Construction on Greenwood’s newest amenity is progressing, with crews moving dirt before laying the foundation of the city’s latest project.
A 40-acre plot of land northwest of the Worthsville Road and Interstate 65 interchange will soon be the site of an expansive sports park that will include eight baseball/softball diamonds and a multi-use playing field. It will also include the city’s second splash pad, and add to Greenwood’s inventory of inclusive playground equipment, according to designs for the project.
The park will provide a place for traveling sports teams and their families, officials said.
Right now though, the site is just like other new construction sites — flat and empty.
“With any new construction, especially this scale, it’s a raw site,” said Rob Taggart, parks and recreation executive director. “It had no-to-limited utilities with it.”
Infrastructure and utility work underway
Construction crews are currently working to put in place infrastructure and utilities, including sanitation, stormwater, power and water lines, he said.
The park is expected to cost around $10 million, but the majority of the funds come from a $9 million tax increment financing, or TIF, bond approved by the city council in May. The bond will pull revenues received from the Worthsville Road TIF district, which officials have said is generating revenue quicker than expected.
City officials say the remaining $1 million will be paid with park impact fees and operating funds. Park impact fees are collected from each new home built in the city to create and maintain park facilities.
The park’s design remains on track with what officials have previously said it would include, including the eight baseball/softball diamonds. The diamonds are designed to be multi-use and will use a hybrid approach for the turf. Artificial turf will be used for the infield and natural grass will be used in the outfield, Taggart said.
There also is the community park aspect as well.
“They’ll be inclusive play equipment, splash pad (and) also a multi-use field north of that,” he said. “Then the whole side will be networked with multi-use trails.”
There’s currently not a publicly available timeline for construction due to the nature of the construction environment right now with supply chain and labor issues. The city is dealing with these on a day-to-day basis, and will likely not have a clear vision of the construction timeline any sooner than early next year, Taggart said.
“This is just a great opportunity for us to have that recreational amenity in that southeast quadrant of the city,” he said. “… Also with the additional ball diamonds, we’ll be able to offer more of a diverse range of programs, and then also be bringing in tournaments as well.”
Mayor Mark Myers is very excited about the project and what it will offer to the community. Among the things it offers is a cricket field, something the city has never had before.
“It has a lot to offer, really, for everything,” he said.
When people come to communities these days, they are seeking communities that have amenities that improve their quality of life. They are seeking inclusive playgrounds, parks and splash pads, along with opportunities like playing in tournaments, Taggart said.
“This is ticking the box on making sure that Greenwood is staying relevant and providing top quality of life amenities,” he said.
Quality of life improvements
The park builds quality-of-life amenities for everybody, but also provides new opportunities for recreation that will be new to the city. The multi-use field can be used for a variety of sports, including cricket. That’s something that has been lacking for the city’s growing Sikh population, Myers said.
The sports park will also bring a soccer field, something the city hasn’t had in a while, for both children and adults to use, he said.
“It’s another amenity to help get people out and help encourage that healthy, walkable lifestyle,” Myers said.
Taggart said that under the Myers’ administration, the city has been able to produce several quality-of-life projects, including the re-imagined Old City Park, the redevelopment of the Surina Park Amphitheater and the Greenwood Fieldhouse. Taggart foresees the quality of work from these projects being present with the sports park as well.
“I think that’s what the residents can expect,” he said.
Along with the sports park, he cites the upcoming completion of the walking trail along Madison Avenue and Main Street in Old Town as part of the idea.
“People first said (the trail) was a really bad mistake and said people wouldn’t use them. But they’re used more and more,” Myers said.