Sod finds new home at a city park

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 15, 2015

Sod that used to grace the Picayune Memorial High School football field now covers Crosby Commons park. In this photo sod awaits installation at the park. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Sod that used to grace the Picayune Memorial High School football field now covers Crosby Commons park. In this photo sod awaits installation at the park.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari


Picayune Memorial High School’s football field turf has found a new home at Crosby Commons.
In preparation of a synthetic playing surface being installed at the high school’s gridiron field, the old turf had to be removed. City Manager Jim Luke said the city has been having trouble growing grass on the side of the park where the parking lot for the former hospital was. Public Works Director Eric Morris said the problem was the base of clay gravel that had to be installed in the 1950s when the hospital was built.
“It was a terrible condition for growing grass,” Morris said.
In this photo the football field looks bare as preparations to install a synthetic playing field take place. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

In this photo the football field looks bare as preparations to install a synthetic playing field take place.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari


The city had a plan to put some stored topsoil on the problematic area, but a better solution presented itself when the city learned the school was installing a synthetic turf on the football field, and in order to make way for that new surface, the old surface was to be bulldozed and hauled away, Luke said.
Luke said the city officials spoke with school officials and came to a deal where the field’s sod would be cut by a contractor hired by the city, transported to the park a couple of blocks away by city employees and installed at the park by the contractor to cover the inadequate surface.
“Long story short, we got the sod,” Morris said.
By Friday morning all of the sod had been removed from the football field and moved to the park.
To purchase the sod at market value would have cost the city about $10,000, but Morris said under this agreement the city was able to acquire it for about $4,800.
“So, wham, bam, we got a premium lawn,” Morris said.
Luke found the historical nature of installing football field sod at the park significant, especially since the park served as the city’s first football field back in 1922.
“Now when we look out there and say, ‘hey that was the football field,’” Luke said.
Luke said that site also served as a post office, staging point for wagons when the Hobolochitto creek was flooded and a hospital.
“Bottom line is you got a lot of history and memories out there,” Morris said.
In exchange the city intends to provide the school district with in-kind services to prepare the football field for installation of the synthetic playing surface, Luke said.
In other Crosby Commons news, a date has been set for the dedication of the park. Luke said the event will be held on Monday June 8, at 10 a.m. At the event Luke, Mayor Ed Pinero, Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King and a representative with the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation will speak. Luke said King was instrumental in helping the city receive funding to help conduct improvements at the park, including the planned amphitheater, along with other citywide projects. The LPRVF also provided funds that helped install the fence and purchase the land. The dedication ceremony will also unveil the two plaques that will be installed at the entrance to the park, one will commemorate the city’s administration, while the second will outline the historic nature of the site.