Sports facility in works

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 6, 2000

MONTICELLO — Sports enthusiasts and children will benefit froma project approved by the Lawrence County Board of SupervisorsWednesday, officials said.

The sports complex will include two 300-foot and two 200-footbaseball or softball diamonds, a walking track, two soccer fieldsand parking for an estimated 170 cars, not including additionalparking at the Senior Life Center and Lawrence CountyFairgrounds.

“We’re not going to (build) it all at once,” said District 1Supervisor Carey Hedgepeth. “We’re going to do it as we can.”

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County crews will do the preparation and dirt work when notworking on other projects, he said. County crews will also buildthe parking lot and similar projects for the complex.

Hedgepeth said because of that he could not “honestly give acompletion date.” He said it may take a year for the county tocomplete the dirt work this way. He expects the ground work tobegin in late August or early September.

The supervisor said by doing what work they can themselves, thecounty will save from $300,000 to 350,000 on total project. Evenwith the savings, Hedgepeth estimated the total cost of the sportscomplex at approximately $1.2 million.

Hedgepeth said the project is benefiting from a very interestedpublic, and the support has been invaluable.

“There is a lot of interest in the county to have it builtbecause Lawrence County is interested in the youth enjoying thebenefits of a project like this,” he said.

Eventually, Hedgepeth said, it is hoped tennis courts may alsobe added to the complex, although they are not part of the originalplan.

The sports complex will be located in the Industrial Park andoccupy space adjacent to the James Givens Agri-Business Buildingand behind the Senior Life Center.

“The site itself will be on two different elevations,” Hedgepethsaid. “One will have the ballfields, and the other will have thesoccer fields.”

The supervisor said that by having the complex at two separatelevels, the county not only saves money by moving less dirt but isalso aided in drainage.

The location also allows supervisors to begin searching forgrants to build a new industrial park. Hedgepeth said space in theold industrial park was limited, and over time more emphasis hadbeen placed on “people friendly” industries, such as theAgri-Business building and Senior Life Center, rather thanbusinesses.

This board hopes to create a new industrial complex on 40 acresbehind the new hotel on the Highway 27 bypass.

“You can’t get any grants for a new industrial park until youuse the last of the available space in the old industrial park,”Hedgepeth said. “This creates an opportunity for us to beginsearching for those grants.”

The supervisors met Wednesday because of the 4th of Julyholiday.