The first phase of Clover’s 50-acre New Centre Park is nearing completion, but recreation officials said soccer games won’t take place on the fields until fall.
Greg Holmes, director of Clover Parks and Recreation, said paving the parking lot and placing the sod are the two big jobs that remain to be completed. Holmes said progress has been slowed by recent wet weather.
“They don’t want to pave the parking lot with so much moisture in the gravel,” he said about the contractor, Cherryville, N.C.,-based Beam Construction. “They want it to dry out. As soon as we get sunshine for a few days, we should be able to pave the parking lot.”
Holmes said laying the sod also depends on the weather.
Holms and Town Manager Allison Harvey said the town plans to begin using the fields in the fall. They said they won’t use the fields this spring to allow the grass time to become established.
“We may not use it as intensively in the fall as we would, say, the following spring,” Harvey said. “In the fall, we may use it just for games, not practice, to go easy on the grass.”
Town officials said rock formations at the Memorial Drive construction site and issues associated with setting the lights caused delays in the planned construction timetable.
The first phase of the park cost about $1.7 million and includes four lighted soccer fields, a brick concession stand and public restrooms, a parking area and the park infrastructure.
The town plans to complete the park in phases. Plans for future phases of the park include a splash pad, amphitheater, walking trails, picnic shelters, outdoor basketball, sand volleyball and tennis courts, a disc golf course and a “miracle field,” which is a special type of baseball field for people with disabilities.
Holmes has noted that the new park complex will complement the town’s existing facilities, Clover Community Park and Roosevelt Park.
Clover Community Park, which covers more than 21 acres along Community Park Drive, includes two lighted softball and baseball regulation fields with bleachers, two picnic shelters, a playground area, lighted and paved walking trail, a restroom and concession building and 16 lighted horseshoe courts.
The nine-acre acre Roosevelt Park on Mobley Street includes two lighted baseball/softball fields, one lighted baseball field, a basketball court, playground, restrooms, concession building and a picnic shelter.
While youth soccer participation has reached record numbers in recent years, the town of Clover has had no fields of its own. Aside from the use of the Clover school district soccer facilities, Holmes said, the town’s soccer teams are having to play anywhere they can.
“We play soccer on baseball fields,” Holmes said. “We use any space we can find for makeshift soccer fields.”
Donald Johnson, program coordinator for the town of Clover, said the department has had a strong commitment to youth soccer. “Our youth soccer reaches ages three to 15,” he said.
The town chose the name New Centre Park after considering nearly four dozen names that were suggested by citizens. The name was inspired by a now-defunct community named New Centre that developed south of Clover.
The community disappeared after the Civil War, but town officials liked the name because it fits plans to promote the park as a new center of activity.