By Pat Barcas
MONTGOMERY — The largest athletic complex in Montgomery will be getting a major makeover this spring, with construction bids starting in May.
The Montgomery Village Board gave final approval by a vote of 4-2 last month to expand the Stuart Sports Complex to better suit the needs of residents. This is after years of planning and months of discussion weighing the pros and cons of expansion.
The 145 acre complex, located at Jericho Road and Barnes Road, currently has 25 soccer fields, four baseball fields, two basketball courts, a spray pad, a picnic area, and a playground.
The 135 acre expansion will nearly double the park and include four new lighted ball fields, 11 new soccer fields, nearly 700 new parking spaces, and a dog park.
The agreement stipulates a land swap, meaning the park district will receive a small parcel of land along Route 30, and the village gets a 10 acre plot along the northwest part of the police station with which to eventually build a new public works facility.
“This project is a great example of how communities benefit when public agencies collaborate to work together in the best interests of their residents,” said Nancy McCaul, Fox Valley Park District executive director. “The intergovernmental cooperation between the Park District and the Village of Montgomery allowed us to develop a plan that will be implemented quickly and create an even better athletic facility for our communities.”
The master plan for the construction also includes a permanent restroom and concession building near the new ball fields, and five of the 11 new full size soccer fields will be multi-activity fields.
No new taxes will be collected for the project, because the park district allocated $8.6 million from a previous bond sale in 2008. A referendum was passed back then, so taxes have already been collected.
Montgomery Village Manager Anne Marie Gaura said the expansion will have far-reaching economic benefits for the area.
“This is going to be a huge development for the village and our residents and it’s going to be an economic development driver for the whole area out west of Orchard Road,” she said.
Officials said the bulk of the construction will take place this year, with completion in 2013. The work also includes a future pedestrian bridge to be built over Route 30.
The new athletic fields will need until 2014 for their turf to grow, and therefore will be unavailable until then.
Pat Barcas’ e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.