Johnson City Press Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sue Guinn Legg

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Road work may yield fields of dreams for Boys & Girls Club

June 3rd, 2014 10:54 pm by Sue Guinn Legg

Road work may yield fields of dreams for Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Club will continue to use its current building as construction of a road takes place nearby. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)

The Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City Washington County is preparing to ride out the construction of the new Lark Street Extension in place and expecting to come out of the road work with its three sports fields significantly improved.

Even as the state Department of Transportation continues its review of Johnson City’s plans for the new connector road between North State of Franklin Road and West Market Street, Robin Crumley, the club’s executive director, said it has been advised work to move one of its two T-ball fields out of the path of the new road and to reconfigure and improve both fields is expected to begin at the end of the season in late June.

The plan, which calls for the road to be built along the western edge of the club’s campus between its ball fields and a neighboring electric power station, will also require the club’s football field to be repositioned about 15 feet east of its current location.

With the relocation of the football field, Crumley said the city plans to rebuild the field to regulation size, a first for the club, and to construct new bleachers, relocate the field’s club house and scoreboard and replace all its light poles.

The club has been told construction on the new football field will begin in October or November after the close of its fall football season.

At the club’s request, Crumley said fencing will be put in place between the ball fields and the new Lark Street Extension to ensure the safety of the youth league ball players, the club members and the many adults and children who attend games on the campus.

According to Crumley, a previous proposal for a land swap between the city, the club and Traco manufacturing that would have allowed the club to relocate to larger facility off Princeton Road was taken off of the table because of the city’s proposed use of two other buildings on the Traco property that would have put the young club members in close proximity to heavy equipment.

“We didn’t think that would be good for our kids and the club was not interested in that,” Crumley said. “We were interested in their property but not at this time.

“We’re staying in place but we are out of space at this building and we are constantly looking for any potential, better satellites or sites. The kicker is we want to have enough space for our kids to be inside and outside and we are still pursuing other options.”

In addition to a potential move to a new location, the club has also considered renovating and expanding its current building upward or outward to increase its capacity to serve more children.

Both options have been estimated at approximately $2 million and will require a major capital campaign, Crumley said.

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