Centralia City Council approves turfing contract for Borst Park fields; parks director applying for more grants for new field lighting

Apr. 26—The City of Centralia is moving forward with plans to install artificial turf on Wheeler Field and Field 2 at Fort Borst Park after the Centralia City Council unanimously voted to approve a contract Tuesday night, April 23..

The contract is with FieldTurf and Robert Droll of Robert W. Droll Landscape Architects to design, prepare the fields and install the turf.

Amy Buckler, Centralia deputy city manager and parks director, told the council the bulk of the design involved with turfing the fields is to ensure they drain properly during heavy rain and flooding.

"(FieldTurf) has decades of experience with turf, and through them we would also be working with Bob Droll, who is a leader in the industry when it comes to drainage systems," Buckler said.

Before turf is installed, the fields will need to be prepared, which involves removing approximately 8 inches of dirt from the fields and replacing it with crushed rock, a porous foam pad, the artificial turf and sand.

"What the sand does is it makes the artificial fiber play properly, and the pad underneath is a cushion underneath for the players," Buckler said.

Normally, small rubber pellets are used with artificial turf instead of sand, but as the fields are in a floodplain, the city must use sand to ensure it abides by Washington state Department of Ecology guidelines.

"We looked at all kinds of alternatives ... but for all kinds of reasons, sand is really the best option for us here," Buckler said.

Tarps to be used during flooding will be incorporated into the turfed fields' new design as well, with the goal to have them cover the turf and make it easier to remove sediment deposited by floodwaters.

A floodgate for the drainage system is also being incorporated to prevent sediment from entering it during flooding.

The total cost for the design, preparation and installation of artificial turf at Wheeler Field and Field 2 is $1,435,770.38, according to the council's meeting agenda report. The total cost does not include turf maintenance equipment, which is estimated to cost $15,000 and will be purchased separately in cooperation with the Centralia School District.

Buckler asked for $50,000 in contingency funds to be authorized if the project runs into unknown site conditions. The council approved the request.

She also informed the council Wheeler Field's new lights will be installed by the end of May and that she is currently applying for more grants to fund light replacement at Fort Borst Park's other fields.

One is a TransAlta grant, while two others are community outdoor athletics grant applications being submitted to the Washington state Recreation Conservation Office (RCO).

"(The RCO grants are) very competitive, so I'm not too hopeful on that one, but I'm also working on another really big one called youth athletic facility grants," Buckler said.

Over the past three years, the City of Centralia has been working with the Centralia School District, the Northwest Sports Hub and the Lewis County Public Facilities District to fund the turfing of Borst Park's fields.

The Centralia School District is handling the turfing of the fields at The Quad at Borst Park, and will be putting that project out to bid within the next few weeks, Buckler said.

"The Quad is going first. That starts on July 15," Ron Averill, Lewis County Public Facilities District board chairman, added.

In total, approximately $4.5 million was allocated for the fields by all the partners involved, with $1.45 million coming from Centralia's American Rescue Plan Act funds.

FieldTurf is a division of the French company Tarkett and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with its main production facility in Calhoun, Georgia. To learn more, visit

Robert W. Droll Landscape Architects is located in Lacey. For more information, visit