New Viera turf fields to give boost to area youth sports, economy
Workers put the finishing touches on one of 7 fields soon to feature AstroTurf at Viera Regional Park.
Photo by Jill Blue
Viera Regional Park will soon be home to seven new fields that feature AstroTurf field surfaces that will host various football, soccer and lacrosse events.
Two of the fields at the park, located at the park complex off Judge Fran Jamieson Way, had already been completed at the time of a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 1 in Viera. Don Walker, communications director for Brevard County government, said that all of the fields would be completed and ready for use in October.
“These are football, soccer and lacrosse fields and it’s about a $6 million investment to put Astro turf on these fields so we can use the fields year-round,” Walker said. “We’re not going to have games rained out because of the bad weather. We’ll be able to have kids out hear playing all year long.”
Walker added that the United States Sports Specialty Association (USSSA), which also operates the baseball and softball fields in and around Space Coast Stadium, will be in charge of maintenance when the fields are completed.
“It’s going to save the county money over the next ten years on the maintenance of these fields which runs around $70,000 for each field and hopefully if they are able to take it over in (perpetuity) it’ll be even more savings down the road,” Walker said.
That won’t be the only way residents see benefits from the new turf fields, adds Bonnie King, Deputy Director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism, with the idea that tournaments will be held attracting teams from outside of Brevard similar to the way it’s been occurring at the baseball and softball fields.
“We have that, and then we have the idea of all the economic impact that this will have in our community, King said. “Staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, you know food, gas, retail, all that, all that’s part of it. It’s a big boon to this community. “
It also shapes up as a big boost to local youth sports organizations, including the Suntree/Viera Youth Football League, which plays its home games at the park. According to Chad Vice, league commissioner, there were issues regarding rain impacting the fields when they were grass and there were potholes that caused safety issues for participants.
“In all honesty, when it comes to the safety of our kids that what we care about the most,” Vice said.
But those concerns are no longer an issue, and Vice also noted that the installation of the new turf fields was already boosting enrollment with his organization.
“When I showed up this morning and I had a football with me and I gave them a football and they ran out on that thing, the expression on their face said it all,” Vice added. “That is all worth it because of that right there. These kids love this field.”