Rocket City athletes will soon have more space to practice and play sports. Crews have begun work on Phase I of the highly anticipated field expansion at the Merrimack Sports Complex.
The City of Huntsville is spending about $4 million to build four new soccer fields and modern amenities for the complex. Phase I includes the four new artificial turf fields, concession stands, and shade pavilions to provide a larger space for families, friends, and visitors to enjoy one of Huntsville’s most popular athletic arenas.
Diana Cook, City of Huntsville’s Project Manager, explained that crews are currently preparing to form sidewalks, despite some rain setbacks. “The east parking lot is ready for paving and Woodward construction has begun drilling holes.” These are to become the bases which will house netting for fast-paced sports such as soccer and lacrosse.
Cook pointed out the Merrimack Sports Complex will offer the first outdoor synthetic playing fields in Huntsville, which will elevate the City’s competitive sporting community.
“Our ultimate plan is to provide multiple sized fields with ample lighting for evening play, new parking, leisure walking trails and pedestrian access to the existing Merrimack Soccer Park. These updates will be an exciting new addition to our community,” said Cook.
With new turf fields, allowing for rain-or-shine play, teams will be able to play on separate fields simultaneously.
Who’s most excited
Cameron Thumm, a Huntsville resident and member of multiple soccer leagues, is enthusiastic about the new fields. “I am ecstatic. Any opportunity to expand soccer and allow more people to play at one time is phenomenal,” she says, adding, “if it gets Huntsville on the map for soccer, I think that’s a wonderful opportunity to bring people to this city and to get locals involved as well.”
Thumm also has a two-year-old son and looks forward to immersing him in Huntsville sports. “Right now, he comes to our games and kicks the ball during the breaks at halftime,” she says, “He will definitely be getting involved in the programs.”
Steve Ivey, Director of Huntsville Parks & Recreation Department, is eager to better serve the Huntsville area with the addition of brighter fields in the evenings and artificial turf to allow for more play to occur year-round.
“The Merrimack expansion will drastically improve Parks and Recreation’s ability to accommodate the field needs in the Huntsville area,” said Ivey. “Our youth and adult soccer programs continue to grow, as well as the popularity of other sports such as lacrosse, who can use the new multi-purpose fields.”
Phase I of the expansion is expected to complete near the end of 2018. Fields should be open for play around the beginning of 2019, barring any weather setbacks. Phase II is expected to bring five more fields to complete the project.