Edmonton eyes deal for artificial turf

CLARA HO, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:24 PM ET

The city and the Edmonton Eskimos are proposing a $2.6-million cost-sharing agreement to install an artificial turf field at the Commonwealth Stadium this spring.

A city report indicates that the football club would be responsible for the design, civil work, purchase and installation of the turf, with civil work to start as early as April in time for the regular football season in June and hosting the Grey Cup in November.

The football club presently faces many challenges using natural grass fields, including maintenance expenses, flexibility to accommodate a variety of events such as concerts and soccer matches, the rest time required by natural grass, and the impact of inclement weather.

Installing artificial turf would cut down on water consumption and require no fertilizer use. It would also allow the team to move their practices into the Stadium, making the current Eskimos practice site Clarke Stadium available for “expanded community use.”

The report proposes that $2.1 million come from the city's Commonwealth Stadium Enterprise Reserve, which is meant to cover capital improvements and business development investments.

Use of the reserve funding must be approved by city council.

The Eskimos football club will contribute $500,000 up front and repay 50% ($800,000) of the total project costs to the reserve starting in 2011 to the end of the current Eskimo licensing agreement in 2016.

clara.ho@sunmedia.ca


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