Although the sports complex on Armory Drive in Russellville began construction several years ago, continued growth is still apparent as the funds become available to proceed. Work is currently being done on the north side of the park where much needed lighting is being put in.
Until recently the north side of the park, which boasts a turf softball field, just sat unused because there was no access to the area from the other side of the park. Since a bridge has been placed over the Town Creek recently, it has linked the two sides and has now opened up that area for use. The bridge was donated by H&H Sheet Metal.
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton, since beginning his tenure as mayor of the county seat, has historically said he will not spend money he does not have, which includes the unfinished park he inherited when taking office.
“The city will work on the sports complex as we have the money to do so. We will not spend money we don’t have on this park and get into the shape we once were,” said Stratton, who has held to his word.
The city received $1.5 million from the state’s Energy & Environmental Protection Cabinet (EEPC) in 2007 to build the park. The money came from a settlement between the state and Rockwell International, a long-serving industry in Russellville that released Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment. The property the park is located on was donated to the city by Rockwell.
Construction on the park began in 2010 under then mayor Gene Zick. When Zick left his term early, the park was left unfinished and the money spent.
As time passed, and a different administration took office, additional funding became available through a Carpenter Foundation Grant of $150,000. Stratton immediately began working on the park, which included putting in pavilions in 2013, laying landscaping, sidewalks and gravel, and adding a second soccer field laid with Bermuda sod. A play area was also added thanks to a donation from the Electric Plant Board.
The park is utilized for several activities throughout the year. From football in the fall to soccer in the spring, the park can be seen packed on any given week night with kids and their parents.
“I didn’t build the park,” said Stratton. “But it’s here now and it’s a part of the city. We will continue to work on it as we can to make it better for the citizens who use it.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.