Union aldermen approved a deal Monday night to provide irrigation to fields at Veterans Memorial Park.

With a unanimous 7-0 vote, the city awarded a contract to Ideal Landscape Group. The deal will pay the St. Louis-based company $36,470 for work.

The bulk of the contract is related to irrigation at the soccer fields at Veterans Memorial Park. According to the contract, Ideal Landscape Group will install irrigation sprinklers, electric valves and wiring on the three soccer fields.

The system will use the existing irrigation water supply, PVC mainline and controller. The soccer field installation will cost $34,270.

A total of 51 Toro T-7 athletic field sprinklers will be installed. Ideal Landscape Group will run 4,000 feet of 2-inch PVC pipe and 3,600 feet of 14-gauge wire for tracing lateral lines.

The other part of the project involves adding sprinklers to the infield at the championship baseball field. Four sprinklers will be added. The baseball field project carries a $2,200 price tag.

The installation has a one-year warranty on labor and a five-year warranty on all Toro parts.

Aldermen had approved $30,000 in the budget to spend on the irrigation system. The board agreed to amend the budget to pay for the overage.  

Need for Project

Park Director Angela Sullivan said irrigation is needed for the soccer fields to improve field conditions.

A September 2018 park board meeting touched on issues with the fields at the city’s newest park. Members of the Union Soccer Association voiced concerns about the field conditions.

Sullivan said she was aware of the issues. She said part of the problem is that the turf was played on before it really had a chance to develop.

Another factor is the quality of the dirt at the park. She called the dirt “horrible” and noted it’s very rocky. Tests have shown it has a high acidity level, she said. She also pointed out that trees in the park have died.

Perhaps the biggest factor, and the reason for the irrigation system, was the field was too dry, Sullivan said. Since the park opened, the city has technically been in a drought.

The lack of rain has led to struggles with the grass growing, she said.

Sullivan hoped the irrigation system would allow for regular watering and lead to the fields being in better shape.

For the baseball field, Sullivan said the sod/dirt infield is a challenge to maintain. She said the city runs the risk of “losing” the grass and having to resod if something wasn’t done.

Sullivan said the goal is to start the project as soon as possible. With the contract now approved, she said the city will be notifying Ideal Landscape Group and seeking a notice to proceed.

Work will begin when the ground is ready, she said. Because of the nature of the work, Sullivan said the ground can’t be too soggy.

Once the fields are dry enough, installation can begin and the process should be fairly quick, she said. Work is expected to be finished this summer.