Four brand-new fields will be ready for play later this week at Macomber Park, much to the delight of Rincon city officials.
The ribbon was cut Saturday morning on four new 220-foot fields for the park expansion’s first phase, but it also isn’t the end for park improvements.
“It’s a long time coming and badly needed,” said Mayor Ken Lee.
Macomber’s original fields, which are still in use and will remain in use, are almost 40 years old.
“They have served a lot of the people over the years,” Lee said. “As our city has grown, so has the need for additional recreation.”
Added Mike Osborne, city recreation director: “I’ve been in recreation for 15 years and by far, these are probably the best fields I have ever seen. It is very, very much appreciated.”
Planning for the new fields began about five years ago, when the city bought the Lions Club building adjacent to Macomber Park. It took about six months of planning once the city started in earnest, plus another year of acquiring and enacting wetlands permits. Actual work on the fields has taken about a year, and there are still two phases to go.
“This is the result of a council that has been committed to recreation in our city for the last several years,” Lee said. “If you look at how we’ve expended our revenue, a large portion of it has gone toward recreation in various ways. We have a council that is truly committed to recreation opportunities and facilities.”
Now, Rincon leaders say, they have a complex that rivals any in the area.
“We’re real proud of this facility,” Lee said. “This is as good as anything in the area, and we’re proud to be able to present it to the people of the city of Rincon and hope it will be used for many years to come.”
With the new fields, the hope is the city can attract youth league tournaments. Currently, the city’s rec department is home to approximately 55 teams in its leagues, totaling nearly 700 players and coaches, according to City Manager Wesley Corbitt. That leads to 5,000-6,000 people at the park, with parents, fans and others, each year.
Hosting tournaments could multiply that figure.
“We hope that will lead into our businesses, county and city, which will create revenue,” Corbitt said. “That’s part of the vision of the city council. And it’s about quality of life.”
“It’s a first-class facility,” Lee added. “It’s turned into a nice facility and it’s something we can be proud to host tournaments and events out there. It will bring people from a wide area to come play ball here in Rincon.”
The park expansion has cost about $1.9 million to date, according to city engineer Tim Baumgartner of EMC, and the parking lot and concession/control building for the fields will cost about another $1.2 million. There are also batting cages with the new fields.
Savannah River Utilities performed the earthwork and the utilities work needed. Rain and Shine built the fields and Middle Georgia Outdoor Lighting installed the lights for the four fields.
“They all did a fine job,” Baumgartner said.
And Rincon’s adult leaders aren’t the only ones eager to get on the fields.
“I know these young people are chomping at the bit to get to play on them,” Lee said.