The San Juan Capistrano Sports Park is slated to be closed from mid-February through August 2024 as the city looks to replace the athletic field sod and lighting.
During its Oct. 17 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a $604,800 LED light system for the Sports Park.
The $2 million sports park upgrade was factored into the city’s 2023-24 Fiscal Year budget, approved by the council in May. Turf replacement is anticipated to cost roughly $1.2 million.
City Manager Ben Siegel noted that staff believes there’s a “real community need for the project.”
“This is a project that we’ve heard about for many years, the conditions of the fields, we hear about it from the soccer groups, from the baseball groups,” Siegel said.
“This was actually not something that was programmed in our long-term capital improvement project budget,” Siegel continued. “This was made possible by sound financial decisions that the council has made that allowed for an accumulated surplus which staff brought forward this past budget cycle and the council allocated a portion of that to redo the sports park.”
The Musco LED lighting system is expected to provide better on-field lighting for improved playability, reduce energy consumption and minimize glare, staff explained during the meeting.
The sports park will be closed to the public starting in mid-February for the installation of theLighting, removal of sod, irrigation repairs and new sod installation. The park is expected to reopen to the public next August.
In the meantime, sports teams will be relocated to Marco Forster Middle School and Cook Cordova Park. Special events typically hosted at the sports park will also be relocated.
Following construction, sports teams and events may be relocated to prevent damage to the newly installed turf. Staff noted that the local rotary was already notified that this will be the last year a car show will be hosted on the sports park field.
The city will collaborate with Brightview and Professional Sports Field Maintenance to develop a maintenance schedule for the new turf.
Councilmember John Campbell said he was thrilled the project is moving forward, adding that the park will be “a great asset to the community.” However, he was concerned with protecting the new turf once installed.
“This is a huge investment for us as a city and we have had this sports park in its existing condition, poor condition for many years,” Campbell said. “But it’s after accumulation of decades after decades of usage that it’s found itself in that situation.”
Campbell noted that it will be important as the maintenance schedule is developed to ensure the sports field can last another three decades or more.
“This is a huge investment and it’s something that is going to be used by the community for many years,” Campbell said.