Funding sought for Manville Park soccer complex

Funding sought for Manville Park soccer complex

Pending funding availability, Manville Memorial Park may be renovated to include three soccer fields.

LINCOLN – The town is seeking grant funding to help transform part of Manville Memorial Park by adding a series of soccer fields.

Tentative plans, which depend on funding availability for refurbishing the park at 175 High St., include three regulation-sized fields that would be irrigated.

The main field space at Manville Park is currently a softball diamond, with soccer nets set up in the outfield. Under the town’s plans, the softball field would be eliminated to make way for a 210-foot-by-340-foot field to accommodate “most field sports for all age groups, including lacrosse and hockey,” according to Town Planner Al Ranaldi.

Town officials are proposing three soccer fields, one regulation-size (for up to 16U, or under age 16, teams) and two smaller fields for 12U teams.

The entire field space, running from the playground to the front fence would be irrigated and laid with fresh soil.

“Right now, it’s really just a piece of land,” said Parks and Recreation Director Alan Moreau. “It has not held up over time because it’s a patch of grass not built for sports.”

“It looks OK now because it has been resting for two years. For it to be playable, you need to take entire years off at a time,” he said. With proper underground irrigation, Moreau said the field would finally drain properly.

After construction, the refurbished fields would need roughly two years to let the grass grow properly. They’re aiming to begin construction in late summer or fall of next year.

Ranaldi told the Town Council on Nov. 19 that the project would cost approximately $800,000 total, and that he’s seeking a 2020 R.I. Recreation Grant to help pay for it.

The council gave Ranaldi the go-ahead to apply for the grant, which at a maximum of $400,000 would help renovate Manville Park.

The money is available from the R.I. 2018 Green Economy Bond and made available through the R.I. Recreation Acquisition and Development Grants Program.

Ranaldi said the project still faces a number of hurdles, namely the town’s budgeting process.

Town officials, including Ranaldi, said soccer fields are in high demand in Lincoln now as interest in the sport swells.

Councilor Bruce Ogni said, “I think this is a great idea. We’ve dealt with the field issue for a long time, and have been working for a long time to find space. I think this is a move in the right direction to get what we need.”