Spain’s Athletic Bilbao and Mexico’s Club Tijuana played 90 minutes of professional soccer Saturday night on 85,000 square feet of Kentucky bluegrass installed atop the iconic blue turf at Albertsons Stadium.
That same grass will now get a second life in Boise.
On Sunday, Oregon-based JB Instant Lawn — the same crew that installed the grass for the Basque Soccer Friendly — began the two-day process of moving the sod to Ann Morrison Park in conjunction with the Boise Parks & Recreation Department.
The grass will be used to upgrade two of the park’s soccer fields that see regular use by the city’s adult and youth leagues.
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“That’s really kind of a cool legacy for such a great event,” Boise Parks & Recreation Director Doug Holloway said. “We’ll have something that children will be able to play on for generations to come.”
Field No. 3 will accommodate the majority of the sod, and leftovers will be put on Field No. 4, which is being upgraded at the same time. Crews worked last week to prep the fields for installation, removing the grass that was there originally, leveling the fields and putting in new sprinkler systems.
While the city won’t have to pay for the sod — an estimated value of more than $27,000 — the cost to transport the grass from Albertsons Stadium to Ann Morrison Park and then install it will cost an estimated $35,000 to $40,000.
The adult Southern Idaho Soccer League agreed to cover the installation cost, and the Boise Parks & Recreation Department dipped into its major repair and maintenance budget to account for approximately $40,000 in field preparation expenses.
“The Southern Idaho Soccer League had indicated that they were interested in the past in helping do some upgrading of the fields at Ann Morrison Park,” Holloway said. “So we pitched the idea to them, and they were all over it.”
There isn’t enough room on the entry roadway to the two fields for a semi-truck to get in and out, so the grass will be brought in using several flat-bed trucks — a process that is expected to take two days.
The fields will then be fenced off until the spring, allowing the grass time to take root.
“It would probably be OK to be on it in the fall, but we really want it to be in tip-top shape,” Holloway said.
Holloway also said the Boise Parks & Recreation Department plans to put up a commemorative sign to remind future generations of the fields’ history.
“We think it’s a unique opportunity for our youth participants to be able to get out and play on the same field that hosted two professional teams,” Holloway said. “Particularly since this sod was laid in the stadium. The whole thing has been extremely exciting, and we think kids are going to be ecstatic and want to get on this field.”