The City of Niceville will spend $130,000 to resod a field at Twin Oaks Park that soccer officials closed due to poor conditions.
Referees with the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) made a formal complaint to their governing body, citing the risk of injury playing and officiating on the field. The field has been closed for about a month.
The city initially approved $100,000 for a resodding project in the fiscal year 2024 budget. The Council decided to pair the original budget with savings the city hopes to accrue by collaborating with Okaloosa County’s Board of County Commissioners on another project at Meigs Park. The city has a lease on Twin Oaks Park from the United States Air Force, and is responsible for the maintenance of the fields.
The Project at Meigs Park, which would build Okaloosa County’s park for children with special needs, still needs official funding from the state legislature to have the capital to become a reality.
“If approved, this project could start tomorrow and have it done by Christmastime,” City Manager David Deitch told the Council. The fields would “be playable sometime in January, hopefully in time for the end of the soccer season, as well as the championships and tournaments that follow the season,” Deitch added.
The Niceville Boys’ (6-1-1) and Girls’ (8-1-2) teams have excellent odds of making the playoffs. Those games would take place in February. Both teams must share the single remaining soccer field available at Twin Oaks, meaning additional wear-and-tear. Each team plays roughly one and a half times on the field weekly.
The city could have gone through the formal bid process to determine which vendor to use. Chad Morris, a high-ranking official with the city who handles the IT Departments and other special projects, told the Council that they could approve the amount with a majority vote.
The city did get two quotes for the work to resod the field. A third company, Dogwood, told the city it could not take on the additional work. The local company that won the bid, Landscape Workshop, bid $130,000 and told the city they would mulch the current turf and laser-level it before resodding the grounds.
The other bidder, Tifton Farms of Georgia, bid $132,000 and planned to rip out the sod currently in place and require city employees to take it to the dump.