Monday, March 26, 2018
Linda Van Hoosen, Communications
When the City of Grand Island determined it needed to add softball fields to an existing athletic complex, Olsson Associates helped create a vision for a park that would offer much more. The idea: a destination park with six new fields, amenities, and a connection to a nearby city park.
“The vision, to make it a destination park, is to attract people from outside the city,” said Darren Varner, a senior landscape architect with Ochsner Hare & Hare (OHH), a Design Studio of Olsson Associates. “The goal is to make a more tournament kind of park, where players and visitors from nearby states can come and play.”
Six new softball fields will be added to Veterans Athletic Fields Complex. The fields will all be of equal size, shape, and quality. A concession and restroom building will serve as a gateway to the new fields. A park was also created to tie together the existing ballfields (designed earlier by Olsson) to the new fields. A splash pad will be constructed in the park, and a playground will be added in the future.
“One of the greatest challenges was helping the city create this vision,” said Matt Rief, Olsson project manager. “We could have just built the new ball fields and called it done, but we wanted to make this a special place where people would be willing to drive to and spend time there.”
A new walkway, that also serves as a bike trail, will connect the athletic complex to nearby Eagle Scout Park. The park has a lake that allows fishing. City officials hope the creation of the expanded park will make it worthwhile for people to visit and play.
Olsson is providing many services for this project, including all the site and civil engineering, electrical design, structural design, construction administration, and the lighting design for the sports fields, pedestrian areas, and parking lots. OHH provided sports design, landscape architecture, and irrigation design.
“One of the great things about this project is that it highlights the whole collective power of Olsson,” Darren said. “Almost all of what we do is involved in this project and being able to have that all in-house really keeps things efficient while maintaining the integrity of the concept through construction.”
Veterans Athletic Fields Complex is expected to be complete and ready for play in the spring of 2019.