Friday, January 23, 2015

Recreation Board Approves Latest Soccer Plan

Fairhope, Alabama

New Fairhope Soccer Complex plan

The city's Recreation Board voted unanimously to recommend for approval by the city council the revised plans for the controversial Manley Road Soccer Complex: The original plan developed over a year ago proved to be too costly and objectionable to neighbors.

John Avent and another engineer from Preble Risch Engineering presented the new plan for nine fields, two of them in the center of "championship" size, 530 parking spaces and surface drainage; but without any other "amenities."

Room was left in the design for bleachers, locker rooms, a press box, and meeting/storage space to be "built out eventually."

A sidewalk is to be around the main field and a coated chain link fence around the entire facility.

The drainage ditch along Hwy 13 is to be filled in and an "open" retention pond (holds water temporarily) installed; the two championship fields will have underground drainage but the others will have crowns or slopes as drainage.

Avent said the revised project's cost is "a little outside" of the $3.5 million already budgeted for the project this year by the city council.

Bob Keyser of the Fairhope Soccer Club said the club has agreed to raise funds to build concession stands and "36-stall restrooms" -- and to purchase some equipment for the fields (goals).

Preble Risch engineer
Keyser said the soccer community is "happy with" the new plan.

A four-bid construction package is proposed, the largest for grading and dirt work; there is a 22' drop from the east side to west at one end. The other smaller bid are for grass/irrigation, parking/asphalt, and fencing.

The city itself will do the plumbing and electrical work.

No mention was made of hiring a construction manager to supervise construction: The city council interviewed four candidates last December.

If all goes as planned, the facility could be completed by May of 2016, in time for Spring tournaments.

The Recreation Board only advises; the city council must approve the revised design before progressing. The Planning Commission may need to approved a revised site plan as well.


Recreation Director Sherry Sullivan said council members have been meeting with the Fairhope Tennis Association club -- and some councilors have expressed an interest in "at least looking at" clay courts.

Other types of soft surfaces ("rubberized") are another possibility under consideration.

She said she had been researching the various types of courts in use throughout the state, their costs, and the league court-surface requirements for holding various types of tennis tournaments.

The city council has budgeted $300K for 6 additional hard surface ones this year (there are 6 already at Stimpson Field); but the FTA, their primary users, objected -- preferring clay ones instead.

Fairhope high school students also utilize the facility; as well as the general public to a lesser extent.

Clay courts require much more care than hard surface, and frequent watering  to prevent drying out/cracking -- and cost over $70,000 each, compared to only about $30,000 for hard. No numbers were given for other-type surfaces.

"Hydrocourts" with underground irrigation need less maintenance -- but are much more costly. Two of these, and four conventional hard ones, is one possible option; but the U.S. Tennis Association recommends similar courts be built in "banks of six."

A minimum of 12 courts is needed for the Alabama High School Tennis Association to hold tournaments, all of the same surface-type; but other tournaments need fewer.

Sullivan said it will be up to the city council to decide if they are to be for recreation or tournament play -- and if it wants to spend more than what has been allotted in the budget.

Clay courts would require at least one  additional maintenance person be hired (about $30K per yr.); but if a city tennis pro is hired next year (as expected), he could probably do some of it himself.


The Board also:

* Made modifications to tennis court rules.

* Heard that that the tennis center clubhouse is no longer manned -- while new rules/policies concerning unattended children there are being finalized (It should be a policy, not an ordinance according to the city attorney).

* Heard that some Founders Park and High School soccer fields were vandalized recently, causing considerable damage and scheduling problems.

* After a lengthy discussion, decided to table a request from Teamwork Llc. to use the swimming and recreation facilities for private triathlon training sessions.  Space available and precise language of the franchise agreement were the main concerns,  (Teamwork is owned by a member of the Recreation Board, who left the room during the discussion.)


original plan


Anonymous said...

This committee is infamous for its secrecy .... :(

Anonymous said...

I guess we will have to put hundreds of porta potties out there. going to be a smelly mess.

Anonymous said...

Thes things always seem to wind up costiing us a lot more than they tell us at first.

Anonymous said...

This is such a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

well ... i guess it is better than having another ugly D R Horton subdivision out there ...

Anonymous said...

it is a safe bet that Summit Construction will end up winning the biggest part of this contract......somehow.