MISSOULA – February’s massive snowfall has left Missoula area sports teams looking for new places to practice.
While they wait for fields to thaw they take advantage of the one lone turf field at Fort Missoula. With only one artificial surface available practice times are scarce and hard to come by.
“We have been scheduling the artificial turf and the artificial turf is packed. Every usable hour is gone at this point. Until things open up on the natural turf it’s going to be an abbreviated play season for them,” Recreation Superintendent Shirley Kinsey said.
Temperatures aren’t expected to get much higher than they already are but once Missoula warms up the city will open the fields almost immediately.
“Once the soil temperature reaches about 45º then the grass will start coming out of dormancy and start growing. Soil content, we’re looking at for moisture about 20% so when we get to those conditions and the grass starts growing then we know that we won’t have damage when we put play on them,” Kinsey added.
The City of Missoula hopes to prevent damage to the fields so they don’t do any more harm to a budget that is already being affected by the delayed thaw.
“It is harder on the budget because it’s lost revenue. Anytime we aren’t renting fields it’s lost revenue, so there’s a lot of fixed costs — just having personnel we can obviously delay hiring some but we’ve got to, we have a whole system to look after it just makes it a little harder,” Kinsey added.