Westfield’s Grand Park tackles weather issues with techology

Hamilton County (WISH) — Grand opening events at Westfield’s Grand Park kicked off on Friday. A carnival atmosphere filled the park, complete with a ferris wheel and concert, but the 57 athletic fields are winning the attention of most visitors.

The sounds of summer crack in the air in Westfield’s Grand Park, less than a day after rain poured down on fields.

“You notice, even with all the drainage we have, no water standing on the field, just completely drains off,” Steve Henke of Henke Development said.

Henke says he took knowledge from building Bridgewater Club golf course and put it to use in Grand Park on the diamonds and fields.

“They’re really designed so you can get two inches of rain and play an hour later,” Henke said.

It’s nearly weather-proof, with both grass and synthetic fields that are back-filled with sand rather than dirt.

“With the sand it just drains away and drains right back to our irrigation lakes,” Henke said.

And those steps are already catching the attention of spectators.

“We saw the turf on the way in and it looks absolutely amazing,” said Scott Griffin who attended Friday’s events.

“It’s already helped obviously. I’ve heard that there were high school baseball games that were played here because the fields were rained out, so that’s pretty awesome,” Westfield father Travis Bergoff said.

There’s also awnings for onlookers. And when a big storm stalls a game, there’s technology on hand to keep athletes and their fans safe.

“We will then turn on a beacon system, as well as a siren, in the park to let every one know,” Henke said.

A lightning detection system is on hand, which is manned by staff, as well as radar and apps.

“It’s a flashing red light. It stays on until it’s safe to go back to the fields,” Henke said.

The whole design aims to not only get sports tournaments to choose Grand Park for their event, but to make sure they return again and again.

“They step onto these fields and it’s almost like ‘Wow, we get to play here.’ It’s really neat,” Henke said.

Grand Park’s grand opening festivities continue all weekend. The governor will be there Saturday for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. A major announcement is expected regarding investment in the park.

The ceremonies conclude Sunday with a 5K family fun run and walk.

Hwoever, the $45 million park is not complete. This is really just the beginning. Shops, restaurants, and hotels are all in the works to build on and around the property.

Dave & Rae concert at Grand Park's grand opening
Dave & Rae concert at Grand Park’s grand opening
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