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ORT: OR Council OKs synthetic turf for Blankenship

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council on Tuesday approved a $800,000 contract to buy and install synthetic turf at Blankenship Field.

Council approved the contract in 5-0 vote during a special meeting Tuesday evening in the Multipurpose Room in the Central Services Complex in central Oak Ridge.

The contract was awarded to Field Turf USA Inc. of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. The company has a regional office in Calhoun, Georgia.

The contract says the purchase and installation of the synthetic turf are not to exceed $800,000. That amount includes the Field Turf quote of $755,879, plus a contingency fee for additional unexpected costs, such as addressing unsuitable soils.

The synthetic turf will replace the existing Bermuda grass on Blankenship Field, which is used for high school and middle school football games and high school graduation.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which is providing about half of the funding through a state grant, has to approve the contract, Watson said, and there will be some negotiations related to the turf.

City officials should know more in the next five to seven days, Watson said.

City Council agreed in March 2016 to apply for a state grant for the project. Later, the TDEC Recreation Educational Services awarded a $496,000 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant to the city, with a match of $496,000 required. That’s a total of $992,000 in available funding.

“Funding for the grant, along with any additional costs not covered under the grant, will be provided by the Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation,” Watson told Council members.

On Tuesday, Oak Ridge City Attorney Ken Krushenski said the foundation has the funds available.

The rest of the available funds will be used for other parts of the project, including resurfacing of the track around the field, installation of a new accessible restroom, and improvements to the adjacent Cedar Hill Greenway trailhead.

Accepting the state grant means the field must be open to the public.

Other area high schools have also installed synthetic turf in the past few years.

For more information, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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