Ready for some football

Ready for some football

Tucker Field artificial turf installation nears completion

CUMBERLAND - Sights are set on the Clippers hosting their first true home football game of the season on Friday, Oct. 4, as finishing touches are made on the new artificial turf at Tucker Field.

Weather permitting, lines not already sewn into the turf should be painted this weekend, said Arthur Birchwood of Birchwood Design Group. Kick-off can happen almost as soon as that is complete, bringing home games back from Bryant University, where they have been held since the season started.

Town Councilor Bill Murray, a proponent of the field since the start, said the work has been going "better than expected," and that an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting is tentatively scheduled to take place before Cumberland High School's 7 p.m. game against St. Raphael Academy on Oct. 4.

"The contractor has been right spot-on on everything they've done," Murray said, commending them on producing a high quality product while keeping on schedule. "We couldn't be more excited. We're really lucking out with top-notch people."

Birchwood Design Group of Providence, Pare Engineering of Lincoln and R.A.D. Sports of Rockland, Mass., which counts the Patriots' Gillette Stadium turf as a past project, were hired to complete the $1 million project.

The turf subcontractor for Tucker Field is Symmetry Turf, of Mount Pleasant, Texas. On its resume are surfaces for the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Minnesota Vikings, according to co-owner Vicente Flores.

As previously reported, consulting cost $58,000, and the turf funding came together from $200,000 from a Department of Environmental Management grant, $166,000 from the FY 2013 Tucker Field account, and $600,000 from a $1.5 million bond the town will sell, as well as potentially $34,000 in private fundraising.

Birchwood said the team lucked out with weather, and now just needs to focus on getting lines painted.

The blue "C" logo at mid-field, sidelines, end lines, every fifth yard line and soccer goal lines are tufted, or created at the factory by changing the color of the roll being created, Birchwood explained. Remaining lines must be painted to keep the integrity of the field.

"The less we cut the field, the less chance for failure," he said.

Resurfacing the track with standard latex will begin once the turf field is complete, Birchwood said. That temperature- and weather-dependent project is "a little trickier" as the seasons change, but he said teams would definitely be on it by the spring.

Work includes installing track surfacing in the two "D-zones" in between end zones and the running track for high jump, long jump and pole vault. Associated lines will also be painted.

With the exception of finding a new home for javelin throwing, Cumberland's track and field activities will be able to remain the same since most throwing competitions and practices take place at another site, Birchwood said.

The existing track was in "fairly good condition" so replacement was not necessary, but at eight years old, it needed to be resurfaced, Birchwood said.

"We're very pleased," Murray said. "The quality of the work is exactly what we specified, if not more."

The field is a showpiece for their work, Murray said, noting that representatives from several towns, including Johnston, have stopped by to check out the work and inquire about services.

Birchwood touted the advantages of a turf field, saying it is essentially three fields in one because the field does not have to rest between games.

"The real benefit is the amount of time you can use that field," he said.

The completion of this multi-purpose field is the latest Tucker Field complex upgrade to happen in the past few years under Mayor Daniel McKee. Prior to this, tennis courts were replaced and basketball courts created. Next up is renovating the baseball field, Murray said, when funds become available.

The Tucker Field Walk of Memories fundraiser has been established to pay for Tucker Field work that goes beyond the scope of this project, Murray said, to be used by both the high school and youth teams.

Students, alumni and supporters of the sports facility are invited to purchase engraved bricks that will be laid by the entrance to Tucker Field near the concession stand. Benches are also available for sponsorship to create a picnic table area.

A 4-by-8-inch brick with up to three lines of text, with 14 characters per line, costs $100.

An 8-by-8-inch brick with up to six lines of text, with 14 characters per line, is available for $175.

A 12-by-12-inch granite block with up to nine lines of text, with 21 characters per line, costs $250.

A 4-foot granite bench is available for $850.

Brick order forms must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2014, to be included in the initial phase. Installation will begin in spring 2014.

Checks should be made payable to Cumberland Recreation Department and mailed to Cumberland Recreation Department, 4097 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI 02864.

Call the department at 401-334-9996 for more information.

On Saturday, laborers with Symmetry Turf of Mount Pleasant, Texas, were busy sewing together huge sheets of the new artificial surface of Tucker Field's football field. The field is expected to be ready to use in a few weeks.
The new playing surface for Tucker Field arrives in rolls last Saturday in preparation for installation there. The work on the field is expected to be completed by this weekend.