No More Paving, But How About Astroturf?

Written by on November 14, 2012 in Featured, Neighborhood News - No comments

Utz Twardowicz Field recently got a makeover. More accurately, a facelift.

Utz Twardowicz Field, now with synthetic turf. Photo by Erik Zygmont

The field, next to the Mimi DiPietro Family Skating Center near Linwood Ave., is now part of a new sports complex called the Patterson Park Youth Sports and Education Center at Utz Twardowicz Field, Powered by Under Armour.

The sports and education center includes Utz as well as a soon-to-be-completed 5000-square-foot educational building and an educational pavilion.The educational buildings will be run and maintained by the Living Classrooms Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit educational organization.

Talib Horne, spokesman for Living Classrooms, says the center’s educational programming will be for youth and families and will focus on academics, health, and wellness. Living Classrooms runs youth education and development programs all over the city, including in its headquarters at Harbor East, and at the Carmello Anthony Youth Development Center at 1100 E. Fayette Street.

Horne said that Living Classrooms does not have a schedule of upcoming programming available at this time.

“We want to have a conversation with the community and see what its needs are first,” Horne said. He added that the center will be having an opening ceremony on Nov. 20.

The sports and education center is funded by a group of partners that includes Living Classrooms, Under Armour, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, Baltimore City Public Schools, and the Charlesmead Foundation.

As part of their agreement with the city, Living Classrooms and local schools will have priority use of Utz Field Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The new Utz Field (Utz Field is named for Utz Twardowicz, director of the Highlandtown Red Shield Boys Club from 1948-1969) is made of artificial turf and will have 400-bleacher seating.

“It is regulation-football-field size:120 yards long by 60 yards wide,” said Bob Wall, Division Chief for Youth and Adult Sports and Special Facilities at Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.

“The field will be permanently lined for football and soccer and can be lined for lacrosse as well,” Wall added.
Synthetic turf fields are easier to maintain because they require no irrigation or mowing. They also drain better and faster.

“No puddles means games are less likely to be cancelled,” said Wall. “The only downside to turf is that it gets a little hotter in the summer.”

Utz Field will be available for adult and youth recreational use Monday through Friday after 6 p.m. Permits are granted by the city, Wall said.

“On the weekends, there will be dual use [Living Classrooms and the public] of the field,” he added.

According to Wall, the city is working on a partnership with Living Classrooms to determine who will pay for care and maintenance of Utz Field.

by Danielle Sweeney

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