EL DORADO, Ark. (05/26/20) — The El Dorado Recreational Complex won’t be opening soon due to the coronavirus pandemic but progress is being made on the expansion project.
The city has made a few adjustment to its budget to prioritize during this unprecedented time to cease all non-essential spending.
“Cutting out large capital expenditures is probably a smart way to go about that,” Public Works Director, Robert Edmonds said. “Just so that we can ensure that we can pick up the garbage and provide police protection and fire protection and ambulance service those are the essential things that we have to provide.”
Edmonds stated that a $7.5 million project has been postponed. The project was to set make improvements to the streets and drainage issues over the next two years. Until funding is freed up that will be hold on for the time being.
The expansion project to the recreational complex is still continuing because it is being funded through the El Dorado Works Tax, a one cent sales tax to help improve economic development.
Construction began last year on phase one of the complex which included new turf fields on the infields, new fencing, LED lights, new batting cages, and renovations to the concession stand a restroom on the north side of the complex.
Phase two will consist of two soccer fields and a concession stand. Initial bids were put on hold earlier this month but Edmonds recently received instruction to go ahead with the process.
“With the direction of the council last Thursday night, they told me they wanted me to go ahead and bid,” he said. “I can see them probably releasing those funds to go to construction this year.”
There is roughly half left of the $2.6 million project. The remainder will fund phase two but it’s not enough to complete the soccer field and the concession stand.
We don’t believe it’s going to be enough for both projects in phase 2,” he said. “It’s probably going to fund one or the other.”
Governor Hutchinson announced last Thursday some community and school team sports can resume with restrictions starting June 1.
Practice and competition is allowed for limited-contact team sports like baseball, softball, track, gymnastics and swimming.
The city suspended activities at the complex in March when the coronavirus made its way to the state. Since the decision, workers have mowed the land one a month, cutting down on expenses. Although the governor has lifted restrictions, there aren’t any plans to open the complex for now.
“I believe the council continues to believe it’s in our best interest to keep this closed until there is some better handle on not only the virus itself but what financial impact it’s going to cause the city,” Edmonds said.