October date set for New Roads venue
By Terry L. Jones
July 25, 2012
NEW ROADS — Construction is officially under way on revitalization of what will be New Road’s community field, scheduled to open in less than two months.
Mayor Robert Myer presented digital renderings of what the field will look like as the City Council recently prepared to hire a contractor to begin reconstruction work on the 12-acre site located near the Oil Mill property.
Since Myer took office, the formerly blighted area has been one of his pet economic development projects. Myer has set out to transform the property into a multi-use facility field and community park.
In May, the city hosted a community shopping event called “Market at the Mill” in Southern Cotton Oil Co.’s old seed house, which closed in 1979.
Upgrading the football field, behind the seed house, is the next phase of the property’s redevelopment, Myers said.
“It was an abandoned field that was being used as a dumping ground after Hurricane Gustav,” Myer said. “I cleaned it up and thought: Let’s go ahead and revitalize the whole area.”
Plans are already under way to build a skate park and a splash park on the property. The entire project is expected to cost about $650,000, Myer said.
Myer said his efforts were made possible through refinancing of the city bond debt when he first took office.
Last week, the council voted 4-1 to pay Munie Greencare Professionals $96,000 to begin work on the field’s reconstruction. Councilman Kurt Kellerman cast the dissenting vote.
Munie Greencare will have to slightly reposition the existing field to correct a few of its existing problems, which the mayor said included elevation shortcomings, a shortage in the field’s length and goal posts that were installed at varying angles.
Kellerman said Monday he’s all for improving local parks, but the community field project would have been cheaper if the improvements were made on the existing playing area.
“The (new) field is being moved maybe 400 yards away from where the existing field is,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a nice project, I’m just looking at the money that’s going to be spent. I want to do the nicest stuff we can but do what is the most cost effective.”
Plans for the city-owned field include building a 770-seat stadium featuring a press box, restrooms, concessions, elevated berms, an entry plaza, tailgating area and chair-back seating in the home side of the grandstand.
“People will be able to sponsor chair-back seats,” Myer said. “We’re looking to sell 234 chair-back seats and raise about $45,000 for the effort.”
The mayor said the city intends to sell brick pavers for the stadium’s pavilion area as well to generate additional revenue for the project.
The city hopes to open the new community field to the public by Oct. 1.
“People think it’s impossible,” Myer said. “But we’ve been working on this since last year.”
Once completed, the stadium, counting berm seating, would be able to hold more than 1,100 people, Myer said.