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The City of Early continues to make improvements to the city Ballpark located at 199 Oak Street. For a little over 4 years now, the City has made improvements to the baseball and softball complex by targeting a field each year and upgrading the backstops, dugouts, new sod, new sprinkler systems and so on.
“One request that we’ve had for a while has been for sidewalks and ADA handicap accessible parking. So, this year we are starting our sidewalk and handicap parking part of the project.” Said City Administrator Tony Aaron.
The City recently put out for bids to install new sidewalks at the baseball and softball complex and decided to hire Ribble Concrete Construction for the job. Ribble has been working with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department for several days now, preparing the ground for a new sidewalk as well as a new retaining wall which will allow for level ground from field to field.
“This year we are building two ADA handicap parking spots as well as 8-foot sidewalks connecting the parking lots to the back of the three main fields which is fields 1, 2 and 3.” Tony said.
In addition, the new sidewalks will create a retaining wall that will look over field 3 increasing the aesthetic appeal of the field and creating the illusion of a “sunken-field.” This is due to the change in elevation between fields 2 and 3. This is just one phase in that sidewalk project. Next year the city plans to continue on with sidewalks throughout the park and other areas around the fields and concession stands.
Tony also stated, “The best part about this is that we are able to do this and sort of pay as we go without issuing any kind of debt to the citizens.”
Construction saw a late start due to the frigid cold weather last week but Ribble and the Early Parks and Rec Department have been working non stop since Saturday and have already poured most of the concrete for the sidewalks.
“We hope that it will be opened around the time of baseball season. It will be a very tight schedule but if it’s not ready in time then we will open it during the season and everyone will have it to enjoy from that point forward.” Said Tony.
Currently, concrete has been poured and the location for the retaining walls have been dug out, rebar has been placed and concrete has been poured for them as well. The next steps are to begin building up the dirt around the fields to even them out and then begin building that retaining wall. Construction will be ongoing for a few more weeks and the city urges people to stay out of the work zone for their own safety.
“Parks and Recreation is all about quality of life. It’s where you take your kids and families to spend quality time together and people want to have beautiful parks that are user friendly and attractive. So those are the type of things that make people proud to live where they do." Said Tony.