City of Midlothian answers questions about Community Park

Photo courtesy City of Midlothian.
Approved site plan for the Midlothian Community Park.

MIDLOTHIAN — Staff would like to address some of the questions that have been received from Citizens regarding the Soccer Field lighting at the new Community Park and the park project in general. Based on some of the feedback there appears to be some misunderstanding regarding parts of this project.

The Community Park is being built out in phases. The first phase, which is being designed and constructed now, currently consists of 13 soccer fields and 2 football/soccer fields. It will also include a perimeter trail for access to all the fields, trail lighting, a shared concession stand/restroom facility for football and soccer, a playground structure and the required parking lots, paving and water/sewer infrastructure. There are no baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, amphitheater, splash park or associated facilities being constructed in this phase. Those amenities are proposed to be included in future phases of the park. That said, the additional phases would require a voter approved bond election to provide the necessary funding.

At this time the only field that is proposed to have lighting is the multi-purpose football/soccer field. This field is designed to accommodate both sports and will have a scoreboard, press box, field lights and expanded seating to hold larger crowds. That said the entire complex is being designed so that additional field lighting can be added in the future. The electrical panels, switch gear, and conduit are being sized and installed such that the additional field lighting can more easily be added in the future as funds become available.

As for funding, all of the bonds authorized by the voters in the 2006 Bond Referendum for parks have now been issued. The City Council approved the last issuance from the authorization on April 7, 2015. It is under this budget that the staff and the Parks Board have been working under to make recommendations to the City Council in order to complete construction of this first phase of the park. The plan at this time is to bid out the base items for the park such as grading, parking, field construction, irrigation, fencing, restrooms/concession area, playground and safety lighting etc. The plan also includes bidding out some alternate items such as additional field lighting, artificial turf on the multi-purpose field, pavilions etc. that could be added to the base bid if sufficient funding remains.

There have also been some comments regarding the City catering to football, baseball, softball etc. The lighting for football in the field behind the Civic Center off of Main Street along with the irrigation were paid for and installed by the Midlothian Youth Football Association. The City did not contribute to that project and currently does not provide any playing fields for football. The Joint Sports Park by Frank Seale Middle School was a collaborative effort between the City and MISD, but also received significant funding from a Texas Parks and Wildlife grant and industry donations. This is also where the MISD High School Girls Softball team and Tennis teams play their games. Jaycee Park, where the baseball fields are located, was originally built and funded by the Jaycees and donated to the City. The City did however replace the original lights with the current lighting in 1994. The recent additions and improvements to the park have been funded by the Midlothian Youth Baseball Association. Some of the improvements include the clay for the infields, fencing, warm-up pitching mounds, storage building, and the new 4U Tee Ball field. Basketball does not currently have any facilities provided by the City.

Thus, once the first phase of the Community Park is complete, there will be 25 Soccer fields (2 additional fields available after football season), 6 Baseball/Tee Ball fields, 3 Softball fields (the High School field is unavailable to the City), 2 Football fields and 8 Tennis courts available for use by the City.

In conclusion, the need for more lighted fields and more fields in general, for all sports in the City is known. The issue, as is often the case, is available funding to meet all of the demands for service. We truly appreciate and value the input from our Citizens. We are doing our best within the available resources to build a first class park that all of Midlothian can be proud of. The process is ongoing and the ultimate decision on what gets built in Phase I of the park is yet to be made. That final decision will be made when the design process is finished and bids are received. Please do not hesitate to contact City Staff at 972-775-3481 with any questions on the Parks or any other topic.