A second soccer field to be finished at the Russellville Sports Complex is behind schedule, and it doesn’t look as if it will be ready for play before September.
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton told his council Tuesday the project of sodding the second unfinished soccer field was close to two months behind schedule due to the recent rains. The city has been bringing in top soil to cover the graveled field to prepare it for sodding. The dirt is now saturated from the rains, which is causing the delay.
“We brought in dirt and it began to rain, now it’s so wet we can’t get back in it. Will we be able to get it open in time to play on it this fall? Probably not,” said Stratton.
The mayor told his council it was actually good news things fell the way they did, because if the city’s plans had gone the way they wanted, the sod would have been down during the drought.
“The man that sells the sod told me that no matter how much you water you would have used, we would have lost it,” said Stratton. “This was actually a blessing in disguise,” added the mayor.
Stratton said as of right now, if things continue to go as it is, the city will be shooting for the beginning of September.
“I apologize, but it’s one of those things that we can’t help,” said Stratton.
The city received $1.5 million from the state’s Energy & Environmental Protection Cabinet (EEPC) in 2007 to build the park. The money came from a settlement between the state and Rockwell International, a long-serving industry in Russellville that released Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment. The property the park is located on was donated to the city by Rockwell.
Mayor Stratton has been working on the park as money becomes available. Although work on the complex began in 2010 Stratton inherited the project, which was incomplete and out of money after coming into office last year. The park project began during his predecessor mayor Gene Zick’s term, which he left three months early with the park unfinished.
The park has two soccer fields, one that is turfed and one that was unfinished. The city council decided to sod the second field because it would be less cost thatn to turf like the first. The council also feels there will be less maintenance costs in keeping up the grass field in the long run than the turf field that was decided upon by a previous council.
The park also has a turf softball field, unfortunately the field has no lighting, which makes it unusable during the night time.
The city received a $150,000 carpenter foundation grant to help finish the park. This money purchased concrete sidewalks, much needed landscaping, some addition lighting, sod for the second soccer field and lots and lots of gravel for the parking areas.
Stratton says he is looking forward to the park being open for play. He is excited to be able to offer the complex to the youth of the community, but also wants people to realize that this park will be a little different than the city’s other two parks.
“The complex won’t be open to the public for general play like the other two parks,” said mayor Stratton. “The complex will be for scheduled organized play only,” added the mayor.
According to Stratton, the city does not have the manpower to monitor the complex 24-7 and concern for the integrity of the turf soccer and softball fields is of the utmost importance. Stratton said the turf field has to be protected. He said if someone played on it with metal cleats for instance, that would cause a lot of costly problems.