Nets are being strung behind home plate at the softball field in Russellville’s Sports Complex in preparation to open sometime in the Spring. These are the final touches on the field that has sat empty for the past six years. The city will be putting out bids soon to pour sidewalks around the field as well. Fences are being erected and the crack of the ball against a bat will be heard soon.
The city received $1.5 million from the state’s Energy & Environmental Protection Cabinet (EEPC) in 2007 to build the complex. 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.
“I said when I came into office I wanted to finish the park, however, we would have to wait until the city had the funds to do so. We were not going to sink the city in debt to complete a project I inherited,” said Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton. “Thanks to two grants form the Carpenter Foundation and donations from First Southern Bank, H&H Sheet Medal, the Electric Plant Board, and many others, the park is almost complete.”
Pavilions were put in the complex in 2013, along with landscape, sidewalks, gravel, and a second soccer field laid with Bermuda sod. A play area was also added and a bridge connecting the parking area and the softball field was done in 2015.
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. Now softball will be added to that list.
“Hanging the nets is a progression of getting that field ready for play,” said Kenny Gregory, Russellville Parks Supervisor. “Hopefully the field will be ready for the spring leagues.”
The used netting came from Madisonville and was purchased by a donation from First Southern National Bank. Gregory is working on the dugouts and finishing the fencing surrounding the turf field.
“This is the closest we have ever been having that side open,” said mayor Stratton. “Hopefully we will get the field open sometime in the late spring. We are blessed. When I came into office this park was unfinished, but thanks to all of those in the community, we have been able to offer a beautiful park for many to enjoy.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.