By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Pulaski County Board of Supervisors voted Monday night to authorize $95,000 worth of improvements at Loving Field.
The improvements, to be funded out of the current 2012-13 fiscal year budget, will include a new building containing restrooms, concession facilities and a picnic area, along with walking trails and better handicap accessibility to the ball fields.
The new building is estimated to cost $75,000 and the trails and handicap accessibility, $20,000. Staff said work on the improvements is expected to begin immediately.
County Administrator Peter Huber said the current restroom facilities have not been operational for years. Also, Pulaski County Recreation Director Anthony Akers said the new facility is more easily accessible from all fields because it will be located between the upper and lower complexes.
In response to the board’s unanimous vote, Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp said, “One thing about Loving Field, I think once it gets back running it’s going to be a great spin-off to Randolph Park.”
He added, “I know at one time that was a booming ball field, with all kinds of tournaments.” Loving Field is located in Robinson District.
Town of Pulaski owned the Loving Field recreational facilities until the county purchased them about four years ago. The town retained ownership of about 100 acres of adjoining property.
Realizing the county could not afford to fund all of the $215,000 in proposed improvements in one budget, the board asked county staff to prioritize the list so it could address the most pressing needs first.
Bopp agreed with the priorities selected by staff, saying the county can add other improvements in the future.
Since the board’s vote was made during a work session to discuss 2013-14 budget issues, Massie District Supervisor Andy McCready stressed that the improvements will be funded out of the current 2012-13 budget, not the proposed budget.