Clearing under way at nearby sports complex

Tree clearing and grading was in full swing this week at the under-construction regional sportsplex site.

Tree clearing and grading work continued this week at the under-construction Mecklenburg County Regional Sportsplex, right across the county border from Stallings..

Construction off Tank Town Road started in June and the “clearing” phase is on schedule despite recent heavy rain, Lee Jones, division director of Capital Planning Services for the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation department, said. The entire project is scheduled to be complete in the late summer of 2013.

The work is the beginning stages of the first of two phases for the $3,019,875 project, being built by Denver, N.C.-based Eagle Wood Inc. Construction off Tank Town will take about eight months and include five synthetic, lit soccer fields and restrooms. Plans call for the complex to have a total of 12 athletic fields – all with synthetic grass – a stadium, trails, picnic shelters, a playground and more. Phase two construction is expected to begin soon after the first phase is completed, officials say.

The Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department project was first approved by Mecklenburg County voters in 2004 and 2008 and construction was originally scheduled to begin in January 2008. But the recession and the county’s self-imposed “debt diet” stalled the project until now. Matthews has committed to give $2 million to the estimated $32 million to $34 million project.

To prepare for the complex, Matthews public works recently completed a sidewalk along Tank Town on the opposite side of the street from the park’s entrance.

But the town doesn’t plan to make any improvements to the road, town spokeswoman Annette Privette Keller said previously “because we know that the main entrance is going to open,” she said. “It’s just a few fields (off Tank Town), so the traffic will be light.” The park’s main entrance, part of the second phase planned for 2013-14, will be off East John Street across from the Greylock subdivision.

The complex will be a welcome addition to the region, Lee said.

“It will provide a range of regulation and modified athletic facilities designed to support youth and adult athletic tournaments and league competitions,” Jones said.

The first phase of the project, which is currently under construction, has a $7 million budget, and is so far on schedule to meet that budget.

Funding for the sports complex is coming from the county right now, Jones said.

“Mecklenburg County is funding the current phase of construction,” he said. “The Town of Matthews is a funding partner that will provide $2 million at some point.”

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