Spread it across a concrete foundation and let it harden in the summer sun, and it starts looking like something a jogger could enjoy.
Sixty days since the first shovel dug in to start the Baranof Park Improvements Project, the park is beginning to resemble its old self. By Aug. 1 — if the sun continues to shine — the track will be laid down alongside a new artificial turf field placed atop a gravel field that has been graded during the project’s first two months.
On Wednesday, employees of Oregon-based Benyon Co. poured a coating layer of red plastic atop a concrete and asphalt foundation laid down during the first 60 days. Rick Hardin, the manager of the pouring, explained the process. The work being done this week is a base layer to seal the concrete and asphalt. Additional layers will be put down, thicker and tougher, and the final layer will include rubber pellets designed to withstand the pounding of running feet and falling rain.
It’s the same surface used at collegiate tracks across the United States, including at the University of Oregon, which this summer hosted qualifying for the Olympics.
As the track is laid down, a few feet away, other workers will be laying down artificial turf.
In a presentation to the Kodiak city council, engineer Bob Harding explained how that process will happen. “We get an 80,000 square-foot piece of carpet, basically,” he said.
As he passed around a piece of test turf, he explained how the turf will be stitched together, then backed with a type of sand material as it is put down.
The equipment to maintain that sandy layer is included in the cost of the turf.
“The turf is warranted to drain vertically at 20 inches an hour,” he said. “Even in a pouring rain, you should be able to play on the field.”
For now, the project’s play date has been set at Oct. 1. That’s the day everything should be down, ready and set to kick off.