawsuits alleging products installed eight to 10 years ago did not perform as promised and warrantied.

In response, Field Turf USA has tried to hold its former supplier liable for the allegedly poor performing turf.

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