The Gainesville Parks and Recreation department is ready to bid out improvements to a ballfield that include lights, concessions, restrooms and spectator seating.
City Council approved a land swap with Gainesville City Schools last year that gave the parks department control of the Gainesville Middle School field, adjacent to the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center.
The improvements are aimed at making the field suitable for regulation football games and other sporting events.
“This is a win-win,” said Michael Graham, deputy director of the parks department, adding it benefits both the general public and the school system.
Graham said about $500,000 has been budgeted for the project, with money coming from impact fees and the parks department fund balance. Bids will be sent out Feb. 16.
Graham said he hopes to have the improvements complete by the end of September, but said the field will remain open in most cases to Gainesville Middle students and the general public.
The school district assumed control of Ivey Watson Park at Lanier Point Park and Athletic Complex in the land swap.
Gainesville High School teams have been using Ivey Watson Park for some time, and for this reason City Manager Kip Padgett said the transfer made sense.
Mayor Danny Dunagan echoed those sentiments at the time.
“It’s all about our children,” he said.