VERTEX is providing civil, landscape architecture, geotechnical, archeological, and permitting services for improvements to the Foss Park athletic field in Somerville, Massachusetts. Working with the staff of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), VERTEX is leading a team effort to incorporate a low-maintenance artificial turf field and LED athletic lighting within a popular urban park that already includes tennis and basketball courts, a swimming pool and baseball diamonds.
The existing field is natural turf in poor condition due to heavy use. VERTEX has prepared a design that will replace the natural turf with an artificial turf system that includes the artificial turf itself, a durable and attractive “grass” surface; infill, which supports the artificial turf blades and ensures a playing experience comparable to the best natural grass fields; and below these a shock pad to attenuate impacts and provide a supporting drainage layer.
The VERTEX team has included an engineered wood particle infill in the design of the turf system. This infill is an organic product sourced sustainably from select softwood trees that costs substantially less than the alternatives. The use of engineered wood particle infill results in a cooler field surface than crumb rubber or coated sand alternatives. Combined with the shock pad, it provides a high-performing athletic field that more closely matches the characteristics of natural turf fields. VERTEX has designed drainage for the field that will ensure that the turf system will allow runoff to pass through to the subsurface and leave the fields playable shortly after a rainfall. Runoff will then leave the field area and discharge to the stormwater drainage collection system that currently receives runoff from the field.
The existing field at Foss Park is smaller than regulation size football or soccer fields. DCR tasked VERTEX with placing a field closer to regulation size within the limited space available at Foss Park. VERTEX succeeded in doing so, with minor modifications to the park’s sidewalk network. VERTEX also designed LED athletic lighting for the field, requiring geotechnical investigation and design to support the light poles.
VERTEX is also coordinating the investigation into a potential subsurface archeological resource, the Middlesex Canal, which is shown crossing the site in documents dating from the early 1800s. The Middlesex Canal was key to the industrialization of the Boston area, and inspired canal building throughout the United States. No surface evidence of this canal is present, and VERTEX is coordinating with the contractor and archeologists to uncover and document this feature during the construction of the field.