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All-weather fields open at Lake Tye Park

Michael Whitney photo

Olivia Llamas, who plays on the Sky Valley Little League softball team, watches as the ribbon she just cut falls during the grand opening ceremony of the Lake Tye Park All-weather Lighted Fields on Thursday, Aug. 5. She is surrounded by players in youth softball, baseball, lacrosse and soccer teams and a row of elected officials. Mayor Geoffrey Thomas is in front kneeling next to Llamas.

MONROE — The city’s new lighted, all-weather playing fields at Lake Tye Park are ready for play.
The community came for a small ceremony last week. 
City parks director Mike Farrell beamed. This was his day. “It’s eight years in the making,” he said. “It’s going to be well-used.”
The city turned an unlit grass area into today’s multi-use field with synthetic turf and LED lights.
Players from the Sky Valley Little League, a soccer team and a  lacrosse team all joined for the ribbon-cutting toe-to-toe with dignitaries. Then, Mayor Geoffrey Thomas huddled the kids, roused them with a pep talk of making Monroe proud and sent them to play.
The fields are marked with overlapping lines for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and other sports. Everything’s interchangeable: soccer goals can be moved around and a raised pitcher’s mound can be detached from the field.
The lights could encourage adult club-sport play in the evenings, Thomas mentioned.
They’ll use 60 percent less energy than old sodium lamps seen at stadiums, Farrell said, and staff can switch them on and off from a phone app.
10 p.m. will be the latest they’ll be lit, Farrell said. They are directed to illuminate the field without shining into neighbor’s windows.
The fields will refuse to be waterlogged. Under the surface of crumb rubber and artificial turf are pipes that stream rainwater to Lake Tye.
It took $4 million, including money from government grant offices and a $10,000 donation from Sky Valley Little League, to make it happen.
The ability for year-round play is a big upgrade from the prior grass, officials said. Thomas, who coached kids’ lacrosse, described how lacrosse practice on the old fields would occur each January with rutted wet grass underfoot. 
The new multi-use fields could also boost Monroe’s profile for sports events, county sports tourism director Tammy Dunn said.




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