MLK Turf Field reopens for public use after renovation

MLK Turf Field reopens for public use after renovation
Photo courtesy of the city.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Field, which serves as the City of Richmond’s only outdoor football/soccer field, has reopened for public use after some highly needed rehab.

The field located at Marina Way S. and Virginia Ave. had been closed over the past few months to allow for the removal and replacement of the field turf, which was originally installed in 2009 and had reached its full 10-year life expectancy, according to the city. The project also involved implementing drainage improvements, as it was discovered that repairs to that system were needed, city documents state.

The Community Services Department, through fiscal agent Richmond Friends of Recreation, was awarded a $250,000 grant to get the new turf from the Las Vegas Raiders (who played in Oakland at the time), the NFL Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. The funds were part of the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program, which issues grants for the renovation and construction of football fields located in NFL communities. The City Council later approved a contract with Shaw Sports Turf for the turf replacement project.

An additional $150,000 were approved to repair the drainage at the field, which was paid for with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The city is planning a grand-opening event for the renovated field, which had its first grand opening in 2011 that was attended by Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Field receives about 17,500 player visits per year and is home to multiple local youth football teams, the city said when recieving the grant funding for the renovation in 2019.