Construction may start on Palmetto Little League ballfields as soon as April

skennedy@bradenton.comFebruary 13, 2013 

MANATEE -- Construction may begin as soon as April on long-delayed Little League baseball fields in Palmetto after the Manatee County Commission on Tuesday approved an agreement to legally transfer money for the project.

Before the county could proceed with construction on the $3.3 million project at Blackstone Park, it needed an interlocal agreement setting out terms for transfer of $800,000 that the city of Palmetto is contributing.

The commission gave its unanimous approval to the agreement Tuesday.

Construction is slated to begin as soon as April, with completion in the fall of 2014, according to Cindy Turner, county director of parks and recreation.

Palmetto officials agreed to contribute $800,000 toward the new ball fields, with county park impact fees supplying the rest of the money for construction. The money came from sale of land to the school district for a new elementary school.

The project's design was expected to be 90 percent complete by Wednesday.

Plans call for three lighted, regulation-sized Little

League fields at the park at 2112 14th Ave. W., according to county documents.

The project also calls for field fencing, clay infields, dugouts, bleachers, shade structures and handicapped-accessible sidewalks.

Some of the walkways will be wider to accommodate ambulance and other emergency vehicle access.

Less visible items will include electrical system upgrades, potable water lines, gravity and force main sewer lines, reclaimed water lines, a lift station, irrigation, storm water piping and a dry storm water retention system with under drains.

The project will also boast a 150-space parking lot with security lighting; plus landscaping, batting cages and scoreboards.

A new concession building will have a second-floor scoring room and internal fire sprinklers.

Plans also call for such amenities as picnic tables, trash cans and recycling cans throughout the park.

County officials said in the agreement they would maintain and operate the location in the same way as they do other county sites.

The Palmetto City Commission approved the interlocal agreement at its Feb. 4 meeting.

In other action Tuesday, a group of about 20 representing the Lakewood Ranch Little League complained to the commission about county sign policies they said made fundraising difficult.

The commissioners directed the group to immediately correct safety deficiencies associated with signs at their ball fields, and to meet with county staff members to try to work out a compromise on county rules over the longer term.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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