Community leaders and local residents came out to the Glendale Sports
Complex Friday evening to break in the new "grass" -- artificial
sports turf that looks, feels and acts like grass, but isn't.
"It's really squishy," said 11-year-old Shelby Gregg, a La
Crescenta resident and a member of the local American Youth Soccer
Organization team. "It's kind of weird stepping on it. If you haven't
used it before, it's interesting. But I'm sure I'll get used to it."
Work on the two soccer fields at the Glendale Sports Complex and
construction of a new track wrapped up Wednesday, ahead of schedule
and under budget, project administrator Rich Inga said.
Friday marked the official dedication of the new turf and track,
with soccer activities and refreshments.
"It is just beautiful," said Karen Fries, community services
supervisor with the Glendale Parks, Recreation and Community Services
Department. "I think just the fact that we will now have year-round
play is great. We used to have to have maintenance time to re-group
the field, but now we can have year-round play."
The additions and upgrades, approved last November, were
originally estimated to cost $2.2 million. But the project capped at
$1.75 million when all was said and done, Inga said.
The Sports Complex previously had two grass soccer fields but
maintaining the grass became difficult and pricey, project manager
Shahen Begoumian said.
"It is just night and day," Inga said. "There's a big difference
between playing in dirt and playing on grass, and that's what it was
before, people playing on the fields, because it had so much use, the
fields were in dirt most of the time."
This new turf, made of nylon, drains better and provides a playing
surface less likely to injure players, Begoumian said.
And maintenance is cheaper because there is no watering involved.
Parks and Recreation officials estimate they can save $50,000 to
$70,000 a year on maintenance costs.
"The most important thing is that the kids will be able to play in
the winter or summer, no matter what the season," said Glendale Mayor
Rafi Manoukian. "If we can do more of this around the city, we
The turf will require only minor maintenance once a month to clean
the material, a decrease from the sometimes several months it can
take to regrow and maintain real grass after a season of usage,
The fields are home to local independent and adult soccer leagues,
as well as the American Youth Soccer Organization teams, which
presented the city with a $50,000 check Tuesday, at the City Council
meeting, to help offset project costs, Inga said.
* TANIA CHATILA covers public safety and courts. She may be
reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at