Robot will help line Grand Rapids athletic fields

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids is following in the footsteps of pro sports teams to get its athletic fields ready for play.

A robot, the Turf Tank One, will line its playing fields.

“This is a device that will simply take away the manual labor of having to line our softball, baseball, soccer fields,” said David Marquardt, the director of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation.

The device has been a hit since it first came to the market in 2017.

“They use the robot in Raymond James Stadium to do the initial NFL markings,” said Jason Aldridge, the president of Turf Tank. “We have NFL, MLS teams.”

Aldridge adds that numerous athletic complexes in Michigan and the city of Detroit have the robot.

“One of our core values here in the city of Grand Rapids is innovation,” Marquardt said.

Marquardt says the tank, which costs about $10,000 per year to operate, will save the city money.

“That’s a big number, but it’s also a savings to the department of about ($5,000 to $10,000) per year,” Marquardt said.

About half of Grand Rapids’ 75 parks have fields that will be lined by the robot.

“It allows us to free up staff time to focus attention on other things the community has prioritized for us without jeopardizing staff numbers,” Marquardt said.

The city is leasing the robot for three years. Lines will be painted on a bi-weekly basis.

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