Artificial turf plans at Stagecoach Park moving forward
The plan to put artificial turf on the lacrosse field at Stagecoach Park came a step closer when the Evergreen Park & Recreation District board of directors unanimously agreed to accept the money from a nonprofit to fund the work.
The board accepted the donation from the Teddy Wetzel Memorial Field Project on May 10, which will continue the project from the end of the EPRD, although Evergreen’s Scot and Charlotte Wetzel, who lead the project, have yet to check with the project funders and more to proceed .
“We have a way to run before we can do this,” said EPRD board chairman Peter Lindquist.
The EPRD board has raised some reservations about accepting the money: all installation costs will be covered by the donation, the funds will be made available to the Rec district before work begins, construction follows EPRD guidelines and requirements, all Remaining funds from the donation will be provided. All approvals will be obtained as a replacement fund, and the district and the Wetzel family agree on the reserve account to replace the field.
Change of location
The Wetzels told the EPRD board at their April 27 meeting that they were originally planning to convert a gravel field off Buffalo Park Road between Evergreen High School and Wilmot Elementary School into an artificial turf field. It would honor their son, Robert Edward “Teddy” Wetzel, who died on August 5, 2017. He was an aspiring student at Evergreen High School.
The family is having some issues with Jefferson County Planning & Zoning, and instead of moving the project timeline further, they are trying to switch gears to the Stagecoach Park project.
Scot Wetzel said he wanted assurances that the work could be completed this summer in order to keep donors happy.
“Our main concern is whether you can do it in a timely manner,” said Scot Wetzel. “When we hear that it will take six to eight months, our donors may want us to stay with (the) Wilmot (place) is my guess.”
Park operations manager Heart Cameron said the timing of construction would depend on how quickly EPRD staff could get the necessary permits.
The project’s timeline is rushed as the nonprofit’s two major donors – the Daniels Fund and the El Pomar Foundation – expect the field to be completed this summer.
Ellen O’Connor, Executive Director of EPRD, said once the Rec District and Wetzels are certain that the Stagecoach project will be completed, the Rec District will host a community meeting to provide details about the project. Officials want to answer questions to both the neighbors and the community.
“I believe this will be a win-win for our community, especially for youth sports,” said Ellen O’Connor, EPRD Executive Director.
According to EPRD officials, the preliminary estimate for installing artificial turf on the 80,000-square-foot field is $ 624,000. The Wetzels have raised around $ 650,000.
Joe Nicholson of Colorado Parks and Wildlife told the Rec Board that bringing artificial turf to the field would be great for the wildlife because once the moose find out the turf is not grass, they stay away, which is the conflict between wildlife and People would decrease.
Cameron added that the turf field would be more accessible to everyone.
Charlotte Wetzel added that accessibility is part of the couple’s vision for the field.
Cameron noted that over the past few weeks rainfall has banned teams from practicing on the district’s lawns while the Marsdale artificial turf field was still open. He hoped that adding a second artificial turf field in the recreation area would give the teams more practice opportunities.
Some board members were concerned about how the Rec District would find money to put on a reserve account to pay for the field replacement in 10 years. Officials estimated that between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000 would need to be deposited into a reserve account each year.
The district is already putting money in reserve accounts to replace the Marshdale artificial turf field, the Wulf Recreation Center pool and future park development.
Board members said that especially in 2000, when the district lost about a third of its revenue to COVID-19, they were suspicious of putting more money away at the expense of other programs and projects.
Cameron said the district would save $ 10,000 annually in turf maintenance costs, and he suggested the district could host more tournaments and other events to generate extra cash.
The Wetzels said they would be willing to donate $ 10,000 a year for maintenance fees, and board members recognized the generous efforts made to help the district build the field.