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Here are the latest plans for Bennett Park
Changes to the tree ordinance proposal include clarifying definitions and exemptions, changes to required tree information and permit procedures, and tough standards for replacement trees. - Photo by Madison Nickel — Unsplash

A master plan for Bennett Park was presented to the Parks and Recreation Board on Wednesday, March 3 by Hayes, James & Associates Inc. The plan included new facilities such as a community building, two concession buildings, a natural trail system and updated parking spaces.

Currently, Bennett Park has five baseball fields. Two of the fields will be replaced by two multipurpose fields. According to Jim Pryor, director of parks and recreation, the multipurpose fields can be painted with lines for different sports like baseball, football or soccer.

There were some concerns from members of the community about the loss of current baseball fields at Bennett Park to make way for a community center and multipurpose fields. Pryor explained that the multipurpose fields could suit the needs of baseball practices if needed.

“What we do with our multipurpose fields now is we don’t line them at all,” Pryor said. “We make them just green and you can paint lines on them as long as you don’t use spikes. You could paint a baseball diamond on there, put bases down if you wanted to do that for smaller kids.”

On the subject of baseball, Pryor also mentioned that new baseball fields are planned at Lanierland Park.

“As far as baseball in this area,” Pryor said, “You’ll have ample fields between the two facilities.”

The proposed budget for this project is $11,714,892, including everything from the new amenities, electrical, landscaping and consultant fees. Pryor said the Bennett Park renovations and Lanierland Park Phase 2 will be working closely together so that when one park is finished, another will begin construction.

“I believe that [Bennett Park] will start construction around spring of 2022 and be finished in early [2023],” Pryor said.

The board moved to pass the master plan for Bennett Park along as presented, and the vote was unanimous.

“I think [this plan] has come out to be a very, very good plan,” said Chairman Gary Cooper. “Personally, I grew up playing in Bennett Park, and I will miss some of those fields that are not in the future plans, but I feel proud of what it’s gotten done.”