As the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex board of directors cross their fingers that two new soccer fields are ready to play later this fall, the group is relegated to the fact that the fields may not open. before spring.
Bermuda grass grows on the new grounds southeast of the Dumas Lodge, but due to a delay in planting delivery and a late start to the growing season, the soccer fields may not be see action this fall.
In the meantime, the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission redirected existing funds and allocated an additional amount to help complete another project in the complex: the installation of two kiosks that will be used for concession stands. and an additional toilet at the south end of the complex.
Soccer fields and kiosks are two elements of the first phase of a two-part renovation and expansion plan for the complex.
The first phase, which is nearing completion, also included the construction of two new baseball and softball fields and the completion of two existing baseball and softball fields, all located at the south end of the complex, as well as the installation of new sod, lighting and fencing on four old fields on the north side of the facility.
The project is largely funded by a $ 2.7 million commitment from the El Dorado Works tax, a one-cent municipal sales tax initiative that targets economic development, infrastructure and quality of life projects. .
Work on the first phase began in 2019 and in the summer of 2020 the A&P commission injected an additional $ 257,000 to help complete the football fields after an unforeseen engineering expense created a shortfall in the budget of $ 2.7 million.
The football fields and additional toilets are the remaining elements of the first phase of the complex’s master plan.
The initial concept design for the first phase included a concession plaza that would serve the softball, baseball and soccer fields at the south end of the complex.
The concept came up with a concession stand and an outdoor dining area; toilets and water fountains; the coaches / referees lounge, locker rooms and the offices of the resort manager – the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado.
But after lengthy discussions about logistics, the availability of space for the square, and the price of $ 343,989, the complex board members downsized the building’s features and ultimately gave up on the idea.
Earlier this year, Murphy USA agreed to donate two used kiosks to the resort. MUSA uses kiosks in many of its convenience stores and gas stations across the country.
The town of El Dorado and Union County – both of which contribute to the resort’s annual operating budget – work together to coordinate the delivery and installation of the kiosks.
Members of the resort’s board of directors said the kiosks, which will be delivered from out of state, will include a total of three washrooms.
Kiosks will be placed at the southern end of the complex.
Greg Harrison, chairman of the resort’s board of directors, suggested that one of the kiosks be placed near the soccer fields and the other, between fields 5-8, four baseball and softball fields at the far end. south of the complex.
An existing sanitary facility with four stalls each for separate male and female units is located just south of the Dumas pavilion.
The resort’s board of directors is exploring options for even more washrooms, including the possibility of expanding the existing facility near the Dumas Pavilion.
Phase two of the master plan – which includes a baseball field for older teens and adults, a recreational trail that will encircle the complex, and the expansion and improvement of the parking lot – has been on hold for a few years to assess the impact of first phase projects on complex operations.
To help set up the kiosks, the A&P committee voted on October 6 to redirect the remaining funds from the $ 257,000 that had been allocated for soccer fields and to increase the allocation by $ 14,800.
Commissioner Paul Choate, who is the commission’s treasurer, explained that internally, accounts payable confusions resulted in nearly $ 200,000 in invoices being charged to the budget of the El Dorado works committee, rather than the A&P budget, for work that has been done on football fields.
Choate, also a member of El Dorado city council, said the errors were discovered during a months-long effort by accounting firm Emrich and Scroggins LLP to clean up the city’s financial records for the city council to finalize the budget for fiscal year 2020 and adopt the budget 2021, which was approved in August.
“We owe the (El Dorado Works Board) $ 199,915.74. We have allocated $ 257,000,” Choate told fellow A&P commissioners on Oct. 6.
Choate then noted the donation of the kiosks by MUSA, saying that a change in work order to install the structures amounted to $ 71,891.
Union County covers the cost of shipping the kiosks in El Dorado and works with the city to coordinate the delivery and installation of the kiosks.
City officials and members of the complex’s board of directors said the project will require the use of a crane, and setting up the kiosks on the day they are delivered will reduce the cost of renting the crane for more. of a day.
Choate said the work will consist of laying the concrete foundations and the plumbing and electrical hook-ups for the kiosks.
Diversified Construction and Design, LLC, is the contractor for the project.
Once the A&P Commission pays the nearly $ 200,000 it owes ISF, $ 57,084 will remain of the $ 257,000 allocated to soccer fields.
Choate proposed that the A&P redirect the remaining balance to the kiosk project and allocate an additional $ 14,807 that will be needed to fund the $ 71,891 project.
“We need to finish setting up the kiosks and at this point I don’t know of any other costs ahead of us,” Choate said.
“This will take us a long way to where we want to be in the complex,” Choate said, adding that he will work with the city’s accounts payable and receivable clerks to resolve the matter.
“And I know Diversified was waiting for approval to go ahead and start this,” added A&P Commissioner and City Council member Dianne Hammond.
Commissioner Alan Meadows asked for a timeline for when the football pitches would be ready and Harrison said the pitches may not be ready until spring.
Nationwide bottlenecks in the supply chain of building materials and other goods and services have delayed the delivery and planting of much of Bermuda’s grass for soccer fields.
The majority of plantings were expected in mid-June but did not take place until late July, Harrison said.
“In the world of COVID and with the weather, we are late where to crash,” Choate said.
A&P President Barbie Luther, who is a Union County master gardener, also said cooler temperatures will slow the growth process of Bermuda grass.
Harrison said there are about two weeks left in the main growing season.
In a complex board meeting on Friday, David Lee, executive director of the BGCE, said the club will use its own pitches and the football fields in the El Dorado school district behind the county fairgrounds Union for its football leagues until the fields are ready at the complex.
About 550 kids have signed up for soccer leagues this year, Lee said.
Phillip Lansdell, ESD athletic director and ex-officio member of the complex’s board of directors, said that with the two grounds at the complex, the district will be eligible to bid for high school football tournaments in the spring.
He said if ESD wins the bid, the boys’ 5-A tournament could bring together up to 32 teams in town in May.