Council green lights sports park plan

December 31, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

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The potential sports park would at the far east end of this site along Southeast 95th Way. By Tim Pfarr

The potential sports park would at the far east end of this site along Southeast 95th Way. By Tim Pfarr

The City Council approved the final plan for the potential Southeast 95th Way sports park at its Dec. 1 meeting. The city has contracted with MacLeod Reckord, a landscape architecture firm, to design the park.The sports park would be located off 95th Way; the site is 33.5 acres. MacLeod Reckord presented the initial master plan for the park in December 2008, and the plan has undergone some minor changes since.

Most notably, a small concessions building was added to the west side of the site; stairways between the fields were widened from about 7 feet to 12 feet; seat walls were added around the fields for use by spectators; and exercise stations were added to the trails system north of the central fields.

Furthermore, mile markers were added to the trail routes, the fenced dog play area was redesigned to accommodate additional overflow parking and changes were made to what vegetation will be added to the site and what vegetation will be removed.

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Parks Program Manager Michael Holly said the plan calls for planting nearly 300 new trees.

The plan was also altered to be completed in three separate phases, beginning at the west end of the site and moving east.

The first phase is scheduled to include the installation of a natural turf softball/Little League field and two play areas.

The second phase is scheduled to include the installation of a synthetic turf baseball field, two synthetic turf softball/Little League fields and two synthetic soccer fields.

The third phase is scheduled to include the installation of another synthetic turf soccer field, a synthetic turf lacrosse field, at least three informal practice football fields and the fenced, off-leash dog area.

In a preliminary cost estimate, city officials said the first phase would cost almost $3.1 million, the second phase would cost about $8 million and the third phase would cost about $3.6 million. The city has not budgeted any funds for the park in 2010; the soonest the city may break ground is 2011.

“It’s a great design for Newcastle,” Holly said. “It has all the elements that we look for in making an athletic park.”

He said most of the clearing for the park has already been done.

Councilwoman Carol Simpson said she was pleased with the public process that yielded the final plan.

“It’s gone through an excellent public process,” Simpson said of the plan. “I believe it’s been pretty well presented in the public realm.”

Although she said she was pleased with the finalization of the plans, she said making the park a reality might be difficult.

“It’s good to have a plan on hand,” she said. “Whether we can execute it is a different question.”

Councilman Sonny Putter also said building the park will be a lot of work.

“I think the design is very ambitious,” he said. “It obviously is going take a great deal of effort from people throughout the community over time to make it a reality.”

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