DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – They run long and deep and athletic fields throughout Dallas are plagued by them. The cracks and crevasses in the ground caused by a severe summer drought seem to be a broken ankle waiting to happen.
Carmelo Sanchez manages a youth soccer club. His biggest concern lately, is making sure the field is safe. “We walk around with the coaches to see if we have any cracks in the field that might represent a danger for the kids,” said Sanchez.
The severe drought has forced the city of Dallas to shut down between 20 to 25 athletic fields for safety reasons. Soccer fields at Northwood Park and Anderson Bonner Park in North Dallas are just two of the many fields being repaired. Ken Beam, a manager with Dallas Parks and Recreation, says the fields were closed in order to make them safe.
The city is spreading tons of dirt over the damaged fields to fill in the countless cracks; some that run two feet deep. “They’re all over the fields. That’s the reason we brought soil in,” explained Beam. “We’ve been grading it out and watering it down, trying to make the fields safe again for our league play.”
Beam says Dallas has the 5th largest park system in the nation and the drought has impacted just about every park and athletic field in the city. “This is a severe drought for us. It’s not going to take a year to bring it back. It’s going to take a few years,” added Beam.
The city also has roughly 100 miles of bike trails. The drought is affecting parts of the trails as well. The ground underneath that supports the concrete is shrinking and so the concrete is falling apart.
Beam says not only will it take years to restore the damage, but it will cost the city plenty. It’s money that may be hard to come by, since the city faces a budget drought as well.