Turf talk: Covering concrete would extend facility use

Kenai City Council considers way to make Kenai Multipurpose Facility more than just a winter ice rink

Posted: Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Thinking somewhat as a visionary, the student representative to the Kenai City Council presented an idea to use the city’s multipurpose center for more than just ice hockey in the winter.

Kenai Central High School senior Les Krusen told the council the use of the ConocoPhillips/City of Kenai Multipurpose Facility could be extended by installing artificial turf.

“A lot of groups would benefit,” Krusen said.

Little League baseball and softball players, indoor soccer teams, lacrosse players and others could use the center “for the shoulder and summer months,” Krusen told the council.

He also said the center could be opened to the general public.

“Parents could use it to toss a football around with their kids if it’s cold outside,” Krusen said.

The turfed center could be used by soccer teams waiting for the remnants of winter’s snow and ice to melt off outdoor soccer fields, and Krusen said the Arctic Winter Games demonstrated Kenai Peninsula’s enthusiasm for indoor soccer, which could be played at the center year round.

Weather also is a consideration for early season baseball and softball practice.

“Mucking around in the wet cold grass is no fun at all, and makes it impossible to practice anything except rudimentary throwing skills,” Krusen said in a printed memo to the council.

Krusen said lacrosse is growing in popularity in the Kenai area with 65 children already playing in the lacrosse league.

“In fact the proposed turf (available from Rec-Turf) comes ready made for lacrosse play, complete with lacrosse lines painted on,” Krusen said.

He said the area to be surfaced measures 70 by 180 feet, and could be done at a cost of $70,000.

Showing the council some photos of the multipurpose center, Krusen said when the ice comes out following hockey season, the center sits idle with an expansive indoor concrete floor.

He said the concrete floor could be covered with a layer of artificial turf that is placed on top of a thin pad that comes with it. An additional cushion between the thin pad and the concrete also is recommended.

Peripheral businesses could also benefit from having the center artificially turfed for yearlong use, according to Krusen’s plan.

“Soccer moms need gas, hungry and tuckered out kids need food (and) victorious teams need a place to celebrate,” he said.

Krusen suggested users be charged a fee that would in turn go toward covering the cost of the turf.

Ideally it should not be viewed as a money-making venture, but rather as “a quality of life commodity,” Krusen said.

Council members Linda Swarner and Joe Moore complimented Krusen’s idea and Mayor Pat Porter said, “If you have a vision, you can make it happen.”

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