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Completion Of Lakeland Athletic Complex Looking At Delays

Lights are coming to the Lakeland athletic facility, but power will need to be run to the property first. LC file photo.

by Matt Wright

Like many things today, inflation has taken its toll on a project in Lakeland. According to Pat O’Mara, Lakeland Parks and Recreations Director, estimates to begin work on Phase Two of the Lakeland Athletic Complex came back more than anticipated. The higher estimates will force Lakeland to look at spacing out the project over time. “The proposal for the design and engineering of phase two was higher than we anticipated,” Mr. O’Mara said. “With all the projects ongoing in Lakeland, such as the New Canada Road project, we didn’t want to expand the budget for this year,” he said.

Phase One of the project, which is located at 9661 Memphis-Arlington Road, was completed last fall and the official ribbon cutting was held last week. Phase One includes two flat fields, which will be used for sports such as youth soccer among other uses. However, Phase Two is a much larger part of the project. That phase would include the construction of three baseball fields, one of which could be used for softball, as well as paving throughout the complex, lights on fields, and a building for restrooms and concessions.

The land, which the city purchased in 2004, is also more of a challenge to complete Phase Two. “There are environmental challenges on the site,” said Mr. O’Mara. Examples of extreme topography and water issues were cited.

Mr. O’Mara said the project will once again be on the agenda for the June Board of Commissioners meeting. He anticipates discussing a way to have the design and engineering work done in phases over the next few years, instead of all at once, something that would be more budget friendly. In the meantime, Mr. O’Mara said they will continue working on funding options and grants, something that was utilized for Phase One of the project.