Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 11/20/2013  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon recreational facility development improvements: a) Alden Bridge Sports Park safety fence;
b) Bear Branch Sportsfield #7 security fence; c) Bear Branch Sportsfields all-weather turf rules, signs and turf mats.
FISCAL IMPACT:
a) The Alden Bridge Safety Fence project cost is $20,705 plus the site and drainage improvements cost of $23,500 for a total of $44,205; b) the Bear Branch Sports Field #7 Security Fence cost is $27,885 of which 50% would be funded by Texas Rush Soccer Club for a Township share of $13,942.50; c) the Bear Branch Sports Fields all-weather turf mats cost is $2,720 and $3,200 for signs for a total of $5,920.  The total cost of all three projects is $78,010.  Accepting the Texas Rush contribution makes the Township's cost $64,067.50.  It is proposed to fund these projects from the 2013 Recreational Facilities Development Capital Project which has a balance of $6,372,707.66. 
BACKGROUND:
Alden Bridge Sports Park Safety Fence - To enhance the safety of users at Alden Bridge Sports Park, a 12 foot high fence that would run parallel to the northern limits of Fields 1 and 2 and extending down the east and west sides of these fields is proposed.
 
It was brought to the attention of the Township from sports clubs using Alden Sports Park that upon the completion of the all-weather turf project, that an untended consequence has impacted user safety.  At the times when fields 1, 2, 4 & 5 are being used simultaneously, balls from fields 1 & 2 that miss the goals enter into fields 4, 5 & 6. Particularly when lacrosse is using fields 1 & 2, the fast traveling hard lacrosse ball presents a hazard to users and spectators at fields 4 & 5.   The safety issue is present with the other sports as well. Attachment A reflects the field configuration and proposed fence and gate locations. The goal with this fence is to reduce the conflicts between fields 1 and 2 and 4, 5, 6 that present a safety hazard and provide a barrier between the fields of play and the walkway around the community garden.

Recently, the probem manifest to the degree that the fields were closed until a Safe Use Agreement could be in place between the various user groups. This Agreement does hinders optimum playing time and schedules and was proposed as an interim measure until a permanent solution could be in place. 

Staff researched other sports complexes with similar configurations and confered with the user groups (Texas Rush, i9 Sports, Lacrosse and Rugby) and recommend a 12 foot tall  fence be installed to serve as a barrier between the fields.  Various fence structures were considered including netting and a combination of 8 foot tall fence with 4 feet of netting above and 12 feet of fence.   Due to the cost and durablity of fencing, staff is recommending the 12 foot tall, black vinyl clad fence with gates.  

Three price quotes were obtained and the lowest quote is from Astro Fence at $20,705. 
ABSP Safety Fence Quotes
  8 ' fence + 4' net 12' fence
Astro Fence $21,450 $20,705
Anchor Fence $22,305 $27,499
Montco $27,000  no quote

The fence would be a 12 foot high, black vinyl clad chain link fence with black poles similar to what is used for tennis courts and community gardens in The Woodlands. There would be four gates/openings within the fence to ensure proper ingress and egress to the fields. 

In addition, there is site work required to accomodate the location of the fence and the distance needed between the new fence and playing field line and for drainage improvements.  This includes relocating the pathway that runs along Field 3 to the community garden. The fence poles need to be 5 feet off of the curb of the turf to provide the safety space between the field of play and the fence. The support poles for the new fence would be in the middle of the pathway if not relocated. It is proposed to move the pathway and perform some additional drainage work to alleviate drainage problems and enhance the use of the grass space between the pathways and the community garden. Total cost for this portion of the project is $12,500. 

Outlined as Phase 2 in  Attachment A is to construct a swale, trench drains and catch basins to the south of Field 4 to allow for the storm water run off from the parking lots and Fields 4 and 5 to be directed around the All Weather Turf Fields  versus over and through the turf fields. The cost for this portion of work is $11,000 for a total of $23,500 for the site work.  Combined with the fence cost of $20,705, the total project cost is  $44,205.

If approved, the fence and site improvements can be finalized prior to the first of the year, when the new sports seasons begin. 

Bear Branch Sports Field #7 security fence - Field #7 at Bear Branch Sports Field was designed and constructed with the intent to designate the field as the "Showcase" field, distinguishing it to be a high caliber field, expecting its quality to be of a standard for elite level play. It was constructed using laser grading, special undergound drainage, optimum soil mixture and of a size that would be the show case field of the complex.   To protect this field from vandalism, bollards and cable were installed around most of its perimeter and the north side of the field is already fenced with a black vinyl chain link fence.

Now that four of the other fields have been converted to all-weather, bringing the whole complex to the best of standards and playability,  it is of more importance of maintaining field 7 as a high-quality natural turf option.  Staff has worked to bring the condition of the turf to a high level, which was recently recognized by the Texas Turfgrass Association as "Soccer Field of The Year", a very prestiguos honor.

In order to continue to maintain Field 7 at this high standard, it is recommended to replace the bollards and cable with a chain link fence and gates.   This would allow the field to be closed off in times the field needs to be secured, restricted from play and protected. The worst threat to natural sports turf is soil compaction, which is most often brought about when play occurs on overly wet soil.  However, even when the fields have been "Closed" due to inclement weather, there are those that ignore the "Field Closed" signs and will play on the wet turf.   Having a 8 ft high, black vinyl clad chain link fence would alllow the gates to be locked to prevent this from occuring.  And as an added benefit, the fence will help contain soccer balls in the field of play so that players, coaches, parents don't have to chase errant balls.

Two price quotes were obtained and the lowest quote is from Astro Fence at $27,885.

Bear Branch Sports Field #7 Fence
Astro Fence $27,885
The Anchor Group $28,302


Texas Rush Soccer Club was made aware of the idea and has proposed to contribute 50% of the fencing costs up to $15,000. (Attachment )
 
Bear Branch Sports Fields all-weather turf rules and turf mats

At the November 2012 Board meeting, a Public Hearing was held to review and subsequently approve an amendment to Township Order 019-09 as they relate to the All Weather Turf Fields. The All Weather Turf Rules were reviewed by both DMA Sports Engineering and Mark Conner- The Township’s Risk Management Consultant at the time, and were developed from best practices for all weather turf management from around the country and with input from the local sports clubs.  (Attachment C- Township Order 019-09, Section G. ii.)

Now that the fields have been open for 10 months a concern was raised about the Rules related to the restriction of non-players and coaches to be on the all-weather turf. The concern stems at the times a sports organization arranges the size and field of play fields in such a way that in affect, does not permit a “spectator” area for non-player and coaches to easily view the game from the permitted areas of natural grass.  (Attachment D- Game Day Fields.) The fields marked as Field 5 B and 5 C are of the largest concern. The purpose behind restricting non players and spectators from an established sideline on the turf is to reduce compaction on the turf, which has a direct correlation to field drainage, playability and the life span of the turf.  Rush Soccer Club is supportive of the Rule, and endeavors to self-police their use, but is also frustrated with enforcement.

In response to this concern, the following options were reviewed with the user organization:

• Work with the user groups to identify ways in which to minimize the number of field configurations that do not permit a spectator area.  Rush has established a new standard configuration by merging field 5C and 5D together so there should no longer be a need for spectators to be on the turf.  The addition of spectator bleachers will also help with the problem and while they will be semi-permanent in an established location, have the ability to be relocated if the field configuration requires.  Bleachers were approved by the Board previously;   
• Provide heightened visibility of Park Rangers for rule enforcement of the All Weather Turf Rules;
• Add additional signs around the edge of the turf reminding users and spectators of the Rules. Friendly language would be used to remind facility users about the rule such as “Let the players play and the coaches coach- please stay off the turf” or “To preserve the field, if you are not playing or coaching, please stay off the turf”. Similar signs would be installed at Alden Bridge Sports Park. Cost for each sign with installation is estimated to be $200 per sign, $2,400 for Bear Branch Sportsfields.  In addition, signs directing people to the other fields in the complex would be added in an attempt to limit people from walking over the turf to get to the other fields ($800);
• Purchase a turf cover/mats to be laid on top of select areas of the all weather turf. The cost of the mats would be $2,720 (4 covers- 12’ x 100’ -$679.99 each). These mats could be set-up when and where needed by coaches, players and parents and/or staff and contractors, depending upon the configuration of the fields.   These mats are fairly standard for all-weather turf facilites for sideline crowds.  With this option, the Township Orders allows the President/General Manager the authority to permit non-players and coaches on the turf with the mats/cover.  With the installation of bleachers and the recent new standard configuration, it is thought the need for mats will be infrequent, but a good option to have.

The total cost for the additional signage and field mats is $5,920.  The bleachers were already approved by the Board as part of the BBSF Site Amenity Package.

RECOMMENDATION:
It is recommended to: a) authorize the expenditure of $44,205 for safety fencing and site improvments at Alden Bridge Sports Park; and, b) authorize the expenditure of $27,885 for the security fence around Field 7 at Bear Branch Sports Park of which 50% would be funded by Texas Rush Soccer Club; and c) authorize the expenditue of $5,920  for mats  and  signs at Bear Branch Sports Fields; and to fund these expenditures totalling $78,010, less the Texas Rush 50% contribution of $13,942.50; for  a total net expenditure of $64,067.50, to be funded from the 2013 Recreational Facilities Development Capital Project.
Attachments
Attachment A - ABSP Safety Fence Site Plan
Attachment B - Texas Rush Soccer Club Proposal Letter
Attachment C - Order 019-09 All Weather Turf Rules
Attachment D - BBSF Field Layout and Covers


    

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