With assistance from the city and some national associations, volunteers recently gathered at Howard Park in West Palm Beach, Florida to give the 13-acre park’s softball field a makeover.
The field needed a renovation to keep it a vibrant part of the community.
Project EverGreen, a national nonprofit devoted to creating a greener, healthier Earth), the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), the City of West Palm Beach Parks & Recreation Department and local volunteers worked together on the project.
Since 2008, Project EverGreen has renovated more than 50 community parks and restored nearly 100 million square feet of healthy turf across the country.
“Neighborhoods deserve healthy parks or community green spaces they can call their own,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Thriving parks create a community hub for neighbors – young and old – to connect. Parks help to build community pride and confidence in residents and create spaces to safely exercise and enjoy the great outdoors.”
Because the field receives heavy usage, the multi-use outfield needed enhancements to enable it to become a safe, sustainable playing surface.
STMA supported the renovation project by having more than 70 professional sport turf managers on site.
“We were thrilled to be a part of this important project and bring a well-managed and playable ballpark to a deserving community,” says Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of the STMA. “To use our professional expertise and know-how and bring a plan like this to life is a win-win for everyone.”
Volunteers – sports field managers, lawn care professionals, landscape contractors and groundskeepers – assisted with the transformation valued at more than $50,000.
West Palm Beach Director of Parks and Recreation Leah Rockwell says the renovation project was a wonderful opportunity for the city, Howard Park and park patrons to get a little TLC for the softball field and multipurpose outfield.
“Our staff had a wonderful opportunity to work alongside these highly experienced sports turf maintenance professionals, and their sharing of knowledge and tricks of the trade is immeasurable,” adds Rockwell.
The scope of the project included:
- Leveling and refurbishing the existing softball infield.
- Refurbishing the warning track.
- Laying of new grass edges along the 1st and 3rd base lines and marking the field.
- Laying and marking of new grass edges on the warning track along each foul line, and around the entire outfield perimeter.
- Re-grading the warning track to cut high spots, fill low spots and remove all weeds.
- Applying and spreading approximately 25 tons of native warning track stone to provide 1 inch of topdressing to the entire warning track.
- Inspection and adjustment of the irrigation heads to ensure proper coverage in the outfield and along the foul lines.
- Inspection and replacement of remaining irrigation heads in the outfield/soccer field.
- Core aeration, fertilization and slit seeding of the entire outfield turf from the infield radius to the warning track (approximately 60,000 sq. ft.).
- Layout and rebuilding of the pitcher’s mound and batter’s boxes/catcher’s box and installation of a new home plate.
- Removal of infield mix that bled onto the sidewalks and into the player bench areas.
- Re-grading of the infield skin surface to pull material that has migrated toward the perimeter of the infield along the base lines, around home plate and infield radius. Filling of the large low area in the center of the infield.
- Top dressing of the infield with 2 tons of conditioner.
- Refurbishment of the player benches in each dugout.
A city parks and recreation department and/or a community group can nominate a park for revitalization. Once selected, Project EverGreen works with local businesses, community groups and volunteers to transform and sustain community green spaces.