Construction is underway on the $10 million Greenwood Sports Park

Construction on Greenwood’s newest attraction is progressing, with crews moving a toe before breaking ground on the city’s newest project.

A 40-acre parcel northwest of Worthsville Road and Interstate 65 will soon be the site of an expansive sports park that will include eight baseball/softball diamonds and a multi-purpose 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 venue for traveling sports teams and their families, officials said.

Right now, however, the place is just like other new construction sites – flat and empty.

“With any new construction, especially on this scale, it’s a raw site,” said Rob Taggart, executive director of parks and recreation. “There were unlimited utilities with it.”

Infrastructural and utility works are being carried out

Construction crews are currently working to build infrastructure and utilities, including sewer, stormwater, electrical and water lines, he said.

The park is expected to cost about $10 million, but most of the funds come from a $9 million tax increment financing, or TIF, bond approved by the City Council in May. The bonds will draw revenue received from the Worthsville Road TIF district, which officials say is generating revenue faster than expected.

City officials say the remaining $1 million will be paid for 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 consistent with what officials said it would include, including the eight baseball/softball diamonds. Diamonds are designed to be reusable and will use a hybrid approach for turf. Artificial turf will be used for the infield and natural grass will be used in the outfield, Taggart said.

There is also a public park aspect.

“They will be inclusive of play equipment, a splash pad (and) a multi-use field to the north of that,” he said. “Then the whole country will be connected by multi-use trails.”

There is currently no publicly available construction schedule due to the nature of the construction environment right now with supply chain and labor issues. The city is dealing with them on a day-to-day basis and likely won’t have a clear vision of the construction schedule until early next year, Taggart said.

The park addresses the lack of recreation

The sports park as a whole is designed to address the recreation deficit in that part of town while developing an attractive gateway on Worthsville Road, Taggart said.

“It’s just a great opportunity for us to have these recreational amenities in this southeast quadrant of the city,” he said. “…Also with the additional ball diamonds, we will be able to offer more of a diverse range of programs and then we will also introduce tournaments.”

Mayor Mark Myers is very excited about the project and what it will offer the community. Among the things it offers is a cricket ground, something the city has never had before.

“It has something to offer, really, for everything,” he said.

When people come to communities these days, they look for communities that have amenities that enhance their quality of life. They’re looking for comprehensive playgrounds, parks and splash pads, along with opportunities like tournament play, Taggart said.

“This ticks the box to make sure Greenwood stays relevant and provides the highest quality of life amenities,” he said.

Improvements in quality of life

The park creates quality of life amenities for all, but also provides new recreational opportunities that will be new to the city. The multi-purpose field can be used for various sports including cricket. That’s something the city’s growing Sikh population lacks, Myers said.

The sports park will also bring a soccer field, something the city hasn’t had in a while, for kids and adults, he said.

“It’s another amenity that helps get people out and 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 redevelopment of Old City Park, the redevelopment of the Surina Park Amphitheater and the Greenwood Fieldhouse. Taggart envisions the quality of work from those projects being present in the sports park as well.

“I think residents can expect that,” he said.

Along with the sports park, he cited the upcoming completion of the Madison Avenue pedestrian walkway and Old Town Main Street as part of the idea.

“People first said (the trail) was a really bad mistake and said people wouldn’t use them.” But they are being used more and more,” Myers said.

Studies show that trails and parks, for example, are one of the things people look at when looking for a community to move to. So building those things is just as important as attracting jobs and places to eat, Myers said.

“We’re trying to add to that so when people come to Greenwood, they want to stay in Greenwood,” he said.

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