Turf drive: Silver Fox Foundation begins campaign to replace grass football field

August 2015 Posted in Community, Sports
How to help
Those interested in assisting
with the campaign to install artificial
turf at McGinnis Field should go to
www.gofundme.com/zm7qr94.

Organizers say they need cash donations,
in-kind donations, manpower and community
networking and fundraising ideas.

Committee members
David Zagorodney, Silverton Alumni
Association. He is president of the
Northwest College of Construction in Portland.

Curtis Stultz, president of the Silverton
Youth Football Organization.

Jim Hobbs, representing the
Silver Fox Foundation. Hobbs owns
Hobbs Painting in Silverton.

Tara Kramer, Silverton resident
who also owns Ri-Ky Roofing in Portland.
Greg Kaatz, Silverton High athletic director.

By James Day

The Silverton community has begun a fundraising drive to spruce up McGinnis Field at the old high school campus on Schlador Street.

The $1 million project, which would include artificial turf, a new track surface and upgraded field lights, is being spearheaded by the Silver Fox Foundation with assistance from youth sports groups.

The project already has received a $50,000 grant from USA Football and $10,000 from the Trust Fund of Dean Stiles. Organizers need to raise an additional $400,000 in cash, with the rest of the $1 million coming from donations of materials and labor.

The group hopes to break ground June 1, 2016 and have the remodeled facility ready for the fall 2016 season. McGinnis Field will be used for football, track and field and soccer for Silverton High School teams and also will be available for community and youth sports programs.

McGinnis Field currently is used about 20 times a year. Organizers expect the new facility to be used hundreds of times per year for a wide range of activities.

“We’re seeing the same things that everybody else is seeing with facilities,” Silverton athletic director Greg Kaatz told Our Town. “We want kids to be involved. We’re trying to get things to a place where kids can get out and be active. A grass field just doesn’t hold up. In (the Mid-Willamette Conference) four of the eight (schools) currently have synthetic fields, which they use for track, soccer and football. We’re trying to keep up and provide opportunities for kids to be more active.”

Kaatz emphasized the project will not use any school district general fund dollars.

“This is separate from the district because there are other more important things going on with the school district,” Kaatz said. “This is a community project, not a school district project. The Silver Fox Foundation and youth groups will upgrade the facility and donate it back to the school district That’s a big deal. We’re trying to be smart.”

Kaatz noted that the school would save $15,000 per year in maintenance costs for the grass field and also would no longer have to water it.

“You just drag the field and fluff the pellets,” Kaatz said. “The (maintenance) cost is virtually zero.”

Kaatz said the consistency and health and safety advantages also figure into the equation.

“One of the biggest things with natural grass is that there are uneven areas,” Kaatz said. “Plus when it gets muddy it’s a challenge to run on. One of the biggest benefits with artificial turf is that it is consistent in all types of weather. That reduces the risk or tripping or falling. In terms of injuries that are non-contact injuries, the risk of injuries decreases with artificial turf.”

An under-appreciated benefit of artificial turf is its value for practice. Teams play once a week but practice all week. Kaatz said that Foxes football coach John Mannion has been forced to move his practices periodically as the practice areas got chewed up. And when the Foxes were making their run to the 2014 state Class 5A championship game the team practiced on artificial turf at Canby High.

“It can be done,” summed up Kaatz. “Silverton is a great place with a lot of pride. This could bring huge excitement to our community. You won’t be able to grasp what it means until we get it in. And then I think there will be an awe factor.”

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