The artificial turf on the Park District of Forest Park’s soccer field had outlived its life expectancy, 10-12 years, and the board of directors knew it was time to get a new “carpet” for the well-used field.

But the board did not have the option of calling Empire and getting next-day service. They chose the industry leader, FieldTurf USA, to do the work, which is currently in process and will take over a month to complete. The price tag is $314,000.

Rachell Entler, the park district’s recreation supervisor, said the board chose artificial turf because “it can take on the wear and tear of use better than natural grass. It also allows us to use the field in wet weather as it doesn’t get muddy or tear up when wet.”

According to their website FieldTurf is the company that invented and perfected what they call “long-pile, infilled artificial turf.” After removing the old surface, FieldTurf begins by installing the base, which includes a “geotextile” fabric and field underdrain system, using base stone and finish stone. That stage has been completed.

Next comes the laying of the carpet, or artificial turf, which is manufactured from artificial fibers sewn onto woven polypropylene fabrics and “infilled” with ground up rubber and sand which provides a surface, according to FieldTurf, that cushions athletes when they fall, reduces scrapes and bruises, and at the same time provides a surface with good footing for the athletes.

Since 1994, two Super Bowls, the World Series, a Major League Soccer Cup final and college bowl games have been played on FieldTurf surfaces. The company has installed more than 7,000 fields.

FieldTurf claims that its fields are environmentally friendly and will save the park district up to 1,000,000 gallons of water a year. They say the ground-up rubber for the infill in Forest Park’s field alone comes from 20,000 recycled tires, and when the current carpet they are installing meets its life expectancy, the materials will be completely recyclable.

 “The field is used 95% of the time,” Entler said, “from 3:30 to 10 p.m., March through October. Between league use, classes, rentals and public use, the field gets used by a lot of people of all ages.”