PLANT CITY – Ellis-Methvin Park is expected to have six new soccer fields by late summer or early fall.
And they couldn’t come at a better time as the city has more soccer players than it can accommodate on its other fields.
“We’re pretty much maxed out as far as soccer fields go,” said Jack Holland, executive director of the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department.
The city has awarded a $347,894 contract for the work to QGS Development of Lithia. A precise schedule hasn’t been worked out but City Engineer Brett Gocka said he thinks the fields will be completed in about four months.
The fields will be installed on 16 acres on the west side of the 46-acre park, which also has two soccer fields, two baseball and two softball fields.
The city has owned the park at 2401-2601 E. Cherry St. since 2002 and amenities includes a tennis center, picnic areas and walking trails.
The park will be essentially complete once the soccer fields are completed, except for plans to install lighting in the park. The lighting is expected to cost $850,000, with the county paying about $600,000 of the bill. Gocka didn’t have a timetable for the lighting improvements because he is waiting for the grant from the county.
Plans are also in the works to add courts to the tennis center.
Holland said the new soccer fields are particularly needed if Hillsborough Community College expands its Plant City campus next to the Otis M. Andrews Sport Complex. HCC owns the sports complex land and leases it to the city. College officials have said they may need to build on the land in the next few years to accommodate campus growth. HCC spokeswoman Angela Walters said last week that the college has no plans for the land in the foreseeable future.
Otis M. Andrews has a total of 13 soccer fields.