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County talks soccer fields
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Soccer games are one step closer to happening in the new Henderson Park this season.

County Planning and Zoning Director Dale Dudley gave an update to the Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Dudley said Kay Green, director for the Richmond Hill Recreation Association, has been in constant contact with the county and the soccer coaches to make headway with the project.

"I was hoping to get out there for practice at the end of the month," Green said, noting soccer starts on Sept. 6. "Because of the lack of pavement, parking, etc., we’re trying to limit the use and we’re planning on putting the older kids on it."

Dudley said the county is planning on paving the last parking lot first, then working toward the entrance, which means that construction will be happening at the same time as soccer practices.

"That doesn’t mean they can’t play soccer, especially on the weekends, because there won’t be any construction then," he said. "They can access the fields now but there are no restrooms available and with paving, it won’t be fully accessible for some time."

Commissioner Rick Gardner said while there isn’t an issue playing on the weekends, for weekday practice, coaches and players "need to understand the liability issue."

But County Administrator Phil Jones said the ultimate goal is to get the players out on the field as soon as possible.

"Once they can play without interrupting the traffic flow, we’d like to let them use the fields," Jones said.

Green said because new construction on the Richmond Hill Elementary School slightly shortened those fields, U-19, U-14 and possibly U-12 players, who need a larger field, can hopefully play at Henderson. That means less children playing on the RHES fields, providing more room for the smaller children.

"We also have a contingency plan to use the field next to the rec gym," Green continued. "I’m hoping to get them out there as soon as possible."

Green said she thinks the county has been doing a good job.

"There’s so much to do out there, it’s a huge undertaking," she said. "I think they are really trying to make it happen…We don’t want to interfere to impede on progress or delay the ultimate finish, but I really want to get out there."

The grading for the fields is complete and fencing is currently underway, Dudley said. The soccer fields’ lighting installation is scheduled to start this week.

Additionally, the irrigation and irrigation pumps are being used now in the park and the concession stand is under construction, on schedule to be finished and functional by mid-October. Baseball fields are being graded now, the entrance road is being worked on, some of the parking areas are being graded and the softball fields have already been graded.

Over in Hendrix Park, Dudley said everything for their soccer fields is already finished and by Aug. 21, the lights should be installed.

The Green Creek Nature Trail, off Hwy. 144, has had the first part of asphalt completed. The rest of the property, which will create a 3-mile triangle shaped trail, has been surveyed and plans are continuing.

Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said, when approaching the trail on Hwy. 144, "you’re on it before you know it," and he’d like to see some signage placed on the side of the road to show people where the turn off for the parking lot is.

There has also been discussion of limited scale, low voltage lighting for the trail parking lot, which would automatically turn on at dusk and shut off after a certain time at night.


In other engineering business:

- The Belfast Siding realignment with Hwy. 144 and the Belfast Siding Loop: The county now has the right-of-way, which was certified two weeks ago. Dudley said the clearing is done and Georgia Department of Transportation will be putting the paperwork together for the contract, which can then be put out for bids. Commissioner Glen Willard said the county is lucky to have the support of DOT on this project, when so many others have been put on hold. Getting a contract is what’s holding up the process. Once they have the DOT contract for the realignment and paving, the full contract with the Loop will be put together. Jones said they hope all of it will be done before the end of 2008 and will provide much better intersections and safer roads for residents.




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