A synthetic turf field will be installed prior to the 2019 season at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the home of the Daytona Tortugas (High A; Florida State League).
The synthetic turf field is expected to be in place by March 1, and will replace the ballpark’s natural grass surface. This comes after Daytona Beach city commissioners voted on Wednesday to approve spending $938,391 on the project. Of that total, $355,000 will be covered by a grant from the Racing and Recreational Facilities District, with the remaining $583,391 coming from a city capital project fund.
City officials believe that the new surface will better withstand non-Tortugas events at the ballpark. More from the Daytona Beach News-Journal:
Minor League Baseball requires teams to provide a field surface without defects and trip hazards that could affect the normal play of the game or jeopardize player safety. The new turf is expected to bring the field up to Minor League Baseball standards, city officials say.
“The synthetic turf field is superior to sod in that it allows continuous play and it enables the field to withstand numerous additional community events,” Joe Piper, a city technical services project manager, wrote in a recent memo to City Manager Jim Chisholm.
Astro Turf Company, a Georgia-based operation that manufactures turf, will install the new playing surface. The company will also be responsible for removing and disposing of the existing sod and subsurface materials; clearing and grading to match the existing field grade; installing subsurface drainage structures; and installing clay and dirt structures to create a new pitcher’s mound, batter’s box and bullpen pitching areas, according to the new contract between the city and Astro Turf Company.
Work on the new turf is scheduled to start on Monday. At its current schedule, the project should finish well ahead of the Tortugas’ home opener on April 4 against the Florida Fire Frogs.