The new track at Kenai Central High School is ready to use, but users are being asked to tread lightly on the recently completed surface.
“Here’s the deal,” said Kenai City Manager Rick Koch. “You can run on it. You can jog on it. You can walk on it.”
But that is it, he said.
A roller-skier with metal-tipped ski poles and cyclists have been skating and pedaling laps around Kenai Central High School’s new track and artificial turf field. A Kenai Peninsula Borough maintenance worker also recently drove a lawn mower over the track, Koch said.
“That put me right through the roof,” Koch said.
Rollerblade wheels, bicycle tires and lawnmower treads — as well as spiked running shoes and soft-soled boots — will damage the rubberized track, he said. Rotation can tear the track’s surface.
Signs posted at the track also encourage recreational joggers to run the track’s outer lanes. The inside three lanes receive the most runners, and the track will wear unevenly if one side is favored more than the other, he said.
The high school’s new turf field requires the same consideration. Koch said athletes should use non-aggressive cleats and avoid rollerblades, ski poles and bicycles.
Winter-time maintenance is a difficult operation for the same reason — the track and field are delicate.
To clear the facility in the spring, a city employee will blow snow from the track and field with a small blower used to clear sidewalks, Koch said. The only stipulation: the blower’s wheels must remain an inch above the track and field surface, he said. Otherwise it can tear out chunks of the track or turf, he said.
“It’s a lot of money,” he said about the facility. “It’s something that should last at least 15 years, maybe 20,” but it must be treated correctly.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.