Artificial turf set for park

LAWRENCEVILLE -- This fall football will be played on artificial turf at Duncan Creek Park in the Mill Creek area.

Commissioner Kevin Kenerly said the park, which opened in 2008, will be the first to participate in a pilot program to use the turf.

While initial purchase of the turf costs $1 million, officials say the playing surface could be less costly than resodding fields destroyed by play every year, plus watering and other maintenance costs, like mowing and paint to line the field.

While Kenerly coaches a football team at the park, he said that connection was not factored in the decision to begin with Duncan Creek.

That is the most heavily used field in the county, he said, pointing to it being the largest athletic association. In addition to the huge football program there, the field is used year-round for soccer and lacrosse.

Kenerly said lacrosse officials have agree to find another field to play on at the end of this season, allowing installation to begin in April in time for the beginning of the football season.

"I can't wait to see how it is, see how the kids react," he said.

Kenerly also pointed out that the yearly maintenance costs for grass fields comes out of property tax dollars, while the artificial turf will be funded from the special purpose local option sales tax, a popular funding mechanism that is also charged to out-of-county residents who shop within Gwinnett's borders.

With $2 million earmarked for the project this year, Kenerly said a second location will be Cemetery Field in the Norcross community, where soccer is a heavy use.

That field is expected to be converted later in the year.