After more than four months of construction, work on a portion of a 100-acre park is still on track for completion by the end of the month.
Town Supervisor Richard Tupper said the project contractor asked for at least a week without rain. “The lights are up and the turf is down,” Tupper said.
Work on phase one of the Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex along Route 13 in South Cortland began the last week of May. Work includes leveling the site to accommodate playing surfaces, building the two ball fields and installing a parking lot, walking paths and utilities.
Two baseball fields, able to accommodate teams from Little League to college levels, are expected to be completed by the end of the month and in use by next spring.
No use of the fields are expected this fall. “Baseball is not a fall sport,” Tupper said. “We’re trying to see what we can do for scheduling for practices.”
When the spring rolls around many teams practice inside due to muddy, messy fields. The park will give local teams a place to practice on artificial turf outside, Tupper said.
An estimated timeline for completion on phase one was Oct. 22.
Total cost for phase one is around $4.3 million, while the overall cost for the entire park once finished has been estimated between $16 million and $18 million, Tupper said.
In August, the town board approved an agreement with Clough, Harbour and Associates of Albany to design a concession and restroom building for the park it is developing at Route 13 and Gracie Road.
“As the town continues to plan for the future phases of the Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex and the first phase of the construction on the two baseball fields will be complete at the end of the year, the planning of the concession-restroom building is the next priority element that will enhance the overall function of the park,” Clough, Harbour and Associates wrote in a letter to the town in August.
The completed sports complex will have four baseball diamonds, eight soccer fields and three sand volleyball courts.
In early May, Tioga County based ZMK Construction Inc. of Apalachin won a $3.9 million bid for phase one of the project.
Deputy Town Supervisor Theodore “Ted” Testa said he likes what he sees at the park. “I’ve been into it since day one, since the gift came from Gutchess,” he said.
The project of the 100-acre park is going to take some time. “It’s a long ways from being done,” Testa said.
The park could be completed within 10 years and according to a feasibility study by Chicago-based Market and Feasibility Advisors stated the complex would support 102 jobs and create $2.4 million a year in spending.
The site was previously owned by Gutchess Lumber, which swapped the land to the town in return for the 6.1-acre Citizens Park land on Route 281 adjacent to the Gutchess facility on McLean Road.
“Never did I dream we’d have 100 acres,” Testa said.