$2.5 million sports complex is unveiled

By Tony E. Windsor

Members of Seaford Mayor and Council have been given a preliminary view of a proposed $2.5 million sports complex planned for an area near the historic Ross Mansion Plantation.

During the Tuesday, June 27, meeting of council, Matt Spong of Landscape Architectural Services brought displays showing the plan for the complex. Spong indicated that a special community committee has been meeting to discuss the sports complex and how it will be designed. This has led to a "master plan" for the complex.
Spong showed drawings that give the exterior layout of the grounds, including roadways and parking facilities for over 300 vehicles. A key point of interest is the proposed concession stand that is being designed to replicate the villa-style architecture of the nearby Ross Mansion. The first floor of the building is proposed to be 1,800 square feet and include restrooms and a full kitchen. Spong said the second-floor of the concession stand would be designed and developed later into the project.

Plans also call for developing a "Ceremonial Plaza" that will be handicap accessible and have pedestrian walkways and bike paths that will be built throughout the complex. Consideration has been given to having special memorial bricks, which can be purchased by community members and engraved, as part of the plaza layout.

During Phase 1 of the three-phase project, Spong said the complex will begin to be developed with some of the roadways, landscaping and parking, as well as electric for the full facility. One of the softball fields will be built with a 305-foot outfield line, 30-foot infield and 20-foot outfield. Spong said the fields would be built to National Softball Association standards. The softball field work will also include lighting, a sprinkler system, bleachers, fences and the first floor of the concession stand. The total estimated costs of the first phase, including professional design plans, is about $1.3 million. This cost includes a 20 percent contingency fund for unforeseen additional project work.

Scheduled for the second phase of the complex project is the development of three softball fields, irrigation, lighting and landscaping. This phase is estimated to cost about $679,500, including a 20 percent contingency fund. The third phase proposes the development of a football field/field hockey piece with lighting, portable goals and additional parking. T here is also a proposed multi-purpose play area proposed for children between the ages of 5 and 12-years-old. This would be built with a special soft, safety surface. The cost of the third phase is estimated at about $424,800, including a 20 percent contingency fund.

Spong said they plan to present the project for bids in early August. City Manager Dolores Slatcher said there are funding requests in the state legislature's annual bond bill. It was unclear at the time of the meeting just how much of the requests would be honored.

On Tuesday, July 11, Slatcher said the bond bill has not been approved by the state Senate, so she did not feel comfortable talking about how much funding the city may receive from the final bond. "I have to find out whether, when and if we get funding, this will be in the form of grants that need to have matching funds from the city," she said. "This has to be determined before we can say anything about what we may have gotten this year. But, until the bond bill has been approved I would rather not comment."

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