Feature Article - July 2007
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Special Supplement: Complete Guide to Sports & Recreation Surfaces

By Dana Carman


Most things eventually boil down to cost. As you consider your options, make sure to compare the initial costs with the costs you will incur over a product's lifespan. Sometimes what may seem too expensive up front becomes less expensive over time when compared with the cheaper options. Keep your facility's long-term goals in mind and don't be afraid to reach out and ask a lot of questions of experts in the field.

In the end, what's most important is that you find the surface that best matches your needs and budget. Given the choices on the market today, there's no reason you can't cover it all.

The World of Surfaces

As this issue was going to press, sports surfaces were making national news. Just before the Kentucky Derby, the oldest continuous sporting event in the country, the Associated Press ran a story on the switch from dirt to artificial surfaces at horse tracks around the country. The synthetic surfaces are a mix of wax-coated sand, synthetic fibers and recycled rubber and, according to the article, are "gaining a reputation for their consistency and safety."

The article reports that Churchill Downs isn't necessarily making the switch just yet, but track officials are thinking about it. Arlington Park, located outside Chicago and owned by Churchill Downs Inc., is making the switch and three tracks in California are also switching. One of those is Santa Anita, which is where the Breeders' Cup is held making the 2008 event the largest on a synthetic track.