Placer County's newest park nears completion

Franklin School Community Park in Loomis will boast county's only synthetic turf baseball field
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The newest Placer County park, located at Franklin Elementary School in Loomis, is heading towards completion. Franklin School Community Park is a $1.45 million facility paid for by Placer County developer fees and is located on a 4.5-acre site adjacent to Franklin School. The property is owned by the Loomis Union School District. The park will feature the county's first synthetic turf baseball field and the county's second synthetic turf soccer field, according to Tim Arndt, senior project manager for Placer County Parks and Recreation. The park is 100% paid for by the county and is a great addition to the community. We appreciate this partnership with them, said Loomis Union superintendent Paul Johnson. Arndt also emphasized the unique partnership the park brought together. This has been a partnership between the school district, the county, the contractor and the community, Ardnt said. The community involvement revolves around a mass landscape planting that will be done on March 29 and the building of a barbecue and picnic area. The Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of Granite Bay, which have Loomis members, are organizing the planting of more than 2,000 shrubs and ground cover plants at a cost of $10,000 donated by the Kiwanis, according to club member Ron Feist. The service clubs are inviting groups and families to bring their own shovels and rakes for a planting day that will begin at 8 a.m. on March 29. Lunch will be provided. Volunteers will be planting a creeping ground cover called mahonia, carpet manzanita and a shrub called abilia. Later in spring, the Rotary Club will install a 24' by 40' covered picnic area featuring two barbecues and 12 picnic tables that they are donating at a cost of approximately $30,000. The low-maintenance fields will be used by local students, youth sports groups and other community members. Plans are still being finalized for the care and management of the park once it is completed. According to Loomis Union Assistant Superintendent Jay Stewart, the current plan is for the school district to maintain the field and to bill back their time to the county. Placer County Parks and Recreation would also be responsible for booking and reserving the field. The field is made out of synthetic turf, similar to Del Oro High School's new football field. The field lines are actually produced by using white, yellow and brown turf, so there is no chalking or painting required. The field turf is rolled out like carpet during installation. Two inches of sand and small bits of rubber are raked into the turf providing cushioning and holding the turf blades upright. According to Arndt, it also gives the turf the look and feel of real grass. Western Engineering Contractors of Loomis, who completed the new Del Oro field, won the bid for the project. Project Manager Jason Baker said the company was responsible for the grading, rock base, concrete fencing and irrigation. Their portion of the work should be completed in early March. Arndt said that a second phase for the park is planned, but is still years off. That phase would include a tot lot and restrooms. The school district land at the park site also includes a Living History Center, which is under construction. The facility will be used by the schools and community as an educational center. For more information on the volunteer planting day, contact Ron Feist at 768-5190 or Mike Baker at 791-4242.