Marked Tree Sports Complex nearing completion

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) - Marked Tree Mayor Dixon Chandler said Saturday he hopes the sports complex, which has been under construction since September '08, will be complete by next spring. He told Region 8 News the soccer fields should be complete by September of this year. The project, worth an estimated $2.1-million, is being paid for through a one-cent sales tax bond issue that was passed by voters in 2007. Chandler said many of his citizens have been anxious for the opening of the new complex.

"We have almost everything that we wanted in it. We didn't know that we could get it all for $2.1 million. We've got the 4 baseball fields. We got the soccer fields. We've got the football field. We got a splash pad and we got a walking track and a basketball court," said Chandler.

Chandler said the walking trail project will cost taxpayers $20,000 below budget. Final approval for the bids on the walking trail and splash pad will be taken up at the city council meeting August 10th.

"We got way more than what we bargained for with that $2.1 million. We probably got a $3-million park," said Chandler.

Chandler said many of the contractors who bid for the work on the baseball fields projected $2.1 million would only cover the fields.

"Most of them said that you would get 4 baseball fields, maybe lighted, maybe not lighted, maybe irrigated, maybe not irrigated," said Chandler.

Chandler said the firm currently doing the work could do the work for less, but build additional facilities.

"One thing that I credit that with, we used a lot of local people and there's been so much given by local people that that has really helped us," said Chandler.

According to Chandler, he'd like to attract another restaurant and motel to town. He believes the new sports complex will help achieve that goal.

"We play on temporary fields, made up fields, land we don't own. Now the city owns this land so this is going to benefit the city itself. With the economic impact, with people coming in, we've had people all year calling, saying when's it going to be open," said Chandler. "We got a lot of activities and then we got a nice concession stand that's going to bring in a lot of money for the city of Marked Tree."

"On game days, when they play down here, McDonald's and Subway, they're full, so the economic impact there. I'd love to have a motel come in and that's one of the next steps that I'm after, which is a motel in Marked Tree, Arkansas," said Chandler.

"If it hadn't have been for the rainy season, we would have been ready, so we will be ready next year. I look for soccer and everything will be ready in September, when the season starts," said Chandler.

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