A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday at Bend’s Pine Nursery Park for the Bend FC Timbers’ two new turf fields.
The start of construction was seven years in the making. The Timbers have been fundraising since 2012 and raised about $2.5 million for construction of the fields.
The fields are expected to be completed by November, with the first games to be played in December. About 3,500 people are expected to play on the fields, as the Timbers have 28 club teams and also host adult and junior recreation leagues.
According to Matt Mercer, recreation services director for the Bend Parks and Recreation District, the fields will be open to the public when the Timbers are not using the fields. ” If there are not activities going on, it’s a public park. It will be open and available for people to use, ” Mercer said.
Mercer added that the fields will open up a lot of space for the parks.
“The Timbers are far and away the largest user of athletic fields in the community, outside the Parks and Recreation programs themselves,” he said.
The park and rec district is calling the new fields a win-win, as they also open up space on public fields previously used by the Timbers.
Tara Bilanksi , executive director of Bend FC Timbers, said the main reason for her teams to play on turf is for the competition.
“Ninety-nine percent of our club games by those 28 teams, when we play an opponent in Portland or in Eugene or wherever, are on turf fields,” she said.
The fields also can be used year-round, unlike grass fields. They can also be cut in half to make four smaller-sized fields for soccer games of nine vs. nine and seven vs. seven players.
Two more turf fields are planned to be completed by 2025.
To learn more: https://www.bendfctimbers.com/