Introducing a New Resource for Old Problems

Getting a brand-new car is pretty exciting. Driving it off the lot, you feel like a million bucks. This car is going to last! It has less than 100 miles on the odometer. No one's spilled a soda in the cup holder. You haven't gotten any recall notices in the mail yet. Heck, it won't even need an oil change for another few months.

Once the new-car smell wears off, though, it's business as usual. The car is utilitarian, for most of us, anyway. It gets us to work. It takes our kids to school. Its trunk holds (or doesn't, quite) the groceries. The dog's muddy paw prints decorate the upholstery in the back seat. The quiet "squeak-squeak-squeak" of the resident mouse gives us a new appreciation for the neighbor's cat that's been hanging out in the driveway. (OK, maybe that's just me.)

I've known plenty of new-car addicts. As soon as they get used to the one they're driving, they trade it in for a new model. But for those of us who choose, for whatever reason, to drive a car that's not so new, there are a few very important rules that we must follow, or our dog-paw-decorated, kid-hauling machines can become pocketbook-draining nightmares. Those rules all involve proper maintenance. Get the oil changed every 3,000 miles. Make sure you use the right gasoline. Get the brakes checked out. Get the tires rotated. Get a new air filter to replace the one the mouse ate. And so on.

Just like getting a new car, building a brand-spanking-new facility is exciting. We all like to hear about the latest and greatest designs and innovations to come down the pipeline. It's got that new-facility smell (admittedly, this may be the off-gassing of the carpet, which is not necessarily a good thing). It's got the most up-to-date fitness equipment. No one's peed in the pool, yet.

But with budgets still tight and plans for new facilities fewer and farther between, professionals in charge of keeping recreation, sports and fitness facilities' engines running smoothly need to keep some important rules in mind, too—just like the owner of a car with 50,000-plus miles on the odometer.

In fact, maintenance of your facilities and equipment is a top concern for many readers out there. According to our 2010 State of the Industry Report, equipment and facility maintenance was the No. 1 concern. More than half considered this a top concern now, and just under half believe it will continue to be a top issue for the next several years.

That's why, starting with this issue, we've decided to launch a series of stories to help you get a handle on the problem.

We start in this issue with maintaining your sports turf. Whether your turf is all-natural grass or you're employing a synthetic solution, there are important steps to take to ensure the surface is in good playing condition now, and down the road. Turn to page 33 to learn more and start getting your plan ready for the coming season. (Snow may blanket the ground for many of you now, but it's only a matter of time before the umpire cries, "Play ball!")

Future issues will continue to focus on maintenance, with a series of topics coming down the pike that are sure to help you make the most of the facility you've got, while you daydream about the facility you want.

We'll be covering maintenance needs for your waterparks and spraygrounds, swimming pools and gymnasiums, and we'll be telling you more about greening up your maintenance methods, as well as dealing with problems like graffiti and vandalism.

And please, if you've got a burning question about keeping up appearances at your facility that's keeping you up at night, let us know! Send an e-mail with your question to We'll do our best to round up some experts to get you some answers in a future issue.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director

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