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Mt. Lebanon officials studying 4 artificial turf bids for fields

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 1:24 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A sign in a yard along Cedar Boulevard in Mt. Lebanon on Thursday, June 19, 2014, protests the controversial proposal of putting artificial turf on two baseball fields.

Four companies submitted bids on Thursday to install artificial turf on two Mt. Lebanon playing fields, but an option to use organic materials for part of the project appears to exceed the municipality's $1 million budget.

Officials opened bids from AstroTurf LLC, Frontier Sports, Palombo Landscaping and Vasco Sports Contractors for the project to replace grass at Middle and Wildcat fields, a pair of overlapping baseball and softball fields in the Main Park off Cedar Boulevard, with a multipurpose artificial turf field.

Massillon, Ohio-based Vasco appeared to be the lowest bidder for two options that would use artificial turf with a sand and crumb-rubber infill. The company bid $827,000 to install a “monofilm” surface, with artificial grass blades that are rounded and slightly stiffer, and $859,000 for a blend of monofilm and slit-film blades, which Recreation Director David Donnellan said look like the flat-bladed artificial grass used in Easter baskets.

Some residents opposed to artificial turf are concerned about chemicals in the crumb-rubber infill used to cushion the field and fill spaces between turf blades, because it is often made from recycled tires.

The bids for a field with organic infill, which would replace the crumb rubber with cork or ground coconut shells, ran from $1.3 million to $2.04 million. The lowest bid for the organic infill came from Jones Mills-based Frontier Sports.

Alternatives could be added to the project, depending on the cost, including backstops, more fencing and landscaping, a plaza recognizing donors of the $250,000 share that sports groups raised, conduits for lighting expansions and a stormwater filtration system to reduce the amount of zinc leaching out of the field in runoff.

Municipal Manager Steve Feller said officials would review the bids and present them to commissioners on June 23. If the sports groups have their money, officials could award a contract in July and crews could start construction in August.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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