| 03.20.2018

Prepping project playfields — City and school district reveal design plans for community playfields

The City of Moscow and the Moscow School District revealed design plans for the Moscow School District Community Playfields at an open house on Nov. 21. 

City Community Development Director Bill Belknap said the open house was held to re-introduce the project — which began in 1998 — to the public.

“I’m sure we have many new residents in the area that weren’t here during that time period (it was first introduced),” Belknap said. “So, the intent was to ensure that information about the historical planning on the site with neighbors and the community, as well as to solicit comments and input from …
the community.”

The project’s current design includes one regulation baseball field, three to four regulation softball fields, one to two regulation soccer fields, one outdoor half-size basketball court, one volleyball court and a running path. The playfields will comprise 22 acres located on Joseph Street in Moscow and cost approximately
$3 million.

Belknap said some concerns raised by the open house attendants included potential noise and lights from the playfields. Belknap said there was also a lot of positive feedback from the attendants.

“We also had a lot of good, positive comments on the project — really people commenting on how this is an important facility needed in the community, and (they) were pleased to see the school district and the city working together again to move the project forward,” Belknap said.

Belknap said construction for the project will be finished in the fall of 2014, but the fields will not be playable until the fall of 2015. Belknap said the fields need an opportunity to establish a good root system before any heavy-duty activities can occur on the grass.

“There’ll be a grow-in period for the fields, and usually you want about a year, depending upon how soon they can get the turf seeded in the fall of 2014,” Belknap said. “You really need a good growing season that fall and the spring, the following year. So it may be … the fields are going to be playable by late 2015. And it might only be for light-duty use, and then full heavy-duty use for the season of 2016.”

MSD Superintendent Greg Bailey and Moscow High School Activities Director Allen Green said the new playfields will relieve Bear, Ghormley and Oylear Fields — currently used for all high school and club sports — and offer a centralized location for games and practices.

“We definitely (would) move softball up here, to the new fields,” Green said. “We’d practice and play there all the time, and which would alleviate pressure there at Ghormley for other functions and things. Also, soccer practices — we’ll have two new soccer fields up there … which will be real beneficial I think, with the
new soccer fields.”

Green said he is excited to see the project move forward and the benefits it will have for local youth.

“I’m just excited for the youth and also excited for the school district and the city,” Green said. “I know this has been a project that’s been in the plans for a long time, so it’s great to see some movement on it.”

Bailey said the project is a great opportunity for the community as a whole.

“I mean, how many times do we hear that our children are obese and need additional activities,” Bailey said. “And there’s so many groups out there now offering activities for kids, but the thing they’ve struggled with was an area to do these activities. So, I’m excited, and it’s a place where I think not only young kids can use it, but adults can use it
as well.”

Andrew Jenson can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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