LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 26, 2019) – In a major and visible milestone for Louisville City FC’s new stadium, the playing surface is changing from brown dirt to smooth green grass. Workers are installing more than 300 rolls of sod for the natural grass field at Lynn Family Stadium in Butchertown.
To celebrate this highlight in the stadium’s construction, Mayor Greg Fischer, Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and Messer Construction project manager Jason Larkin joined Louisville City Football Club owners and executives to “roll out the green carpet” and install some of the sod onto the soccer team’s new field. The playing surface includes a state-of-the-art drainage system to ensure long-lasting growth and superb surface water removal.
“It was extremely important to me that our new stadium have a natural grass playing surface,” Louisville City Coach John Hackworth said. “Soccer is meant to be played on grass, and I am excited to see the field begin to be installed at Lynn Family Stadium. I can’t wait to see our players run out onto that pitch for our first home game in 2020.”
The Indiana-grown playing surface arrived this week in 12 truckloads, each carrying rolls of sod 48 inches wide and approximately 75 feet long. The Messer-Harmon JV construction team has begun the two-day installation process, using large laying machines to place sod strips to cover the nearly 100,000 square foot soccer field.
GrassMasters, a sod farm in southwest Indiana, grew the sand-based Bermuda grass field, which incorporates the Tahoma-31 strain grass over-seeded with rye to create the ideal soccer playing surface. Several regional professional sports teams have sourced grass for practice fields and other playing surfaces from the Indiana grower.
“You could say that this week, we’re ‘rooting’ for Louisville City by getting the grass well-rooted into our state-of-the-art field system,” said Larkin. “We are so invested in getting this field system right that I personally visited the sod farm twice to check in on the grass growth. We are thrilled to see the green field come to life — it accentuates the great progress our team is making in finishing out our city’s newest iconic stadium.”
A high-tech SubAir drainage system was installed beneath the playing surface to combat inclement weather on game days, address challenges of the Ohio Valley climate and extend the growing season of the grass. On rainy days, the SubAir system quickly drains water off the field; on cold days, the system blows heated air into the roots to keep the grass greener longer.
Once in place, the grass will be watered, raked and fertilized. Ongoing maintenance will include its first mowing in about six weeks, regular watering and using heat to restart growth in advance of the first Louisville City game next spring.
“The pitch is the most important part of this project, and with the technology we’ve implemented, we’ll have one of the finest surfaces in America,” Louisville City President Brad Estes said. “Tahoma-31 Bermuda grass is specifically engineered for the transition zone climate that has cold winters and hot summers. Lynn Family Stadium’s SubAir system will enable us to keep our pitch green year-round and will drain water at a rate that will ensure we never have a rainout.”
Since its inception in 2014, Louisville City has played home games at Slugger Field, a baseball stadium which does not allow for traditional soccer field dimensions and incorporates a mixture of natural and artificial playing surfaces. Messer-Harmon JV crews continue to work diligently to complete the 11,700-seat facility, which was designed by global architecture firm HOK, in advance of Louisville’s City’s 2020 USL season.
“The excitement in Louisville and around the region continues to grow as this world-class stadium makes impressive strides toward completion,” said Fischer. “This ambitious venture will help us create another destination district for visitors and residents alike, and today’s rolling of the green is literally helping lay the groundwork for Louisville’s future.”
“This amazing ‘green carpet’ is one more example of the greatness within our community has to offer when we work together,” said Sexton Smith. “Everything and everyone we needed is right here in our region and Butchertown is thrilled to be the official home of LouCity!”
About Messer-Harmon JV:
Messer Construction and Harmon Construction teamed for the joint venture of building Louisville City Football Club’s new stadium. The two construction leaders previously teamed to manage the expansion of the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium. Messer Construction is one of the region’s largest building contractors and is employee-owned with nearly 160 workers in the Louisville area. Strong Louisville ties for Harmon Construction, based in North Vernon, Ind., include firm president William A. “Billy” Harmon, a former University of Louisville basketball player from 1973-77. For more information, visit messer.com.
About Louisville City FC:
Since its launch in 2014, Louisville City FC has been committed to serving the community of Louisville and state of Kentucky as the lone professional soccer team in the Commonwealth. Louisville City won USL Championship Titles in 2017 and 2018, becoming the first back-to-back USL Championship Title Winners winner in the USL modern era. Finishing in the top five in average attendance in the USL at Slugger Field since 2015, Louisville City will move into its new home, Lynn Family Stadium, for the 2020 season. Get the latest news on Louisville City FC at LouisvilleCityFC.com and via the club’s channels on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.