Contract Approved For Synthetic Turf Field At Acreage Park

The ITID Board of Supervisors — (L-R) Keith Jordano, Elizabeth Accomando, Betty Argue, Michael Johnson and Patricia Farrell.

By early 2025, athletes should have a new $1.7 million synthetic turf football and soccer field to enjoy at Acreage Community Park’s South Campus.

The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a contract for the field with LTG Sports Turf One at their June 5 meeting.

“[LTG] hit all the buttons we were looking for,” Kenny Lawrence, the district’s parks and recreation director, told the supervisors. “This is collegiate-level stuff.”

Indeed, LTG’s Turf One fields are used at the training facilities of the University of Miami, the University of Central Florida, Nova Southeastern University, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the MSL’s Inter Miami. The New York Mets also use it in their spring training home in Port St. Lucie, according to the company’s web site.

Closer to home, Wellington High School has a Turf One field, which meant that ITID did not have to put the contract out to bid because the company already was approved by Palm Beach County and the State of Florida as offering “best available pricing,” Lawrence said.

As part of the total, the district OKed a $72,420 upgrade to what is called CoolPlay Infill, which is millions of small pellets worked into the field to help absorb impact and keep the turf cooler under South Florida’s hot sun.

Lawrence said the synthetic turf field will “take the weight off of the park’s natural grass fields” and allow ITID personnel to better schedule the necessary down time needed for grass fields to recover from seasonal play.

“There’s nothing like it in our area,” Lawrence said. “I think it’s going to be great for the community.”

Voters approved a referendum in 2016 for a one percent sales surtax for infrastructure improvements for schools, the county and municipalities.

Supervisors requested that ITID be allowed to use some of the $3 million it was allotted from the tax for the field and other improvements to the park. The Palm Beach County Commission approved ITID’s request in February.

Other improvements planned in the Phase 2 of the Acreage Community Park South Expansion Project include another grass sports field, new bathrooms, equestrian parking for the equestrian trail, new lighting, and the relocation and construction of a new skate park.

The money was originally earmarked for construction of a community center at the park, but due to pandemic delays and the increased cost of construction, the project became too expensive.

In other business at the meeting, supervisors approved a $26,000 base salary increase for ITID Executive Director Burgess Hanson as part of his annual review.

The increase takes Hanson’s salary to $220,000 annually and includes an additional 40 hours of vacation, taking his total to five weeks per year, and an additional $100 per month increase to $500 total for automobile expenses. Hanson’s previous salary set in June 2023 was $193,800.

Supervisors were told that the average salary for district managers in the area ranged from $189,00 to $240,000. Hanson had requested an increase to at least $213,000.

As part of the evaluation process, supervisors gave Hanson a 4.93 rating out of a possible 5.

“You’ve lifted the status of Indian Trail, and with that comes a lot of respect,” ITID President Elizabeth Accomando told Hanson. “There are countless issues caused by decades of neglect that you’ve helped us get through, improve and correct.”

Hanson, who has been at ITID for five years, told the board that the biggest challenges he foresees over the next two to three years are getting the 640-acre reservoir in the M-1 Basin constructed and dealing with further annexation attempts from several neighboring municipalities.

“To me, what’s going on in this area is just unacceptable, and we cannot put our heads in the sand,” he said.