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  • Former councilman says Nephi City’s water improvement project should take precedence over recreation project

By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

The Nephi City Culinary Water Improvement Project should receive first priority over any other project the city might consider.

Robert Painter, who served as a two-term city council member beginning in 2004, said he had some advice for the current commissioners.

“The water improvement project should be your first priority,” said Painter. “It is a big project. I think you should have that in place before you jump into the recreation development project.”

The city was already experiencing the need for water restrictions and a recreation project would need more water resources.

Water pressure was already not good in some areas of the city and recreation fields would require water. A big complex would take water to keep the grass green on playing fields.

“Artificial turf might be the way to go,” said Larry Ostler, city council member.

“You would still need sprinklers to cool it down,” said Kasey Wright, city attorney.

Artificial grass can get really hot. Surface temperatures of artificial grass are about 20-50° F higher than natural grass and typically reach the same temperature as asphalt pavement.

The highest temperature measured during research was 200° F, according to https://wateruseitwisely.com/10-reasons-artificial-turf-may-not-youre-looking/. Now, manufacturers of the product are aware of the issue and are working to improve how hot the materials get. The Synthetic Turf Council has even published guidelines for minimizing the risk of heat-related illness.

“In the long run,” said Donald Ball, “grass may be cheaper.”

Painter said that the council should also remember the old people of the city in their recreation planning.

Along with that they needed to remember the long-time employees of the city who had kept the recreation areas the city did own in good shape and in excellent condition.

In addition, the city needed to use volunteers inside the city to make improvements.

“You invite them,” he said. “Utilize all the volunteers you can get.”

Helen Robinson’s work at Vine Bluff Cemetery made the city a better place, the work of volunteers had done much for the city through the years.

Service clubs had contributed needed funds and work.

He said that, over the years, volunteers had made a big difference in the community.

Eagle Scout projects had also done much to help with needed work and with needed projects.

“I support all of you and know that you will do your best to serve the residents of our city,” said Painter.

Seth Atkinson, city administrator, said that the city did have enough water resources to provide for the future. They had just brought two new wells online and, once the new water storage facilities were added into the system, the city would be able to serve all of its residents with adequate water pressure and with the safe delivery of culinary water.

“I have noticed that the Nephi City water guys have been extremely busy,” said Kent Jones, council member. “I am glad we hired a new FTE (full time employee) for the water department.”

There were valves that needed to be replaced and the crew was busy doing that part of the improvement project.

“We have had a lot of remarks on the high quality of the work they are doing,” said Ostler.

As the city does discuss developing more resources for the recreation department in the future, they needed to keep in mind the need for soccer fields. He had attended four different soccer games and knew that the sport was growing in popularity.

A Gallup poll released in January found that 7 percent of Americans named soccer as their favorite sport to watch in a survey completed during December. While that may not sound like much, the figure represents a significant, three-percentage-point gain from just four years ago. Soccer is the only sport to post such a large increase. Football (37 percent, down from 39 percent), basketball (11 percent, down from 12 percent ) and baseball (9 percent , down from 13 percent) all showed declining numbers. Hockey was at 4 percent , up from 3 percent.