Over the past eight months, the community has watched as unused green space at the Recreation Center property was transformed into two new multi-use turf athletic fields. Now, that transformation is nearly complete.
As part of improvements designated through the 2018 Master Plan, the City began construction in early spring 2020 on the new fields, which are set into the hillside along Springfield Pike on the west side of the Rec Center parking lot. The space was once known as the Kattelmann property, but the City purchased the property in 2015 and has planned on improvements to the location since that time.
Maintaining field space has been a continual challenge for the city due to its dense population, high participation numbers, and limited available land, says Director of Recreation and Citizen Engagement Rachel Leininger. And since turf fields are in high demand by amateur sports teams across the region, the city has already received many requests for rentals, which is expected to be a significant source of revenue in the future, adds Leininger.
A Land Water Conservation Grant for $456,549 funded a portion of the project, with the remaining $1,902,953 paid for through the city’s Capital Improvement Fund and a municipal bond. The fields are set end-to-end in a north/south configuration, with terraced seating cut into the hill at the west side of the property nearest Springfield Pike, with player seating on the opposite side. The project includes new landscaping and trees along Springfield Pike.
In addition to the fields, the space includes a new access path on the south side of the Rereation Center property that links to the sidewalk on the east (northbound) side of Springfield Pike. This allows for safer pedestrian access that by-passes the narrow sidewalk on Springfield Pike that runs close to the road, says Leininger. There is also a wall ball court set into the hillside.