Care for the environment is being recognized at Sioux Center’s largest park. Open Space Park, home to local baseball, softball and football fields, and other sports facilities, has been recognized as a Certified Facility for Environmentally Responsible Management.
The recognition comes from the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and confirms that environmental best practices are used throughout the facility in 10 areas: storm water management, fertilization, pest management, recycling, composting, mowing, energy conservation, building maintenance, irrigation and water quality testing, and educational outreach.
Parks Director Lee Van Meeteren said these management practices are central to the Parks Departments’ work at Open Space Park and throughout Sioux Center because it is a priority to maintain healthy, sustainable parks for years to come.
“We wanted to be on the leading edge of best management practices for protecting our environment and having very safe, healthy fields for our athletes to participate on,” Van Meeteren said. “The Parks Department staff has worked very hard to do things the right way. This certification wouldn’t have happened without the city’s partnerships with Sioux Center schools and Dordt College.”
The Parks Department follows a plan to use the least amount of products, water and energy to sustain the highest quality fields. Staff has introduced LED light sources with timers, irrigation clocks that run on weather data, slow release fertilizers and cultural practices to sustain healthy turf and protect against water run-off and player injury. Safety and proper documentation are also priorities for the department.
“The parks staff is honored to have passed this certification process,” Van Meeteren said. “We will continue to be dedicated to keeping our city environment in the forefront of all our decision making.”
Kim Heck, CEO of STMA, said Open Space Park has joined the ranks of a very select group, and this certification recognizes commitment to environmentally responsible management.
Photo: Sioux Center Parks Director Lee Van Meeteren tests the soil moisture and other levels at the Open Space Park baseball field to help the parks crew shape their management plan.
“Our members recognize the tremendous benefits adopting environmentally-friendly practices can provide,” Heck said. “We are proud to celebrate the sports turf managers, like Lee, who have gone above and beyond in their effort to make their facilities more sustainable.”