2017-01-18 / Front Page

Fourth soccer field under construction

by Kate Evans

A fourth soccer field at the Alex Rickli Memorial Soccer Complex is now under construction and plans for new playground equipment at the site are progressing, said Morgan County Parks and Recreation president Aaron Close and Morgan County School Board vice-president. The soccer complex is located across from the county ball park complex on U.S. Route 522 South.

The soccer field that’s currently being built is for middle school-age players, Close said.

Contractors that are excavating the new Sheetz site in Berkeley Springs D. L. George of Waynesboro, Pa. and Bolgers Brothers, Inc. of Altoona, Pa. are donating and hauling clean fill and topsoil from the excavation to the soccer complex for the middle school field to bring it up to grade depth. The field has a drop off in the back, he noted.

Not ready for spring use

The soccer complex will not be ready for use for spring soccer season.

Parks and Recreation is waiting to officially open the soccer complex with a grand opening ceremony after the new soccer field is completed and the new playground equipment is installed early this summer, Close said.

The organization received a $15,000 Dr. Pepper Snapple Group/Kaboom Let’s Play Construction grant in October for the playground equipment. Close said they’re looking at specific equipment now and are in the process of selecting a vendor to assist them with purchasing it.

Soil remediation finished

All soil remediation work at the soccer complex has been completed. Close said he’s waiting for a signature on the completion certificate from the West Virginia Environmental Protection Agency that says the site is ready for recreational use.

The Morgan County School Board received a $240,000 brownfield remediation cleanup grant in September, 2013 for the property which it purchased from the Morgan County Commission for $1 in November, 2012 to pursue the grant.

The remediation project proceeded under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Three soccer fields have since been planted with grass seed that’s growing and those fields are ready for play, Close said.

The three completed soccer fields are for high school players (the largest field) first through third graders and kindergarten-age and under (the smallest field.)

Bioretention ponds

Two bioretention ponds have been installed at the soccer field site where rainwater run-off will be funneled for stormwater management. The ponds are similar to gardens and include mulch, sand and plants, he said.

The Eastern Panhandle Conservation District and the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association installed the bioretention ponds, he said. Parks and Recreation received a $29,480 grant from the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District for the ponds.

Project will get done

Close said that the soccer complex project hasn’t flown smoothly and has had many delays, but “with perseverance it’s going to get done.”

Delays included the licensed remedial specialist being replaced mid-project with a two-month delay and not having a lead project manager for eight months, he said.

Close hopes to hold an informational public meeting this winter once the completion certificate for the site remediation work is acquired to review the project progress and to celebrate.

History

The 9.92-acre Alex Rickli Memorial Soccer Field Complex soccer field was constructed in 2008 and has remained closed to the public since April, 2010 after glass shards, metal and plastic pieces from crushed vehicles began surfacing after it opened.

Preliminary testing showed higher arsenic levels in the soil from the land’s previous years as an automobile salvage yard, a gas station, an orchard and a finishing facility for Seely- Pine Furniture, Inc. More than 300 tires were removed from the land in an early cleanup.

Future plans for the soccer complex include a rear parking area with a maximum of 160 public parking spots.

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