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Local News

Turf delayed another week, Joliet Slammers announce events

Rollers were brought to Joliet Route 66 Stadium this week as the stone surface is being graded in preparation for installation of artificial turf.
Rollers were brought to Joliet Route 66 Stadium this week as the stone surface is being graded in preparation for installation of artificial turf.

JOLIET – The city now hopes artificial turf at Joliet Route 66 Stadium will start getting installed by next week.

The project has been pushed back from an original start date of March 5 because of damp ground.

But some work associated with the project is getting done at the city-owned stadium, including surface grading in preparation for turf installation.

“We’ve got a green outfield wall now,” Joliet Slammer general manager Heather Mills said.

The new outfield wall had been unpainted plywood before being painted in recent days. The wall has been replaced as the dimensions of the field are changed to make room for soccer games and other sports that the city hopes will be brought to the stadium. The more durable artificial turf can accommodate more events than natural grass, which has been on the field since the stadium opened in 2002.

Mills appeared at the city council meeting Tuesday to give a report on events planned for the summer.

“We do have events scheduled through October,” Mills said. “Almost every day has something.”

The Slammers lease the stadium from the city and manage it.

No soccer games have been scheduled yet.

But Mills said the Slammers do have a free community event scheduled for summer Monday mornings. She would only say that it involves fitness.

“There are going to be more details on that in the very near future,” she said.

Mills also said the Slammers are trying to develop more charity softball events such as the Guns vs. Hoses game between the Joliet police and fire departments.

On Monday, an excavator did rough grading of the stone surface in preparation for the turf installation, said Joliet Public Works Director James Trizna. Crews will do fine-grading of the surface on Wednesday, he said.

Trizna said it’s possible turf installation could start late this week, but he was more confident it would get going by Monday. Once installation starts, it is expected to take 10 days to finish.

Warmer weather in the 50s also will be needed to glue on the white lines that mark fair territory, the batter’s box and other parts of the field.

The first Slammers home game is not until May 15. But delays in turf installation have forced the University of St. Francis, which also plays at the stadium, to move its early home games to Joliet Junior College.

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