Twin Cities Sports Commission Proposes Installing Turf at Nine Borst Park Ballfields


The Twin City Sports Commission presented a feasibility study to the Centralia City Council Tuesday which outlined the possibility of installing turf in the infields of the ballfields located at the Borst Park Sports Complex. 

The sports commission reported the move could have a $67.5 million return on investment by bringing more sports tourism to the area.

This idea of potentially turfing the nine ballfields at the sports complex was first brought to the council in December of 2019 and the council asked that a feasibility study be conducted. Sandy Wing with the Twin City Sports Commission presented the information from the feasibility study and concluded that installing turf to the fields would enable Centralia to remain competitive with other cities’ sports complexes.

“We originally came to (the council) because we see the need to stay competitive with the surrounding facilities if we want to continue attracting large events to the Twin Cities,” said Wing.

The estimated cost for turfing the infields of fields two through nine and Wheeler Field is $4,322,000. The estimated annual maintenance costs for the City of Centralia is about $92,000 per year — over the 15-year life of the turf.

The study predicted that turfing the infields would add at least 20 more playable weekends and 105 new jobs. Using mid-range analytics, the one year return on investment is $4.56 million and the 15-year return on investment is an anticipated $67.5 million.

“I would suggest, maybe in late spring, we’ll get back together and we’ll have some time to digest this. Maybe some people could reach out to community members and businesses and see if there is a group of people that would like to work on this,” said Mayor Susan Luond. “We would need to get the community excited about this to do anything with it.”  

Centralia is in an ideal location for sporting tournaments, situated between Seattle and Portland, which is an attractive quality for event promoters, Wing said. She stated that the Twin Cities is situated between a 7.4 million overnight population.

Some of the goals of the feasibility study included determining how many existing tournaments are scheduled, how many weekends are unscheduled, develop a plan for drainage, prepare potential maintenance costs and summarize the potential benefits to turfing the fields.

Wing said that it was determined that turfing the infields and having natural grass outfields would provide the largest return on investment. The ballfields at the recently completed Recreation Park in Chehalis used this method.

The feasibility study also looked at the bigger picture of combining all of the indoor and outdoor sports complexes — ballfields, basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts — in the Twin Cities with the goal of hosting 1,350 athletes each weekend of the year. If that goal is reached it could mean an estimated $21 million spent each year in the Twin Cities — $1.7 million of which would be sales tax.

“Part of this would be attracting new hotels to the area, as well,” said Wing.

Ways to fund the upgrade of the fields have not been identified yet. The sports commission has hired a grant writer to try and secure grants to help fund the project in the future.

Wing also spoke about the effects that COVID-19 could have and the possibility of live-streaming the tournaments in order to reduce the number of spectators at the events.

Dale Pullin, the director of the Twin Cities Sports Commission, estimated that it would take at least six months to complete once construction.