VERTEX is providing civil, landscape architecture, geotechnical, and permitting services for improvements to the Lake Park athletic field in Worcester, Massachusetts. Working with the staff of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), VERTEX is leading a team effort to upgrade the existing field to incorporate low-maintenance artificial turf, along with other improvements to benefit the users of the athletic facilities.
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.
Currently, Lake Park has a gravel walking track that encircles the existing field. At the request of DCR, VERTEX has designed a multi-lane paved track to replace the gravel track. Fencing is also proposed to separate the field/track from the other recreational uses at Lake Park.
Lake Park lies along the western shore of Lake Quinsigamond, a 772 acre “Great Pond” that provides an attractive natural setting to the urban communities that surround it, along with recreation activities including fishing, swimming, and boating. Numerous regattas are held on the lake, and it has hosted the US Rowing Masters Championships in recent years. Protecting this resource is a focus of the project, and VERTEX has successfully guided the project through a detailed environmental review. Critical to this review was VERTEX’s stormwater design, which incorporated the field’s integral drainage into a subsurface infiltration system that protects the water quality of the lake.