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As work continues on a major renovation and expansion for the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex, board members and the complex manager are also keeping a close eye on smaller projects in an ongoing effort to improve the facility.

Within the past year, two new baseball and softball fields have been built and two existing fields completed on the south end of the complex.

On the north side, the four oldest fields at the 35-year-old facility have been refreshed with the installation of turf, new lighting and fencing.

Construction has also begun for two new youth soccer fields southeast of the Dumas Pavilion.

The work is being covered by a $2.7 million commitment from the one-cent, El Dorado Forward tax for economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality-of-life projects.

The El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission recently kicked in an additional $256,554 to help complete the soccer fields.

The work is part of phase one of a two-phase master plan that is designed to help generate more revenue at the complex to help bridge the income-expenditure gap and male the facility more self-sustaining.

Phase two calls for the addition of a baseball field for older teens and young adults, including college teams, and parking lot improvements.

The city of El Dorado and Union County each contribute to the facility’s annual operating budget.

The complex board of directors is overseeing the implementation of the master plan and during a regular meeting earlier this month, they discussed smaller upgrades and maintenance issues that also need some attention.

Board members agreed that with the complex shut down during the early part of the year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), there is money in the 2020 budget to take care of some of the items.

Painting the dugouts on the north end of the complex has been on the board’s plate for the past couple of years.

Greg Harrison, board chairman, said the matter was turned over to the El Dorado Department of Public Works earlier this year to be put out for bid but COVID struck.

“That was right before the mandatory shutdown,” Harrison said, referring to a state directive to cease operations at such facilities due to the public health crisis.

Harrison was also referring to the city’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its potential effect on the 2020 budget.

City officials agreed in March to freeze spending on non-essential city services until they could gauge the economic impact of the virus on city revenues.

Complex board member Keith Smith said he would follow up with Robert Edmonds, director of public works, on the matter.

The complex board is also working to address flooding at the entrance to the north fields. Board members said water pools up in the area during heavy rains, making it difficult for visitors to cross onto the sidewalk.

Jason Haley, of A.L. Franks Engineers, who tweaked the master improvement plan and is also overseeing its implementation, said recently-installed windscreens on the north fields have been repaired.

Board members discussed the matter last month, saying that the outfield windscreens were loose and susceptible to damage.

At the time, board member Phillip Lansdell noted that the screen on Field 2 had already been ripped.

Haley said Sept. 4 that the screens, which were less than a year old, were not installed correctly and the problem had been fixed.

Board members also discussed the need to irrigate the infields of the south fields and purchase water hoses with fire head water nozzles.

David Lee and Scott McMurry — executive director and athletic director, respectively, of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado, the complex manager — reported that three hoses had already been purchased.

“We can get one more. We just need to have the nozzles to go with them,” Lee said.

In the meantime, McMurry said they are also looking into purchasing implements to add to the existing irrigation system.

He noted that one vendor he spoke with is shorthanded and has experienced issues with ordering materials from outside the U.S.

“We have irrigation for our outfields. We need to take care of our infield grass,” Harrison said, adding that volunteers have said they will help drag the fields.

He also said crews have smoothed out wrinkles that had appeared in the artificial turf on the north fields.

Lee and McMurry told board members they are seeking quotes to replace the air conditioning system in the north concession stand.

McMurry said one unit is completely out and the other is running “but not very good.”

He said a contractor looked at the system, determined that one of the coils is shot and recommended a replacement.

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