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Right time for all-purpose turf athletic field in Goodrich?

December 01, 2010 - Dear Editor,

At first blush it seems that a turf athletic field is extravagant in the current economic downturn. Evaluating this for possible benefits to our community and schools compared to the cost has stimulated several thoughts I would like to share before we as the Goodrich community decide where to spend our bond money. Our current high school football field costs $25,000 yearly for maintenance and preparation for home games.

The district estimates the annual use of the field for GHS football and community use to be around 30 times a year. This per usage cost is $833, which seems a little expensive to me. The current grass field is only used for football games and is unavailable from March through November due to it being fragile and unable to tolerate excess water and traffic. Many of you may remember the 2009 Powers "mud-bowl" playoff game.

An all-purpose turf field has many advantages we currently do not enjoy with our natural field. An artificial field is not harmed by daily use or weather and would be amendable to use by many different community and school organizations. In addition to football it will be used by community and school soccer, youth football, marching band, cheerleading, physical education classes, dance teams and spring baseball. Imagine, if you will, seeing your child play a night soccer game, or participate in a band competition, or a young child's excitement playing on the field the first time in third or fourth grade; all of this would be possible with a turf field. Perhaps the schools can actually generate revenue by hosting a variety of events. Booster clubs also would have greater opportunities selling their wares or running the concession stand for additional events.

Is investing 1.9 percent of the bond money and creating a venue from which to watch our children, grandchildren, families and friends compete a valuable project? Perhaps it is, but if we feel it is not, than we need to participate in this decision.

This issue is not 100 percent decided at this time. John Fazer, the school superintendent, is currently scheduling community forums in December and January seeking our participation in the bond project. I look forward to these meetings and anticipate that our collective input will greatly benefit our community and keep the great in Goodrich!

Hank Landsgaard (father of five in the district)

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