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Dirt moved for soccer fields

"Dreams of more soccer fields for kids to play on are finally becoming reality on the new South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District property along Langley Road, just north of the old Waterman Mill site.The contractor started bringing equipment in on Monday, and by Wednesday the large dirt moving project was picking up steam. We're starting to take the sod off, said Mitch Morley of Freeland, job foreman for Krieg Construction of Oak Harbor.Voters approved a bond issue to purchase and improve the 30-acre site last spring. An old rental house was burned as firefighting practice earlier this summer. Although the property fronts Langley Road, the rear portion adjoins the original 40 acres of Parks property, accessed by the public off Maxwelton Road. A trail system will connect the two parcels.Krieg Construction submitted the low bid for phase one of the project, but the competition was close. We barely got it, Morley said. It was too close for comfort. Krieg bid $369,688.86, while Callen Construction of Bellingham offered $370,540.44.Morley said the job should take about six weeks with three scrapers going over 20 of the 30 acres. One flat area will be graded to accommodate three grass fields, and a fourth dirt field will be set to finish grade. A parking lot, half paved and half with a crushed rock surface, will be raised about five feet above the play fields, affording parents and grandparents a good view of the action from their cars. A higher area around the water pump will eventually become a grassy picnic site.Curt Gordon, a Parks commissioner, said the three grass fields will be arranged in an L-shaped pattern, while the fourth dirt field will be in a separate location. Why dirt? Dirt fields are common on the mainland, and Whidbey Island soccer coaches want a dirt field to practice on.Morley said 12,000 cubic yards of topsoil will be taken up, screened and replaced. The total excavation project is estimated at 32,000 cubic yards of material.The Parks commissioners plan a second construction phase after the major dirt work is complete in order to build restrooms, a small concessions stand and provide additional paving. Bids have yet to be sought for that portion of the work.Gordon said the irrigation system work will be done this winter. Next spring the new grass fields will be seeded, and by the spring of 2000 they should be playable. "

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