Councilors approved a series of changes for Brighton's Water Tower Park athletic fields March 21, including converting three fields to artificial turf, lights for complex and fences to keep it safe.
Courtesy City of Brighton
In relatively quick succession, Brighton City Councilors spent $4.2 million March 21, all aimed at giving the city another lighted athletic field.
Councilors agreed to five resolutions at their regular meeting all aimed at converting the city's athletic fields at Water Tower Park into a water-sipping, lighted, fenced athletic complex.
"Too frequently, we don't have the resources to do the right job the first time," Councilor Clint Blackhurst said. "This time we do, and I think the only thing that's missing here is some work on the parking lot area — but that is secondary. This is essentially going to be a new facility, not just an upgrade to the fields, a new facility."
Parks Manager Ryan Smith said the work on the fields should be done by August, in time for high school and club football use.
"We have a construction timeline of roughly four months if it's approved tonight," Smith told councilors. "So that puts us into early August, complete and ready for use."
One after another, the council approved five contracts with developers for different aspects of the renovated athletic fields. They reviewed all of the items for the park at their March 15 study session.
Turf, irrigation, lights
The most expensive part of the project – and the one that will determine the schedule, according to Parks Manager Ryan Smith – is installing the artificial turf for the three fields. The turf will go down on three fields
— a 100-yard-long football/soccer field with the City of Brighton logo in the middle and two smaller 60-yard-long fields. Neighbor Damon Balcerak, a co-founder of a Brighton youth rugby league, said the fields will be welcome.
"We have had a heck of a time finding field space in Brighton over the past five years," Balcerak said. "There are what I call the typical sports that continue to grow — flag football, football, soccer — now you through the rugby program in the mix.
"It's really really tough, and a lot of fields have been in disrepair, so I just wanted to urge everyone to vote for these," Balcerak said.
Smith said the new fields would use the same kind of artificial turf used at Brighton Sports Complex and the Pawlowski Fields. That piece of the project is expected to cost $2.7 million, according to the contract councilors approved with Rocky Mountain Turf Solutions.
Smith said the city has used an average of 2.7 million gallons of water each year on the park's fields. Removing 4.2 acres of grass in the 7.7-acre park should save the city an estimated 1.85 million gallons of water per year, he said.
The complex will still require water to keep trees and other plantings alive, so councilors approved a $420,5000 contract with PSI Construction to install a new irrigation system.
"Essentially, if we don't do this part, we'd just be watering the turf," Councilor Peter Padilla said.
The entire field will be lit, Smith said, allowing night games at the field.
"There are no lights there, and they have to bring lights in on trailers," Smith said.
It would be the first fully lighted outdoor field for football, soccer and rugby in Brighton, Smith said, and the lights will all be directionally pointed down to limit light pollution for neighbors.
In all, eight lights will be installed, two each along the smaller fields and one at each corner of the larger field.
Councilors approved the $515,000 contract with Musco Sports Lighting to make that happen.
"I love the 'no light pollution'," Councilor Ann Taddeo said.
The entire complex will be enclosed in black fencing based on a $135,850 contract councilors approved with Ideal Fencing Corporation. Smith said the fencing would be similar to the kind used at Brighton's Ken Mitchell Park and is meant to keep vandals from ruining the playing field.
"Currently we don't have any fences around the field and we've had people doing donuts in their cars on the field, we've had people driving on them on motorbikes or using their trucks to plow the field at their convenience," Smith said.
Finally, councilors approved a $393,700 contract with AtoZ Recreation LLC for a new ADA-acceptable playground at the center of the three fields.
"As Mayor Pro Tem Blackhurst said, this is a whole new park," Green said. "It's a whole new park at Water Tower Park and we'll have something for all ages, even for the kids while their older brothers and sisters are playing on the fields. So I am so excited about this whole concept, this whole park, and not just the athletic fields."