SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The weather is warming and soccer teams at every level are finally getting outdoors for practice and games.
The city of Sioux Falls is using innovation to prepare Yankton Trail Park for soccer season.
“This gives us the opportunity to paint our fields with an unmanned GPS guided robot,” District park supervisor Josh Johnson said.
The Turf Tank holds five gallons of paint, runs off dozens of satellites, and is accurate to within two-tenths of a centimeter.
“That’s one thing that’s been awesome for us is the consistency and the accuracy that it provides,” Johnson said.
The Turf Tank costs $43,000 but will pay for itself in one year. What it’s accomplishing here in 25 minutes would take a five man crew at least an hour.
“This will help us, especially early spring, late fall when we do see a lot of our college kids are returning back to school and we lose some of our staff,” Johnson said.
“The purchase of something like this allows them to be able to multi-task and better utilize their staff when they’re working,” Dakota Alliance Soccer Club Executive Director Frank Gurnick said.
“We started lining fields with lime back in the day with a fertilizer spreader,” Gurnick said.
Now, instead of staking and painting, the Turf Tank rolls out field after field with pinpoint precision.
“Outer boundaries, inside boundaries for penalty areas, goal areas, halfway lines, things like that, those can all be pre-programmed and then adjusted to how large or how small you’d like the field to be,” Gurnick said.
And soccer is only the start.
“Throughout the summer, we’re going to move it over to Riverdale to start with flag football and then we’ll move to Sanford to work with football, laying in those, and then just see what kind of labor savings and different costs and different opportunities are there for us,” Johnson said.
In addition to soccer and football, Sioux Falls Parks & Rec hopes to eventually use the Turf Tank on baseball and softball fields throughout the city.