SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Willamalane Center for Sports and Recreation is set to host a celebration on Thursday, Sept. 25, to officially open its expanded and newly renovated synthetic turf sports fields at 250 S. 32nd St. in Springfield.
The Ready to Play Celebration will recognize the upgrade to Morrisette Field and completion of two new artificial turf fields that were paid for with bond measure funds.
“We’re excited to officially open the only four-field, multi-use artificial turf sports fields in the region,” said Willamalane Superintendent Bob Keefer. “Because of the outstanding support of our citizens, we’ll soon be hosting major soccer, lacrosse and softball sporting events that will not only provide local residents an opportunity to play on high-quality fields, but also create a significant economic impact in Springfield as more athletes from out of the area come to play on the fields.”
Highlights of the celebration will include brief comments by regional tourism officials and local youth and adult sports leaders; free ice cream and a “kick the goal” ceremony. Willamalane’s mascot squirrel, Springs, will entertain attendees.
Immediately following the ceremony, soccer, lacrosse and mens’ softball exhibition games will be played on all fields.
In fall 2012, voters approved a bond measure that funds a number of projects aimed at expanding trails; preserving parkland around hillsides, rivers and streams; upgrading sports fields; and conserving energy. Willamalane has made significant progress in the months since the passage of the $20 million measure. The cost of the expanded and newly renovated synthetic turf sports fields project is $3.6 million.
The 10-year-old Morrisette Field, installed in 2003, was replaced with approximately 86,350 square feet of AstroTurf because it showed signs of deterioration and wear. The renovated field will be used for football, soccer and lacrosse. The two new 189,650-square-foot fields, located south of Morrisette Field, will be used for softball, soccer and baseball.
In addition to renovating and adding new sports fields, the project includes 55 new parking spaces and a new entry road; eight new field lighting poles and lights; and an approximately 7,200-square-foot concrete main entry plaza with water and power connections for up to four concession trailers.
Future improvements will include a picnic shelter, additional restrooms, landscaped planter beds, a walking path and an upgraded playground.
“Our goal was to develop the area into a quality sports fields complex for the community and expand on Willamalane’s recreational programs,” said Vincent Martorello, Willamalane’s planning and development manager. “We also want to support the many community sporting activities held at the center.”
Willamalane Park and Recreation District maintains and operates five recreation facilities and 43 parks and natural areas totaling nearly 1,500 acres. Highlights include Splash! at Lively Park, Camp Putt Adventure Golf Park, 13 waterfront areas, 21 miles of hiking and biking trails, 15 sports fields and 24 playgrounds. Willamalane offers hundreds of recreation programs to people of all ages and abilities. Created by voters in 1944, Willamalane is a special tax district, separate from the city of Springfield, with its own boundaries. It is governed by a five-member, elected board of directors and managed by a district superintendent.