JOLIET – Slammers owner Nick Semaca this week said he was concerned about a possible drainage problem in the new gravel surface laid down for artificial turf.
“The field is not draining. We need to get that fixed,” Semaca told the Joliet City Council Stadium Committee on Monday.
City officials said they do not believe there is a drainage problem but will meet with contractors on Wednesday to examine the gravel surface.
Turf installation is a month behind schedule, although city officials attribute the delay to the wet, cold spring. No turf has been installed yet.
Semaca told the committee that he was concerned that not enough attention was being paid to the potential drainage problem.
“From our standpoint, we’re just hoping for a sense of urgency on behalf of the contractor. We didn’t see a hell of a lot going on today,” Semaca told the committee. “The principals of Wight need to be there to figure out what’s going on.”
The slow installation of turf has led to the University of St. Francis moving its home opener and subsequent games to Joliet Junior College. The Slammers’ home opener is May 15.
A representative from Wight & Company, the general contractor on the project, could not be reached Tuesday to comment, although the company typically refers calls about the project to the city of Joliet.
Joliet Public Works Administrator Greg Ruddy said the city and Wight believe a weather problem, not a drainage problem, has delayed turf installation.
A meeting at the stadium that was scheduled for Tuesday was pushed back to Wednesday.
“We’re trying to get all the parties together to make sure everybody has the same information,” Ruddy said. “The city and its consultant do not believe there is a drainage issue.”
Questions about drainage arose because of a wet spot on the gravel surface that serves as the base on which the turf will be laid, Ruddy said.
He said moisture in the gravel probably has not completely thawed from the winter and cold early spring, leading to the surface moisture.
“It’s weather related,” he said. “We haven’t had good luck with the weather.”
Council member Pat Mudron, who is chairman of the Stadium Committee, said the drainage issue was raised last week because of surface water on the gravel.
“I believe the turf people went in there to check on some things, and there was water on top of the stone in some places. That’s where it got questioned,” Mudron said.
A sample of the surface gravel was sent out to be tested to make sure the right materials were being used.
“I was told Monday that it passed the test,” Mudron said. “It’s the right stone mixture.”