Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fruit Cove Fields Beset by Problems

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fruit Cove Fields Beset by Problems

Article excerpt

Hundreds of Northwest St. Johns County children were hoping to

start practice next month on nine new baseball and soccer fields

in Fruit Cove.

But grass hasn't been planted at the county's four new baseball

fields under construction at W.E. Mills Sr. Field on Race Track

Road, while other problems have slowed full growth of grass at

two softball fields and three soccer/football fields under

construction at the Julington Creek Soccer Park nearby.

So it looks as if those children may have to wait until spring

to use the new fields, leaving them crammed into the same

existing fields they have been using for the past year.

The Julington Creek Athletic Association has been awaiting

completion of the new fields all summer, its 900 families

crowded into four baseball fields at Mills Field as well as

worn-out fields behind Cunningham Creek and Julington Creek

elementary schools and Switzerland Point Middle School. But

those promised fields are at least a month away from opening,

while association members predict at least 1,000 families

registering for fall play in the next few weeks.

County officials broke ground at Mills Field in mid-March,

beginning construction of three junior league and one senior

league baseball diamond on 10 acres of land next to the existing

field complex. Atlantic Gulf started construction the same time

on the three combination soccer/football fields and two softball

fields on the 26 acres it donated to the county for a park two

years ago.

St. Johns County Recreation Department supervisor Dale Williams

said an irrigation system has been installed under the new Mills

Field diamonds, but problems completing the well delayed the

planting of those fields' grass. He predicts the well should be

finished this week and grass planted immediately.

"We are cutting it close," he said. "We told them it would be

ready by the end of September, and that is what we are shooting

for. These things take time, and we don't have the crews. I have

three two-man crews to cover the county and we are doing the

best we can. …

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