ZACHARY — City officials plan to spend about $500,000 to install artificial surfaces on four youth baseball fields, hoping the improvements would attract more-lucrative tournaments to the city.
“Hopefully, we will become a baseball destination,” Mayor David Amrhein said Thursday.
The City Council, with two members absent, voted to accept a $498,850 contract with Global Synthetics Environmental LLC, also known as Geo-Surfaces, contingent upon the Baton Rouge company providing documentation that the pricing is based on bidding accepted by the state.
“This would pay for itself in two years. We made $200,000 last year from the (Zachary Youth Park) and that doesn’t include the increased sales tax revenue when we have tournaments,” the mayor said during a discussion at a Tuesday council meeting.
The council had to call a special meeting Thursday because the item was not on the agenda for the regular meeting.
Parks and Recreation Director Shane Hebert said the proposed contract gives the city the right to pull out of the deal if unexpected conditions, such as unanticipated drainage problems, cause the price to increase.
The city will mark the locations of buried water and electrical lines on the fields, which are used by children 7 to 12 years old.
The work is expected to begin by Aug. 7 and be ready when the fall ball leagues begin play, Amrhein said.
Having artificial turf on the fields instead of grass would attract more out-of-state teams for tournaments because of the decreased likelihood of rainouts.
The new turf also would allow more games to be scheduled because grass fields need to “rest,” the mayor said.
Amrhein said some of the money needed for the project likely would come from the city’s surplus funds, depending on how much money future tournaments put into the city’s coffers.