The two new synthetic soccer fields at Richmond Hill’s Henderson Park will be watered to keep them cool enough for the players to use, the Bryan County Commission agreed Tuesday.
The commission voted at its regularly monthly meeting Thursday in Pembroke to pay up to $30,000 to install equipment to water the fields. Summer heat can raise the temperature on synthetic fields 10 to 12 degrees, according to North Bryan recreation director Pratt Lockwood.
"We did artificial grass thinking we wouldn’t have to water it," Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said.
Lockwood provided several solutions to the heat issue on the plastic grass, all of which involved spraying the fields with water.
The idea accepted and voted on by commissioners involves mounting sprinklers on new poles with separate concrete foundations just outside the soccer field fences. Lockwood said wetting the fields down for 30 minutes would make the fields usable in the hot months.
Commissioner Rick Gardner expressed some frustration with the park, which opened in March at a cost of approximately $7 million.
"This is the problem this month. What’s going to be the problem next month?" Gardner asked about the unexpected cost, but agreed with Toby Roberts that the heat problem had to be fixed.
"Safety is paramount," Gardner said. "We don’t need anybody dying of heat stroke."
Read more of this story in Saturday's Bryan County News.