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More Than Turf: Transforming a Community with Upgraded Sports Facilities

The City of Sierra Vista recently unveiled new sports fields to residents, marking the beginning of a larger initiative to increase pride, engagement, and sports tourism in the scenic Southern Arizona locale. The sustainable turf and upgraded lighting are designed to help the players on the field, and the bottom line off the field. As one component of Sierra Vista’s comprehensive electrical infrastructure modernization project, the complex will contribute to a total energy savings and projected revenue generation of over $20 million for the city.

Laura Wilson, Director, Leisure and Library Services for the City of Sierra Vista, celebrated the Domingo Paiz Soccer Fields project completion with an event for all residents to enjoy. Wilson has served the city in various capacities since 1996 and has taken an active role in the economic development of her community.

Here are her takeaways on how the modernization project will impact the city she loves:

Why did the City of Sierra Vista choose to do this renovation to the sports complex?

Our sports fields required some significant improvements due to continuous usage by our extremely active sports community. Identifying funding opportunities to make the necessary repairs was challenging. Tying these projects in with an Energy Performance Contract gave us an opportunity to deliver optimal results for our regular users while also providing extraordinary tournament options in southeastern Arizona.

The improvements provide 24/7 access, 365 days per year, by eliminating the need for annual closures for field rehabilitation. They also reduce staff time and materials needed for maintenance and field lining prep, while reducing water usage and energy consumption.

Best of all, the renovated sports complex creates many opportunities for partnerships throughout our region and beyond that can bolster efforts to attract new tournaments, visitors, and dollars to Sierra Vista.

How does a project like this one impact the community?

I think having well maintained and environmentally-conscious facilities helps the City foster a sense of pride in our community felt by local residents and business owners. We hope these improved facilities will help our residents enjoy an active lifestyle year-round, create new community partnerships, and bring visitors to our area who will enjoy our local restaurants, bars, hotels, and businesses, which will bolster the City’s sports tourism efforts.

What new opportunities or goals are achievable with this renovation, that previously the community wouldn’t have been able to do?

Many of our community sports teams would leave the area fairly regularly to participate in year-round league play and tournaments. Our previous field conditions left us with limited options for providing safe, tournament-conditioned play surfaces due to multiple maintenance closures, which contributed to limited availability.

The improved soccer facilities are pre-marked for multiple age-group play, which includes a field that meets NCAA dimensions. These fields are ready to go 365 days a year, which gives us an opportunity to welcome everything from recreational teams to international and collegiate teams to our community for trainings, games, tournaments, ID Camps, friendly matches, etc. Our climate in southeast Arizona is typically 10-15 degrees cooler than Phoenix and Tucson year-round, so it provides unique opportunities during summer months for those wishing to beat the heat.

We have chosen Eco Therm as our fill, which is 100% biodegradable and keeps turf conditions up to 20 degrees cooler for player comfort. Our softball and baseball fields are natural turf and well-maintained year-round.

The state-of-the-art Musco LED lighting in all of our sports complexes provides better player visibility, less-glare, and protects our beautiful dark skies from light pollution. Our multi-purpose fields also provide space for additional field markings on natural grass if needed. These significant improvements to our facilities allow us to meet the growing demands of the sporting community without increasing our current footprint. It is a much more efficient use of current space.

What does the community think of the upgraded athletic facilities?

So far, I have only received positive feedback about the facilities from the users and we certainly appreciate their patience during construction. Our residents feel the improved facilities have been well worth the wait!

The city is set to wrap up construction on upgrades city-wide—including the police department, city hall, community wave pool, additional soccer fields, main outdoor event venue, and wastewater operations park—early this year.

Watch: Sierra Vista Celebrates New Fields and Reduced Operational Costs