The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Feds promote artificial turf as safe despite health concerns !

Lead levels high enough to potentially harm !

Lead levels high enough to potentially harm children have been found in artificial turf used at thousands of schools, playgrounds and day-care centers across the country, yet two federal agencies continue to promote the surfacing as safe, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The growing use of turf fields layered with rubber crumbs has raised health concerns centered mostly on whether players face increased risk of injury, skin infection or cancer. The U.S. has more than 11,000 artificial turf fields, which can cost $1 million to replace.

But largely overlooked has been the possible harm to young children from ingesting lead in turf materials, and the federal government’s role in encouraging their use despite doing admittedly limited research on their health safety.

Lead is a well-known children’s hazard that over time can cause lost intelligence, developmental delays, and damage to organs and the nervous system.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with protecting children from lead in consumer products, has promoted turf-and-rubber fields for nearly seven years with a website headline declaring them “OK to install, OK to play on.” A news release says, “Young children are not at risk from exposure to lead in these fields,” even though the commission found potentially hazardous lead levels in some turf fibers and did not test any rubber crumbs, which are made from recycled tires that contain roughly 30 hazardous substances including lead.

The commission has acknowledged shortcomings in its 2008 study, which spokesman Scott Wolfson says “was just a handful of fields and was not representative of the full scope of fields across the country.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has promoted the use of rubber crumbs in athletic fields and on playground surfaces since 1995 to help create markets for recycled car and truck tires.But the EPA didn’t investigate the potential toxicity until 2008 and now says in a statement that “more testing needs to be done” to determine the materials’ safety.

“We’re using your children as part of the poison squad,” said Bruce Lanphear, a leading researcher on lead poisoning at Simon Fraser University in Canada, who suggests a moratorium on installing artificial-turf fields until their safety is proved.

The CDC in 2008 said communities should test recreational areas with turf fibers made from nylon, and they should bar children younger than 6 from the areas if the lead level exceeded the federal limit for lead in soil in children’s play areas.

But some communities have refused to test their fields, fearing that a high lead level would generate lawsuits or force them to replace and remove a field, which costs about $1 million, according to a 2011 New Jersey state report.

Forty-five of 50 New Jersey schools and towns contacted in 2009 by epidemiologist Stuart Shalat would not let him test their turf-and-rubber fields, Shalat’s report states. The EPA also found, in 2009, that “it was difficult to obtain access and permission to sample at playgrounds and synthetic turf fields.”

“If you’re exposing children to some potentially harmful compounds, whether it’s organic compounds or metals, you’d think you’d want to know so you can take some action instead of putting your hands over your eyes and saying, ‘I don’t see a problem,’ ” Shalat said.

STUDIES ON RISKS WIDELY DEBATED

Industry groups have touted the federal endorsements, which have helped vastly expand the nation’s use of artificial turf. It now blankets more than 11,000 fields, from NFL stadiums to elementary-school plots, and millions more square feet at resorts, office parks and playgrounds, according to the Synthetic Turf Council.

“There is tremendous growth in all sectors of the industry,” the council says, calling turf a durable, year-round playing surface that needs no watering, pesticides or fertilizers.

The council says turf materials are safe for people of all ages who may absorb particulates through ingestion, inhalation or skin contact. Government and academic studies “all have concluded” that a turf-and-rubber field “does not pose a human health risk to people of all ages,” the council says in a PowerPoint presentation.

But the council mischaracterizes some studies and ignores scientists’ warnings about children possibly ingesting lead in turf fibers and rubber crumbs.

The council quotes a supposed statement in a 2002 EPA report saying that children who play for years on turf-and-rubber fields face only minimal increased cancer risk. The statement actually is from a Rubber Manufacturers Association report and is not in the EPA report. Council spokeswoman Terrie Ward said the inaccuracy was “an honest mistake.”

Only a few studies have investigated the possible harm to young children from ingesting turf fibers or rubber crumbs, which can be as small as a pencil tip or as large as a wood chip. The studies analyzed a small number of turf materials.

A widely cited study by California officials in 2007 did not consider health effects of children ingesting rubber crumbs or turf fibers. The study analyzed three playground surfaces made of crumbs fused into a solid rubberized surface and found negligible risk from children ingesting rubber dust that might get on their hands or from swallowing a rubber chunk once in their lifetimes.

“Research consistently supports the safety of recycled crumb rubber,” said Mark Oldfield, a spokesman for the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Nonetheless, the department is planning a new study on health effects of artificial turf and crumb rubber that will look at children ingesting crumb material chronically.

Connecticut state toxicologist Gary Ginsberg says turf materials would not be a “major source of lead” for young children given the limited amount of time they spend on a field or playground.

Others are worried. The Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection in January stopped giving communities money to build playgrounds and fields with crumb rubber. “There are no large-scale, national studies on the possible health issues associated with inhalation, ingestion or contact,” the department said. “Research to date has been inconclusive, contradictory or limited in scope.”

CDC: ‘No safe lead level’ in children

At least 10 studies since 2007 — including those by the safety commission and the EPA — have found potentially harmful lead levels in turf fibers and in rubber crumbs, USA TODAY found.

Researchers flagged fibers and crumbs that exceeded the federal hazard level of 400 parts per million (ppm) of lead in soil where children play. The limit aims to protect children if they ingest lead-contaminated soil — either by swallowing soil directly or by putting dirty hands and toys in their mouths.

But some scientists say that the limit, established in 2000, is too high and ignores recent research showing, as the CDC now says, that “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.”

“Every turf field has to be analyzed in detail to be sure it doesn’t have a problem,” said Paul Lioy, a professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.

California has set a much lower standard for lead in soil: 80 ppm.

When the Los Angeles school district in 2008 tested turf-and-rubber play areas in its preschool facilities, it used 60 ppm as a safety level. After two play areas recorded lead readings in the low 60s, the district removed the turf-and-rubber surfaces from all 54 preschools and replaced them with solid rubber or asphalt at a total cost of several hundred thousand dollars.

“Because of the physical development of younger children, lead has a greater propensity to be absorbed,” said Robert Laughton, the school district’s environmental health and safety director. “They’re the most at-risk population we have.”

Artificial turf at a Nevada day care had 8,800 ppm of lead — 22 times the federal soil hazard level, according to a 2010 study led by a scientist at the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In 2008, New Jersey health officials found lead levels eight to 10 times the federal level in both school athletic fields and in turf marketed for residential use.

Turf-and-rubber fields typically contain about 200,000 pounds of rubber crumbs, made from thousands of former car and truck tires that may have varying levels of hazardous substances. A single field can have “substantial variability” in its materials and in the “concentrations of contaminants,” the EPA wrote in a 2009 study, listing 32 potential contaminants including arsenic, benzene, mercury and toluene.

“You pick up rubber off a field and you don’t know what that piece of rubber came from,” said health advocate David Brown, Connecticut’s former head of environmental epidemiology and occupational health. “It’s not a manufactured item. It’s a waste. There isn’t quality control.”

Lead in rubber crumbs under scrutiny

The presence of lead in turf or rubber crumb does not automatically endanger children. Health damage depends on how much lead children absorb into their bloodstream after ingestion. And absorption depends on whether the lead is tightly bound to the turf or crumb — or easily extracted during digestion.

The EPA’s 2009 study said that more than 90% of the lead in rubber crumbs tested was “tightly bound” to the rubber and “unavailable for absorption.” The results “do not point to a concern” about artificial turf-and-rubber crumb harming human health, the agency said.

The absorption finding was contradicted by a 2008 study in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology that found lead from rubber crumbs was “highly bioaccessible.”

“When people ingest this (crumb rubber), the gastrointestinal tract, the bile fluids, will get the lead out. That means it will be getting into the body, not just passing through,” said the study’s chief author, Jim Zhang, a Duke University environmental health professor.

Scientists and health officials havewarned also about older turf fibers. Many contain a lead-based pigment that adds vibrancy and colorfastness, and which could release lead particles as fibers get worn, cracked and abraded.

“Fibers deteriorate after five or six years. You’re going to get leaching,” Lioy said.

The CDC’s 2008 advisory says that as turf ages and weathers, “lead is released in dust that could then be ingested or inhaled.”

In California, after health advocates measured high lead levels in artificial turf at schools and public areas in 2008, the state attorney general sued manufacturers, which agreed to stop using lead-based pigments in turf. Manufacturers began using only lead-free pigments by the end of 2009, the turf council says.

“After our settlements, we think the industry has pretty much cleaned up,” said Charles Margulis of the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, which tested the turf. “But that leaves a lot of older fields out there.”

It is unclear how many recreational areas have older fibers with lead-based pigment. Turf companies and consultants say a turf field lasts 10 to 15 years. In 2009, before turf manufacturers phased out lead, the U.S. had approximately 4,500 turf fields.

Internal warning surfaces at EPA

Federal regulators began focusing on possible health damage from turf-and-rubber fields in 2008, at least a decade after their installation began. The EPA had been promoting the use of rubber crumbs for various applications since the early 1990s as a way to recycle millions of discarded automobile tires.

The agency didn’t consider toxicity until parents began calling its Denver office concerned about children coming home from sports practice covered in rubber crumbs, said Suzanne Wuerthele, a retired EPA toxicologist in Denver who raised concerns within the agency in 2007.

A 2008 memo by the Denver office noted the rubber’s potential harm, the inadequacy of research — including industry-touted studies — and suggested a “formal risk assessment of risks to children playing on tire crumb surfaces.”

The EPA study fell far short of that goal. The study is “very limited,” the EPA said when it was released, and “it is not possible to extend the results beyond the four study sites.”

The agency has said recently that the study was intended only to determine how to test crumb rubber, “not to determine the potential health risks of recycled tire crumb.”

In 2013, following a complaint by an environmental group, the EPA qualified the news release for its 2009 study with a note stating, “This news release is outdated.” Yet the note directs readers to a Web page that contains the same study.

“They need to stop promoting it and find out if it’s safe, or make a statement that we don’t know if it’s safe,” Wuerthele said, referring to recycled-rubber crumbs. “You just don’t put children on a finely ground surface that contains organics, fibers, latex and heavy metals, particularly lead.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission launched its probe in 2008 after New Jersey health officials found high lead levels in three artificial turf athletic fields and told the commission that more than 90% of the lead could be absorbed into a human bloodstream. “It’s a special concern for children who are already exposed to lead,” New Jersey state epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz said at the time. “This could add to their lead levels.”

The commission tested 26 turf fibers from four manufacturers and has neither conducted nor cited research on rubber crumbs.

 

Evansville Names New Sports Park !

multi_sports_fields#2

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - With the new Evansville Sports Complex as a backdrop, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke today joined members of the Convention & Visitors Bureau in announcing Deaconess Sports Park as the name for the facility. The complex is scheduled to open in late May and already has 21 of the 23 available dates booked for 2015. The Complex will provide support to local league and youth softball and baseball programs.

“This ‘Quality of Life’, investment will be a benefit to local businesses and manufacturing when recruiting new jobs to our community, and there will be no tax burden to the citizens of Evansville,” said Mayor Winnecke. “The complex is fully funded by the Innkeepers Tax generated by visitors to Evansville and Vanderburgh County.”

Deaconess President and CEO Linda White said sponsoring the naming rights for the sports complex is one way Deaconess is giving back to the community.

Deaconess Sports Park will allow us to provide exciting new wellness programs, health fairs and other health related activities to all we serve,” said White. “We will be installing new exercise and fitness equipment on the new one-mile paved walking track and encourage individuals and groups to engage in wellness programs.”

Interesting Facts:
- Deaconess Sports Park is projected to attract 180,000 to 200,000 new visitors annually.
- Once fully operational it is projected Deaconess Sports Park will generate $13 million to $16 million annually in direct expenditures into the local economy.
- The project represents all BRAND NEW MONEY AND BUSINESS TO EVANSVILLE.

Source: City of Evansville

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Spring Fever and Your Ballfields !

Spring Fever and Your Ballfields

Snow covered fieldIt’s the first week of March and as I write this blog, we have about 5” of snow on the ground and 31” of frost in the ground here at Beacon in Middleton, WI.  The calendar has turned the page to March and coaches and players all over are preparing for the upcoming baseball and softball seasons.  If you play in the northern or eastern 2/3rds of the US, you are familiar with the brutal February we just battled through.  While ballfields in the south are coming to life as the crack of the bat is echowing through their parks, we in the north are suffering through fairly deep snow cover and frost levels and the coaches are getting itchy.  Opening up your ballfield for the season in these climates must be done carefully in order to avoid damage to the playing surface ahead of the main season.  The tips that follow should help you to get your field underway as quickly as possible with the least amount of damage.

  • snow covered baseball fieldIf snow is covering your field and the coach demands that they absolutely need to get out there, you can work to remove the snow off the field. It will take equipment, manpower and time to get it done unless of course your field is in the Boston area, then nothing short of a miracle will be needed this year.  Use plows on the grass that have either rubber scraper blades or use some type of pipe horizontally across the base of the plow to greatly reduce the potential for turf damag e.  If the snow is deep, 3-4 inches or more, be careful trying to push too much off at one time, you could begin to spin your wheels which could severely damage the turf underneath.
  •  If or once your ballfield is snow free, wait until the field has lost all frost in the soil profile before attempting any work on the skin portion. If it’s too soft to walk on, you nor anyone else should be on it. The field may look bone dry in the early morning because it is frozen, but as the sun heats the surface the infield skin can become a quagmire as the frost in the ground prevents the free water on the surface from draining through.  You’ll know when the frost is out of the ground as the infield skin portion will drain fairly quickly and begin to dry off on the surface and firm up in the strong March sun and wind.
  • If your field is in the northern part of the country where you get a decent depth of frost each year (3″ or more), Mother Nature’s freeze-thaw cycle has naturally aerated your soils and opened up a tremendous amount of pore space in the soil profile. This natural aeration is fantastic for your turfgrass on the field but not for your infield skin surface. That pore space on a skin surface will fill with water on rainy days which will slow the skin from rapidly recovering after a rain event.  By rolling the infield skin surface once it has dried enough to get equipment on it, you drastically reduce the pore space in the infield surface which seals the field back up so water will run off the field more efficiently.
  • baseball infield lipFields without snow cover this past winter were at the mercy of the strong winds that come with that season. The strong winds can blow soil, drying agents and topdressing materials into the lips of the infield skin. These lips are natural dams impeding water from moving off your infield skin surface.  Be sure to clean or edge out all lips to allow water to freely drain off the surface of the infield skin.
  • baseball infield rakeMake sure the surface of the skin is smooth and level. Fall is actually the best time to re-level your infield skin so there are no low spots in the skin which will collect water. This exercise best prepares your field(s) for rapid water removal in the spring. If it wasn’t re-graded last fall, go out to the field right after a rain while there are still puddles on the infield skin and, using a rake, carve the outline of each puddle. When dry enough, nail drag the infield avoiding the low spots so you can find them, then use a level board to cut down the high spots and fill the low areas to help the water move off the infield more effectively.
  • Keep some calcined clay drying agents around for those emergencies. But if the puddles are large or deep, then use Beacon Puddle Sponges or a puddle pump to remove excess water leaving just very shallow wet areas where drying agents can then work their magic.

baseball field puddle sponges baseball field puddle sponges

  •  Whatever you do, NEVER use brooms to sweep excess water off an infield. You will only worsen the surface grade of the skin by sweeping more soil out thereby creating an even deeper hole for water to stand in. This will also build up the lips even worse creating a bigger dam along the edge.

If past winters have taught us anything, it is to always put your ballfields to sleep in the fall ready to play.  You’ll find it will make your spring prep much easier and you can get the coaching staff and their team out on the fields much quicker.  Spring weather should finally begin to shift northward next week across the eastern 2/3rds of the US.  Those of you in the south are probably relieved that you don’t deal with the cold, snow and frost.  But as a northerner, I’ll gladly take the snow and the cold in order to catch a little break in the action, than to deal with fire ants, mole crickets, heat and a location where there are events on my field all year long, but then again, that’s just me.

Paul Zwaska

Beacon Athletics

@beaconathletics 

http://beaconathletics.com/spring-fever-and-your-ballfields/

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Keller, TX seeks vandals who tore up sports park !

KELLER, TX — Police are looking for the vandals who are responsible for a muddy mess.

Keller Sports Park is filled with tire tracks, and several fields are ruined because of an off-roading joyride. Investigators believe they captured images of the culprits on camera.

Maintenance worker Austin Cole was expecting to see wet and muddy conditions Tuesday during his daily inspection of Keller Sports Park, but he said he didn’t ever expect to see the mess her found.

“It’s kind of like, ‘Wow,'” Cole said. “They destroyed it.”

Deep tire marks wrap around the entire park. The muddy tracks are from vandals on an apparent joyride over the weekend.

“I work hard — eight hours a day and 40 hours a week — to keep this park in the best condition,” Cole lamented.

Keller Parks and Recreation Department maintenance manager Gary Davis said a lot of the damage is on turf all-purpose fields, which makes it an expensive fix.

“I’m thinking in the $10,000-plus,” Davis said, “but that’s just for materials.”

The preparation alone can take more than a week. Right now, they don’t have that kind of time.

“We looked at it and thought, ‘No, this can’t be,'” Davis said. “This is the worst timing.”

Opening day for the spring sports season kicks off this weekend. A 24-team tournament is scheduled.

“A lot of people are going to be disappointed if we don’t get these fields open,” Davis said.
The City of Keller released surveillance images of two pickup trucks doing donuts near Keller Town Hall (Photo: City of Keller)
Surveillance video shows two Chevy trucks making donuts near Keller Town Hall over the weekend. Police believe these are the same trucks and drivers involved in the Keller Sports Park vandalism.

“They hurt the people who are using them,” Davis said. “The City of Keller takes that very personally.”

If you have any information regarding the vandals, you can contact Keller police on their non-emergency line at 817-743-4500.

Park staff remains optimistic they’ll be able to start on time this weekend, but they haven’t made the official call just yet.

One thing that isn’t working in their favor is the possibility of more winter weather headed our way on Wednesday.

The City of Keller released surveillance images of

The City of Keller released surveillance images of two pickup trucks doing donuts near Keller Town Hall (Photo: City of Keller, TX)

 

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$309 Mln Extreme Sports Park Planned Near Walt Disney World !

$309 Mln Extreme Sports Park Planned Near Walt Disney World    

Xero Gravity Action Sports LLC is planning to build a $309 million extreme sports resort in Osceola County, Central Florida, the Orlando Business Journal reported on Wednesday.

The facility is expected to come up on a 75 acre site owned by Central Florida Investments Inc., the parent company of Westgate Resorts, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 192 and State Road 535.

The new resort will include a 14-story ski and snowboard mountain with nine snow tubing lanes; 5 acres of real surfing with up to 10-foot waves and a boogie boarding area; a 25,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor skateboard park; a USA-BMX sanctioned race track; two skydiving pods; a 20,000-square-foot indoor dodge-ball trampoline arena; a rapid river; rock climbing up to 140 feet; zip-lining throughout the park; two 14-story competition waterslides by WhiteWater; 20-foot to 120-foot free fall jump zones; an interactive four-story climbing/zipline/ropes challenge course; and snowball fight arena.

In addition, the project is expected to have a 250-room Hyatt-flag hotel with a rooftop pool and bar, a 2,000-seat amphitheater, swim-up bars and grottos, swimming pools, cabanas, day spa, retail and training facilities, restaurants and sports bars and the International Action Sports Hall of Fame.

More than 1,000 new jobs will be needed to operate the facility.

According to the Orlando Business Journal, executives with the company are in talks with Osceola County officials regarding the project, as well as undergoing the “due diligence” needed to secure the property. If approved, the resort is expected to open by 2018.

“Our company is creating the next step in the tourism sports industry,” said Larry Walshaw, CEO and founder of Xero Gravity, in a prepared statement. “We are developing a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment resort which provides unique hands-on experiences. We will be hosting televised pro and amateur competitions, think X-games, with sports shows and clinics, and we will have daily competitions at all venues for visitors who like to compete.”

 

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Long Overdue Sportspark To Be Completed By Years End 2015 !

  El Paso, Eastside Sportspark . . . . .Long overdue Sportspark to be completed by year’s end story image

EL PASO, Texas — County Commissioners officially hired a new architect on Monday to finish and fix the Eastside Sportspark, which is more than two years behind schedule.

Commissioner Carlos Leon said at maximum it will take 279 days to finally complete the project.

In just about 10 months, the county expects the remaining four fields at the park will be finished as well as the club house, restaurant and pro shop.

The county hired Carl Daniel Architects, a local firm.

But the project’s timeframe means another summer baseball season will go by with the park still incomplete.

Disagreements between the previous builder and architect left the park unfinished and unable to attract the type of tournaments it was intended for.

The county will head to trial against the former architects and contractor but a date has not been set.

Leon said the county now has a timeline with the new architecture firm and an end is in sight for the $7.5 million project.

“I’m excited because it should not cost us more than the money was initially set aside for,” Leon said.

The county still needs to go out to bid for a new contractor to do the work.

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SPORTS TOURISM !

THE SPORTS FACILITIES ADVISORY REPORTS RECORD NUMBER OF MUNICIPALITIES SEEKING TO CAPITALIZE ON POTENTIAL ECONOMIC BOOM . . . . . .

Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) – Economic downturns lead to job losses and reductions in real estate values, thereby reducing tax revenue to local governments. Because local governments rely on tax revenue to fund day-to-day operations, a decrease in tax revenue means a decrease in state or municipal services. But one industry has continued to expand throughout the Great Recession and has the potential to provide much-needed revenue for municipalities: youth sports and sports-related travel sees over 50 million youth athletes participating in organized sporting events annually, creating an approximate economic impact of $7 billion (1). TheSports Facilities Advisory (SFA), a leading resource for the planning and management of new and existing amateur sports complexes and recreation centers, says the growth of sports tourism and the related potential financial impact can give municipalities the opportunity to participate in an economic boom.

Sport tourism benefits host cities by providing “economic benefits as a result of sales in hotel fees, food and beverages, admission fees for tournaments, use of transports and other spending at the facilities (2)  the end result being that different types of income are generated for the community, providing for an increase in spending, jobs and conservation of the local environment (3). SF’s CEO and founder, Dev Pathik, says municipalities can take advantage of the resilience of sports travel but these efforts need to be properly evaluated and planned. There are certain criteria that make a city attractive to events owners and other factors that make some cities unsuitable as a true sports tourism destination.

Case in Point:

The Harrisburg/Hershey area in Pennsylvania makes higher tourism revenue than more popular areas largely due to regional youth sporting events.
In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Harrisburg/Hershey region ranked fourth in Pennsylvania with $2.18 billion in visitor spending.
The Dauphin County Commissioners approved distribution of more than $122,000 in hotel tax revenues with the majority being used to support youth sporting events. Commissioner Chairman Jeff Haste said the county’s investment in youth sporting events is influential in providing a significant economic impact (4).

Pathik encourages making recreational activities more readily available to children with the addition of youth’s amateur sports complexes and recreation centers. In addition to steadying the economy, Pathik says that supporting youth sports and related tourism gives young athletes a positive outlet a fact that many parents can appreciate. Pathik cautions however, that cities not assume their facilities can be used for both sports tourism and local play. In some cases, Pathik says, cities that have attempted to use existing facilities discover that their facilities are not properly designed to accommodate the demand for sports tourism, as well as local recreation.

SFA has planned and also manages and advises youth and amateur sporting venues. SFA is also hired by municipalities to assess the feasibility of new complexes and to assist cities with strategic planning for sports tourism efforts. Some of SF’s latest clients include:

1.Spooky Nook Sports facility is located in Lancaster and touted as North America’s largest indoor sports complex. Spooky Nook opened in March and has already hosted several volleyball tournaments, attracting hundreds of players and their families to the area the complex will also be the home of the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey team through 2022.

2.Rocky Top Sports World, an 80 acre state-of-the-art facility settled in the vacation hotspot of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is currently under construction and scheduled to open in Spring 2014. The $20 million development is leading to new jobs and will host court- and turf-based tournaments and events.

3.The Myrtle Beach Indoor Sports Complex. SFA and the city of Myrtle Beach are opening a new 100,000 square foot indoor sports complex in the spring of 2014. The complex feature eight indoor basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts and will host all manner of competitive sports and special events.

SFA assists clients throughout the U.S. and around the world in planning, funding and managing sports and community recreation centers. SFA’s portfolio includes more than $3.5 billion in planned and operational facilities, as well as being the industry leader in the managing of such complexes. The company will assist in opening more than 1.5 million acres of additional indoor facilities, as well as 600 acres of outdoor facilities, within the next year.

For more information about the Sports Facilities Advisory and its suite of planning-funding-opening-management services, visit http://www.sportadvisory.com/home.html.

About Sports Facilities Advisory:

The Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) is a leading resource in sports facility planning and management. The Sports Facilities Advisory has helped to plan, fund, open and manage dozens of multimillion-dollar sports complexes in communities throughout the USA and internationally since its founding in 2003. The company serves public and private clients. Its services fall into four main categories: plan, fund, open and manage, which encompass every phase from early stage feasibility studies to preparing financing documents, overseeing development and opening and full-time management services. SFA’s success depends on its mission to dramatically improve communities through the opening or optimization of sport and recreation centers. For more information, visit www.sportadvisory.com/home.html.

1.Lane, Matthew.“Youth Sports Could Have $10 Million Impact in Model City in 2013.Timesnews.net. N.p., 05 Aug. 2013. Web. 08 Nov. 2013. timesnews.net/article/9065811/youth-sports-could-have-10-million-impact-in-model-city-in-2013.

2.Olukoya, Jobi. “Impacts of Sport Tourism in the Urban Regeneration of Host Cities.” Academia.edu. N.p., May 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. academia.edu/2480919/Impacts_of_Sport_Tourism_in_the_Urban_Regeneration_of_Host_Cities.

3.”How Tourism Benefits Communities.” Tq.com. Tourism and Events Queenland, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. tq.com.au/tqcorp_06/resource-centre/community-engagement/how-tourism-benefits-communities/how-tourism-benefits-communities_home.cfm.

4.Gilliland, Donald. “Youth Sporting Events Help Put Harrisburg/Hershey over Lancaster in Tourism Dollars.” Pennlive.com. The Patriot News, 07 Nov. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/11/youth_sporting_events_help_put.html.

The Sports Facilities Advisory encourages cities to carefully evaluate the type, size, and setup of sports tourism ventures to take advantage of the recession-resistant sports tourism industry in a mending economy.
NOTE:
     The Sports Facilities Advisory is a SODA Affiliate and Consultant.
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Snow tubing at Thomas Bull Memorial Park begins Saturday !

Snow_Tubbing

 Snow tubing at the Orange County Snow Tubing and Winter Sports Park is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Jan. 10, and run through March 1, weather and conditions permitting. The park is located at Thomas Bull Memorial Park.

A discounted fee of $15 is available to residents to use the Orange County Snow Tubing and Winter Sports Park; the cost for non-residents is $20. Proof of residency is required at check-in and the fee is good for a 90-minute tubing session.

Days and hours of operation are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snow tubing is also available on Mondays, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thomas Bull Memorial Park is located on Route 416 in Montgomery. Visitors are strongly encouraged to contact the park prior to arrival. Call 845-457-4949, 845-457-4910 or email parks@orangecountygov.com to confirm availability.

The Orange County Snow Tubing and Winter Sports Park’s 800-foot snow-tubing hill features two cable lifts, groomed lanes, and specially designed tubes built for a thrilling ride. The park also features an ice skating rink, small sledding hill, and cross-country ski trails. Park visitors must provide their own equipment for these free activities, which are available as conditions permit.

The Graham M. Skea Lodge, located at the crest of the tubing hill, offers beautiful views of the Hudson Valley and features a large stone fireplace. Visitors may bring their own food and drink as the lodge restaurant will not be open, and only non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.

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