By Jim Moore, Daily Courier, May 6, 2015
GRANTS PASS, OR – Construction on a multipurpose sports complex next to Allen Dale Elementary School is so near and yet so far.
But it remains far off because there still is no timeline for completion, let alone a groundbreaking date. Money for the $6 million project, which is being spearheaded by the city, has yet to be raised. It’s much nearer to becoming a reality after the Grants Pass School Board last week enthusiastically endorsed a concept design for the first phase of the complex. The Grants Pass City Council previously signed off on the design.
The design by Ausland Group of Grants Pass has revitalized enthusiasm about the complex.
The design for the first phase calls for two soccer fields side by side next to two Little League baseball fields that can be converted into a large soccer field. All of the fields would have synthetic turf.
The design for the soccer fields includes a parking lot with space for about 33 angled parking spots at the entrance to the school and a path connecting the fields to the Allen Creek greenway.
The design for the baseball fields includes space for about 40 more parking spots on the east side as well as restrooms and a concession stand.
The project originally began as a way to boost the number of soccer fields in Grants Pass but has grown into a multi-sports complex. Supporters praised the progress so far.
“The design looks really good. (Ausland) did a fantastic job,” said Dan Trader, chairman of the Grants Pass Allen Creek Soccer Task Force.
Grants Pass Mayor Darin Fowler, also a member of the task force, said supporters are almost in a position to start raising money.
“We should be able to ask for donations within the next couple of months,” Fowler said.
The concept design will be important ammunition when the group tries to raise money, but the final drawings need one more approval before they are official.
Lora Glover, the director of parks and community development for Grants Pass, said some of the parking areas have to be approved by the city. This should be accomplished in three to four weeks, she said.
Meanwhile, future phases of the complex include another soccer field, warm up fields, another restroom and concession stand, more parking and an area that could be used for basketball or a playground.
There also would be a pedestrian bridge spanning Allen Creek. No concept designs have been created for this phase, although the $6 million price tag is expected to encompass the entire project.
There has already been dialogue between the school district, the city and Little League, Glover said, and the Grants Pass Community Tennis Association would like to be involved in some way as well.
“This is a community approach,” Trader said, and he welcomes including the tennis group.
Glover said that the tennis association would have to agree to make tennis courts available for public use because the city won’t develop property for private use. Because there is no concept drawing for the final phase, it’s possible tennis courts could be added.
In fact, considering that the end product is dependent on raising money and that eventually there will be a land-use process, the complex could undergo more changes.
“This design could be changed,” Glover said.
In other words, the complex is still far off. And yet it feels so near.
“It seems we’re closer than ever,” Trader said.
Ausland offers complete capital improvement expertise in development consulting, engineering and construction. For more information visit us at www.auslandgroup.com.
Craig Runyon | May 7, 2015