GREENFIELD — Work to extend McClarnon Drive west to a developing multi-field baseball complex at Franklin Park — a nearly half-million-dollar project — is slated to begin next month.
Several months ago, the city of Greenfield agreed to extend sewer and utility lines to a ball facility being constructed in Franklin Park at 1440 N. Franklin Road behind Greenfield Central Junior High School.
This week, officials approved a nearly $496,000 contract with E & B Paving Inc., to extend the street about 1,200 feet and provide utility lines.
Tax-increment financing district funds will be used to pay for the project.
TIF money comes from businesses in the TIF district that pay property taxes into the fund for infrastructure improvements in the area.
The contract will extend McClarnon Drive along the south side of Greenfield Central Junior High to the park’s east line. Karla Vincent, city engineer, said she’s been in contact with the contractor and expects the work to start in July.
An association of The Indiana Bandits Inc. and Greenfield Youth Baseball Association Inc. is organizing the development of the 27-acre complex, which will be developed in phases.
The land being developed was leased to the city in 2010 for 50 years from the Greenfield-Central School Corp. It will contain a dozen fields, restrooms, shelter, a concession stand, parking and a playground. The association will be responsible for covering the cost of further extensions through the com-plex and will pay monthly utili-ty costs.
City officials said they agreed to extend the street and the sewer line and cover the costs associated with the work because it’s a project that will be good for the entire community.
They believe the baseball complex will have positive economic development effects for the city.
Mayor Chuck Fewell said the complex will be good for kids who are interested in getting involved in athletics outside of school. The city expects to see economic gains once the complex is complete.
“When we get it all completed, I can’t imagine the traffic that will be brought in because of the ability to have more functions there, better functions there,” he said.
The complex will host weekend tournaments, which will bring families not living in Greenfield to the area, where they’ll eat at local restaurants, stay in hotels and fuel up their cars, said Mike Hubert, Greenfield Youth Baseball Association president.
Hubert said organizers are hoping to get the first stage of the project kicked off in coming weeks.
That includes installing drainage and preparing the ground for construction.
Once that preparatory work is complete, the group can move on to begin laying out fields.
Hubert said he was happy to hear the city hired a contractor to start work on McClarnon Drive.
“We’re ready to get going on this because it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “It’s got a lot of long-term good for the kids of Greenfield and Greenfield itself.”
Right now, the two athletic associations are looking for donors to help fund the project. They hope to raise $1 million to $1.5 million.
For information on donations or sponsorships, contact Hubert at 317-695-9262.