Hillsborough renovating over 100 county athletic fields

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Out with the old, in with the new. At the field where the Valrico Rams Youth Football and Cheer league practices and plays, the renovations are already underway. 

Hillsborough County has budgeted $5 million to update this field and over a 100 more in the coming years. 

"We're resodding, we've actually stripped all of the old sod out, which has taken out any undulation on the fields," explained Chris Sanz, the general manager of the county's park services. "[We've] leveled them off, crowned them off for drainage. We're putting basically a new carpet service down for the safety of the young athletes." 

The county's contractor is laying down celebration bermuda, which can be found in professional and college stadiums, like the University of Florida.

"The kids, they go to some of these high schools or they go to some of these colleges, they see the real nice field, and for them to come out here and see their field look like those fields, it gives them a sense of pride," said Frandy Benoit, vice president of the Valrico Rams.

Before the renovation, Valrico's field have been in place about a decade. The new grass is fast recovering and more importantly, will be easier on athletes' bodies.

"As the kids run back and forth, and they cut, this grass gives way a lot more," Benoit said.

"The head to ground is minimized with that plush turf," added Sanz. 

Hillsborough County hopes to complete at least 40 field renovations this year.

"The demand for these fields is huge," said Sanz. "The young athletes, to give them these surfaces, to be able to compete on this, to keep them safe, to bring young athletes into Florida for these tournaments, and have them talk about Hillsborough county in such a way, that's great."

Each renovation takes about six weeks to complete, from start to finish.