Head of local soccer association says Windsor needs municipally owned artificial turf field

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Sports fields using artificial turf aren't new to Windsor-Essex, but none are owned by the City of Windsor.

Essex Soccer Association President Joe Barile is set to go before council Monday to plead a case for a municipally run field.

He says the fields are less susceptible to the elements like frost and drain better during inclement weather, allowing play both earlier and later in the season.

Administration is recommending the proposed facility be built on the west side of the WFCU Centre.

Barile says the other option is just east of the arena at McHugh Park, where the soccer association is already set up.

"We're hoping it goes there, but certainly we won't say no if they decide to put it somewhere else," Barile added.

He says the field will be used and used often.

"We had more than 10,000 kids registered pre-COVID from the ages of four to 10," he says. "Even the cities own planning documents, the Recreational Master Plan of 2019 identifies the need for an artificial-turf field."

Barile says a city the size of Windsor needs to have a municipally owned artificial-turf field.

"Any municipality over 200,000 people in the province of Ontario owns an artificial turf field," says Barile. "Even some municipalities that are smaller like Amherstburg at the Libro Centre have an artificial turf field."

The AstroTurf of old was rough and more closely resembled carpet, but modern artificial fields could be mistaken for real grass without the downside.

According to the report going before council, a field west of the WFCU Centre would cost $2.5-million.

The soccer association has promised $400,000 towards the project.

Council gets underway at 10 a.m.