City commissioners on Monday, approved to replace Legends Field with synthetic turf.

The approval was made pending an agreement with Dodge City Community College and USD 443 is reached to assist in covering the cost.

The budgeted installation of the turf came to $500,000 but the estimate from the Hellas company came in at $610,000.

Parks and recreation director Paul Lewis told the commission that two options were available.

The commission could either go with the plans or send the project out for re-bid which could cause the 2018 spring season to not go as planned.

Lewis made the same statement to the Ford County Commission during their meeting earlier Monday.

The county commission also approved the project pending the agreement with DCCC and USD 443.

"We have finalized a deal USD 443 for $100,000 in funding to cover the costs of the project," Lewis said. "We are confident that the college will make the same agreement but that deal has yet to be finalized."

With the new turf, Lewis said that during rainfall, a synthetic turf would allow for better drainage in order to keep the game of play ongoing.

"As long as it is not lightning," Lewis said, "with the drainage under the turf we could still play.

"It would keep us at the forefront of the tournament market which Legends Field sees 300-400 teams play a year.

"Last year, two tournaments had to be cancelled due to weather which cost the arrival of at least 70 teams.

"Our tournaments bring in about 25 percent of teams from out of state and 60 percent of teams from out of Ford County.

"The turf would be an important tool."

Funding for the project would come out of the sales tax depreciation funds with an additional $100,000 each from USD 443 and DCCC.

The turf was approved 4-1, Commissioner Kent Smoll was the lone nay vote.

In other business, the commissioners approved to re-zone the area near 14th Avenue for the Star Bonds power center for the upcoming retail development of Sutherland's home improvement store.

The area of 2301 N. 14th Ave. will be re-zoned from an R-S residential suburban to a C-2 commercial highway zone.

They also approved a re-zone of the 3.1 acres of purchased land from DCCC from a D-O commercial office to C-2 commercial highway.

"The planning commission held their meeting on Sept. 12 and the re-zoning was approved an meets all statutory requirements," city attorney Brad Ralph said. "There was no opposition mentioned at the zoning meetings.

"Once the re-zoning is completed it will be combined into one plat."

The commissioners also approved the sale of temporary general obligation notes for the Candletree #8 housing project, McDonald's restaurant on Wyatt Earp and the land acquisition for Sutherland's for $8 million.

"The notes could go up to 4 years but we feel we would pay them off sooner with 2 year notes," city finance director Nannette Pogue said.

Smoll added, "And the special assessments will pay for Candletree and McDonald's with special revenue not property tax correct?"

Pogue answered by saying that a portion would be funded with the Star Bonds project.

Candletree would have funding with Rural Housing Improvements District and McDonald's with a Community Improvements District.

"Funding would be coming in we just need to temporary notes to fund them immediately," Pogue said.

The Candletree project would be for $1,512,000; the McDonald's redevelopment would be for $380,000 and the land acquisition would be for $6,402,000.

The notes were approved unanimously.

Commissioners also approved railroad improvements for the quiet zone within Dodge City.

The bid for the improvements would be from Building Solutions for $72,695 and would make improvements to railroad crossings at 1st, 2nd, 4th, 11th and 14th Avenues.

Funding for the improvements would come through Star Bonds as part of the Heritage District.

The commissioners were also informed that the city 2016 audit came back clean.

"A clean audit is what the city wants to hear," Smoll said. "it means the city is financially sound and that's what we want.

"Thanks needs to go out to Nannette and and staff for all their hard work."

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com