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Problems found with Coonskin stadium turf

The turf at the Shoenbaum Soccer Stadium at Coonskin Park is falling apart, but should be covered under a warranty by the manufacturer, the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission learned Thursday.

Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson said despite the fact that the turf is supposed to last 10 to 15 years, but turf fibers have started to break off and shred just six years after having been installed.

The turf was manufactured by FieldTurf, a division of Tarkett Sports. Premature failures of similar fields around the county have also been reported, including at professional and collegiate fields.

"I don't think we'll have any problem with them," Hutchinson said, adding that the field is still safe.

The field is used by the University of Charleston and the West Virginia Chaos PDL soccer team. It has also hosted state high school soccer tournaments in the past.

In other business, the parks commission:

* Discussed asking the Kanawha County Commissioners for two new employees - one for administrative work and one for maintenance work.

Retired Gen. Allen Tackett, a member of the commission, said the extra employees would match the needs of the park system.

"If they had two additional people, they could keep up with everything that's going on," he said.

Because of past budget cuts from the county commission, the parks department has cut nine employees from its payroll.

"We need some help," Hutchinson said.

Parks commission members offered other options instead of hiring two new full-time employees.

President Anna Dailey, who joined the meeting by phone, suggested asking the commissioners if any county employees could assist the parks department.

Chuck Bailey, the parks commission's lawyer, said he thought the parks department should consider unpaid internships, saying he thinks some college students "would jump at the chance."

The commission unanimously voted to ask the county commissioners to place parks department representatives on the next agenda.

* Heard the financial report from Hutchinson, which showed losses in golf revenue for July and August.

Overall, the parks department reported a net loss of $66,934.30 for August 2013, compared to a loss of $25,444.16 in August 2012.

Hutchinson said the budget was significantly affected by a high number of rainy days this summer, particularly in July.

"When we don't put golf rounds through Big Bend (golf course), it affects up all the way across," he said. "It just comes down to one thing - weather."

Parks commission member Glen "Buck" Chestnut, who is also the mayor of Belle, said the commission should start taking initiative to bring more events into the park to supplement the parks' income.

"We can't just sit back and say the weather's always the problem," he said. "We have to take some initiative."

Contact writer Matt Murphy at or 304-348-4817.


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