It’s getting to be the time of year where projects big and small may depend entirely on the weather. And while many may welcome the end of the summer heat, the city of Gretna hopes it lasts a little longer.
The Gretna City Council approved a bid from Ruff Excavating and Grading for the first phase of the Fields of Gretna, focusing primarily on grading and seeding the future soccer fields as well as constructing a storm sewer and parking lot.
“It’s exciting to see this happen,” City Administrator Jeff Kooistra said, “it’s exciting to get kids out there.”
Kooistra said the overall project will include a concession stand with public restrooms, converted from the old Tiny Town building. The fields will sit on the western half of the 160 acres adjacent to the southern watertower.
Baseball and softball fields will also be part of the project, but that remains well in the future, Kooistra said.
“We’re not even touching the baseball and softball areas right now,” he said.
The council approved the bid for $206,144.30, though Kooistra said there will be a change order in an upcoming city council meeting to increase the contract to a targeted $227,844.30 to address and include a needed irrigation system as well as to further address the parking lot.
“We’re trying to do this with available funds,” he said.
Kooistra said it is assumed the fields will be available to use by spring of 2015, though there is a small chance they could be used by fall of next year depending on the amount of work done before this coming winter.
“Fall is an excellent time to seed, but it’s dependent on the weather,” he said.
Whether the fields are in use by 2014 or 2015, Kooistra said the council and city staff agree the fields should not be used at all until the turf grows in completely.
“Everybody agrees we need it in good shape before we allow people to play on it,” he said.
While the council will make a change order to address the irrigation system, Kooistra said it is likely Ruff will begin grading the land in the next few weeks.