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Ready to play: Sports park will host games next spring

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 Fencing, gates, and grass are three of the top issues that Grayson Sports Park manager Grant Harper is working to address, but he promised Grayson Mayor George Steele the park would be ready to play ball on come next spring. 

Steele visited the park board during their regular meeting last Thursday with questions about the fields and if they would be ready to open for play next spring. One question he had was about “sway” in the outfield of one of the baseball fields. Harper said there was a small dip in the outfield, but because of the generally flat nature of the park those dips, while not ideal, were intentional and necessary for proper drainage. 

The other issue impacting the fields is grass. Harper discussed the grass issue the previous week, when meeting with the Grayson Tourism Commission, but said he now “feels better than I did about the grass three weeks ago.” Harper said he has been consulting with representatives from a grass program at the University of Kentucky that will help the park with building up the topsoil needed for healthy grass growth. 

Harper told the board there is still an issue with rocks in the field, specifically gravel sized pieces of stone that are small and time consuming to pick up, but that it is impossible to tell where it came from and that Allard Excavation had done everything he requested of them to attempt to remove all the rocks they could. While the park board may still decide to ask Allard to resolve the issue or forfeit a portion of their fee for work on the park’s fields, Harper and project manager John Brammer didn’t feel the company would be willing to come back and do more work to remove the gravel. 

Despite this, Harper said the only work he had concerns about approving is from Allard. He said that in addition to the gravel and lack of top soil called for in the contract with Allard, there were some issues with leveling, specifically low spots at the entrance. 

“There are a few spots where we’re going to have to address drainage,” he said. But, he explained, when leveling the field, and adding dirt to low spots, this created new low spots. There is also an issue with the ditch around the park, along the road, but because that is a state highway the state needs to take action to clean that ditch. As for the other low spots, he said, it was either an issue with the design of the park or with the execution not meeting the design standards. He said he wasn’t sure where the issue lie, but that he would be having at least one more conversation with Allard before he made any decisions. 

Harper also updated the board on picnic tables for the park, explaining that he was working with students at Carter Career and Technical Center and they had five picnic tables completed and ready for him to pick up. He said he also had approval on a gate for the park and was waiting on that to be installed. 

Another issue on Harper’s list was the fencing around the park. He said the cost of board fencing was going to be cost prohibitive at this time. While the park is required to have a 50 foot barrier between the recreational areas and adjacent residential areas, and Harper said he “love(d) the idea of a three board or four board fence,” chain link would be more economical at this time. He said he doesn’t see there being any issue with meeting the 50 foot distancing requirements, however. There is already a utility easement between the home and park property lines that helps contribute to that buffer. 

The board also approved the expenditure of funds for concrete sidewalks and a hard surface for handicapped parking spots. The park is required to have handicap parking and to provide access from that parking to the park with a hard surface. Access to rest rooms also has to be included with any sidewalks, for ADA compliance. The board voted to go with the handicapped parking spots as specced, on Harper’s and Brammer’s recommendation. Brammer said they are currently accepting quotes on a five foot wide sidewalk and that he expects the final cost to be from $25,000 to $30,000 for the concrete work. 

Harper said he has plans to do parking lot paving and other hard surfaces in phases, as funds become available. This will also allow the lots to settle before paving. 

On the playground end of things Harper told the board he expected to have designs from three different companies for the board to review at their next meeting. While the park did not win the Kiwanis grant, losing out to the next closest community by only 12 points Kiwanis president Willis Johnson told the board, Harper said the funds the park would have received from the grant were not necessary for the installation of playground equipment. That grant would have required the park to spend over $50,000 on playground equipment in order to qualify for $25,000 in funding. 

In other action the board moved to extend every term on the board for another two years. Mindy Woods-Click will remain the park board chair, with Bradley Cherry as vice chair and Mark Strother as treasurer. The board also approved a security system for the maintenance building, so the park could begin storing equipment there; approved the purchase of a work site utility vehicle, with a bed for hauling grass seed, dirt and other items; and accepted a budget for the coming year. 

Next steps for the park will include a planning session for a move from the construction phase to the operation phase. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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