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story.lead_photo.caption Although the COVID-19 pandemic has halted play, work both at the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex will continue, with plans for bids to be put out for improvement projects approved by the El Dorado City Council. - Photo by Tony Burns

The first phase of a master plan to renovate and expand the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex has largely been completed and now, the complex board of directors is exploring options to fund the last two remaining components of phase one.

The complex has been closed since March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but construction crews have finished several components of phase one, including the completion of two existing youth baseball and softball fields and the construction of two new youth fields on the south end of the complex and the installation of turf, lighting and fencing on the four older fields on the north end of the facility.

“The fence work is done. The turf they laid out there has got a few wrinkles in it. The turf company is going to have to come and straighten everything out but for the most part, everything is done,” said Robert Edmonds, director of public works.

The two remaining components of phase one are two new youth soccer fields and a concessions plaza on the south end of the complex.

Engineering plans have been approved and the bids have been accepted and certified for the two projects.

Diversified Construction and Design submitted the low bid of $671,824 for the soccer fields.

The bid amount includes lighting, irrigation and paving an existing parking lot that is near the proposed site of the two full-sized soccer fields.

The proposed site for the fields is the space just east of the baseball and softball fields on the south end of the complex.

A deductive bid of $581,554 that was also submitted by Diversified excludes paving the eparking lot, which has a rock surface.

Milam Construction submitted the low bid of $343,989 for the concessions plaza, which would be built southwest of the Dumas Pavilion and include a concession room, coaches’ lounge, changing room, office space, storage space, restrooms and a covered patio.

Phase one of the master plan for the complex is being funded by $2.6 million budget.

The budget is backed by the one-cent El Dorado Works tax, which is geared toward economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality-of-life projects.

Edmonds and members of the complex board recently learned that the remaining amount in the budget will not be enough to pay for the soccer fields and concessions plaza.

The bid total for both projects is $925,543.

Board members discussed the matter during a meeting June 26.

Greg Harrison, chairman of the complex board and a member of the Union County Quorum Court, said more money was spent from the $2.6 million than originally expected.

Harrison explained that fees for A.L. Franks Engineering were not figured into the budget because board members were initially told that the city has a contract with the firm to provide professional services.

He said board members believed that costs for engineering work that was done on the complex project would be covered by the city’s existing contract with A.L. Franks.

Edmonds has said the soccer fields should be prioritized and the concession done as money becomes available.

“That’s what’s going to draw people out there. Nobody is going to come to that complex because our funnel cakes are better than anybody else’s funnel cakes,” Edmonds recently told city council members.

Edmonds said about $400,000 remains in the project budget and he and Harrison said board members plan to present funding requests to the El Dorado Works Board, which administers the El Dorado Works tax, and the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Revenue for the A&P commission is generated by a 3 percent lodging tax and per state statute, the commission can spend money “on and for the construction, reconstruction, repair, maintenance, improvement, equipping and operation of public recreation facilities in the city or the county where the city is located if the city owns an interest in the center or facility.”

The complex is located just outside city limits on Champagnolle Road and the land for the facility is owned by the city.

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