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Turf companies make case to Joliet council

The Joliet City Council may pick an artificial turf for Slammers stadium on Tuesday.
The Joliet City Council may pick an artificial turf for Slammers stadium on Tuesday.

JOLIET – A sales director for the low bidder on Monday made a case for buying his company’s artificial turf for Slammers stadium.

City Staff is recommending FieldTurf at a price of $585,456.

The Joliet City Council at its Monday workshop heard from Midwest Sport and Turf Systems, which bid $471,400.

“I implore you to look at this before you absolutely say, ‘Let’s go,’” said Thomas Cunniff, director of sales for Midwest, which is located in Plainfield.

The council, however, could say, ‘Let’s go,’ on Tuesday, when it is slated to vote on an artificial turf contract.

Cunniff said Midwest can install for less because it is local and does not need to mobilize a workforce from out of town. A representative from FieldTurf, however, also said it uses workers in the Chicago area.

The bids were made in response to a request for proposals that gives the city discretion to bypass the lowest bidder.

Interim City Manager Marty Shanahan told the council that a staff committee visited sites before recommending FieldTurf. Shanahan said one test applied was attempting to pull out the fibers – or blades of artificial glass.

Shanahan said he was not able to pull out fibers from the FieldTurf turf.

“I was able to pull out the fibers of the other one,” Shanahan said, referring to a Midwest turf the committee examined during a visit to Rockford.

The council also will decide whether it wants to spend an extra $65,733 for FieldTurf infill designed to limit the degree to which artificial turf heats up. Cunniff said there is no product that can cool down artificial turf.

Jonathan Huard, regional sales manager for FieldTurf, said his company’s CoolPlay can make a difference of 35 degrees in on-the-field temperature.

Barber Building incentives

The council on Tuesday also is scheduled to vote on an incentive package that would provide a $250,000 city grant, a $150,000 grant from the City Center Partnership, and property tax incentives for the redevelopment of the Barber Building for apartments downtown.

Developer Mike Petry also is seeking free parking at city parking decks, which city staff has not recommended.

Economic Development Director Steve Jones said the city instead recommends locking in parking for the apartments at $40 a month, which is worth $34,800 a year for the proposed apartment building.

City manager

The agenda for Tuesday also includes a contract for a new city manager, although Shanahan said it’s not certain whether a contract will be ready by then.

Sources have said the city is negotiating a contract with Bloomington City Manager David Hales. Former Joliet City Manager Jim Hock retired in May.

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