TROY — Organizers of the campaign to privately raise $3.9 million to replace natural grass with artificial turf at two Troy stadiums said 75 percent of the goal has been raised.
A recent anonymous donation of $1.4 million brought the total so far to $2.9 million. That includes a seed pledge of $1 million from the Ernst Family/Ernst Concrete along with donations from businesses, community organizations, residents and local foundations.
A group of volunteers last year said they formed the Stadium and Turf Enhancement Project, or STEP, with hopes of bringing artificial turf to Troy Memorial Stadium and the nearby Ferguson Field. Both facilities are located north of the Great Miami River and near Troy High School and Troy Junior High School.
The project has been discussed for several years but not pursued due to costs. The plan is to pay for the project with private dollars, not taxpayer money, said Tom Kleptz, a former Board of Education member and now chair of the STEP effort.
“We are incredibly humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support from the Troy community,” said Kleptz. “Once we reach our goal, their collective support will make a significant impact on our schools, our students and our community.”
Most of the larger school districts around the Dayton region now have turf fields, in part because it allows for repeated usage by multiple sports teams and bands without the damage that heavy use can cause to grass fields.
The highlights of Troy’s project would be the new turf at the 10,510-seat Memorial Stadium for use for Troy High School football games and marching band events.
At Ferguson Field, the field would be reconfigured to a regulation sized soccer field with permanent lighting and permanent upgrades to the press box, bleachers, scoreboard and fencing. That facility would be used for the school district’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams.
Today football and soccer games both are held at the stadium.
A budget estimate lists the cost for turf at Memorial Stadium at $1.32 million and the Ferguson Field project at $2.58 million ($1.2 million for turf).
Kleptz said Friday he is confident the project will become a reality.
“I would love to think we could have this done for the 2023 season; however, given supply chain issues and conversations with potential vendors, it appears that the 2024 season is probably more realistic at this point,” he said.
More information on the project is available at www.stepfortrojans.com. Donations can be made through the STEP Fund at The Troy Foundation.
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