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Park fields to be alive and kicking in spring

The new soccer fields at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District’s Langley Road sports complex are still for the birds. But come April, younger soccer players will be able to have the run of the wide open spaces. - Matt Johnson
The new soccer fields at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District’s Langley Road sports complex are still for the birds. But come April, younger soccer players will be able to have the run of the wide open spaces.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Acres of yet unused soccer fields graded and seeded with grass last year will open to South Whidbey’s smallest soccer players in April.

Having given the grass a few months to grow, the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District will open its new Langley Road sports complex to 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old soccer players this spring to kick off the first season of sport on the 30-acre property.

Purchased in 2000, the soccer fields and adjoining woods are the newest addition to South Whidbey Community Park. Krieg Construction leveled and planted the fields last spring, but a summertime drought slowed grass growth and made a fall opening for the fields impossible.

Suzette Hart, director of the parks district, said the district’s board of directors decided to start play with small, lightweight soccer players to avoid damaging the still-fragile fields this spring. She said “large body” play probably will not start until the fall.

With three regulation-size grass fields and an oversize dirt field, the sports complex will be able to play host to more soccer games than older fields in the Maxwelton Road portion of the community park. Hart said the district will center soccer and Little League baseball and softball practices on those older, more established fields to keep most of the park’s maintenance centralized.

The new fields will be for games only for the forseeable future, she said, to cut down on wear and tear.

Also hindering full-scale play on the new fields is a shortage of soccer goals and the absence of restrooms and a required bus turnout on Langley Road. Hart said organizations using the fields this year will pay for a portion of the cost of having portable restrooms at the complex. She said the bus turnout — which is essentially a 12x100-foot lane to the outside of the road shoulder near the complex entrance — will be finished by fall.

Hart said Little League T-ball players may also take the field at the new complex. At present, the complex has no backstops or fields developed for baseball and softball. In past meetings, district commissioners said they prefer to center Little League play in the older portion of the park.

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