Greener on the other side

McALISTERVILLE – The Fayette Area Lions Den, a recreation and community center, has recently completed a $70,000 project that will upgrade its indoor arena floor from green tiles to artificial turf.

Victoria Tornambe, executive director of the Lions Den, said it was a long overdue upgrade.

“We have been open for 13 years and the green tiled flooring that we had was becoming worn down, it was starting to become slippy. It was unsafe. So we knew, sooner or later, we were going to have to do something,” she said.

However, Tornambe and the board of directors agreed they would have to first raise half of the money required before they would take out a loan for the other half.

“We have been kicking this around and kicking this around for years and, for years, we were going to get the turf and then there was no extra money coming in,” she said.

Tornambe said the community was great in their support in raising money for this project.

“We had a concession stand. We did a monthly raffle. We sent out a mass mailing at the end of last year. We ended up getting close to $15,000 from that, from the community. That was wonderful,” she said.

Finally, at the end of 2013, the Lions Den met its goal of raising half of the money for the project.

“We met with a turf company and they gave us an estimate and we took that to the board and they approved it. We basically got things rolling at the beginning of the year,” she said.

Installation of the new turf began the week of July 7th and was completed in five days. With the new turf needing less upkeep than the green tile, Tornambe said maintenance workers at the Lions Den are now able to focus on other projects.

“My janitors are going to be free to do more things, like cleaning the facility instead of having to zamboni the floor. That is going to save us a lot in maintenance, ” she said.

Tornambe said replacing the floor in the indoor arena is just one phase of the general overhaul of the building.

“We realize our building is 13-years-old and we realize there are needs for upgrades and renovations and we are doing it in phases. So the turf was our first phase. Our board members and I walked through the entire facility and tried to see what needed done. Now I think our next phase is going to be getting new (workout) equipment,” she said.

However, in order to help pay for the project, the Lions Den will start charging adults $1 for admission to games played in the indoor facility.

“We had to pay for the turf. We had to pay to get the lines sewn into the turf. You have to pay for the rubber infill, the labor,” she said.

Tornambe is planning to have an open house in the near future to show the public the new turf and give them a tour of the facility, but for now, she is just happy the project is finally complete.

“We are just so happy that we have finally done this. We have talked about this for years. Now to have it done and unveil to the public is great,” she said.