The City of Allen is celebrating the official opening of four outdoor turf softball fields at its Allen Station Park.
The surfaces are made up of a Field Turf Classic HD product — part of a $1.3 million investment by the city's Community Development Corporation to renovate the playing fields.
Tim Dentler, Allen's Parks and Recreation director, said the investment is meant to promote softball tournaments and recreation league play.
"It paid for itself definitely over a 10-year period," Dentler said, talking about modeling costs over the next decade of the money the city plans to save on watering and maintenance at Allen Station after the renovations.
Dentler said the fields will also have increased availability because the turf surface is durable and needs less downtime between games and tournaments.
It is also close to what he called "weatherproof."
"When we have people coming in from out of state, the last thing we want is a rainstorm coming in and raining out the entire tournament," Dentler said.
"You give it five, 10 minutes and the water is gone," he added, referring to runoff from a normal spotty rain shower.
The city said the technology for playing turf has evolved over the past two decades.
"This has a lot of give to it — you can see as you push it down," Dentler said, pushing down on the rubber surface.
Recreation league player Andrew Wiebold told NBC 5 it makes the game more consistent.
Balls rarely take rogue bounces and players can be sure-footed.
"There are no holes in the outfield," he said. "You can beeline for a ball and not have to worry about a sprinkler head or a gopher hole."
One downside, both men agree, is heat.
Fields with turf can get hotter by several extra degrees during the summer months.
Allen said that's not a "major" concern, but they'll evaluate the situation as the summer progresses.