By Holly Wise

Killeen Daily Herald

LAMPASAS - It's game time, almost.

The Lampasas Regional Sports Complex is projected to be partially operational next spring after grass is established on the sports fields and a few bugs are worked out of the irrigation system, Lampasas Parks and Recreation Director Micky Tower said.

"We're almost there," he said. "We'll let it sit during fall and winter, and hopefully we'll be ready for spring."

Phase one of the nearly $2.5 million project includes two, 300-foot baseball fields and two regulation-sized soccer fields, which can be converted into football fields if need be.

"When you walk on this field you're going to think, 'Wow, this is pretty neat,'" he said.

The Lampasas City Council approved the project on July 29, 2009, after a master plan was developed for the 173-acre sports park located off Farm-to-Market Road 580.

Tower said two public meetings were held, with more than 100 people attending each one.

"They presented some good ideas and good concerns to the city council," he said.

The project has been in discussion since 2001.

The city received a $400,000 outdoor recreation grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to build the park. A $200,000 grant from the LCRA and $5,000 in donations rounded out the contributions.

Since the 2006-07 fiscal year, the city has made a $355,000 transfer from the general fund, a $1.2 million transfer from the capital fund and a $250,000 transfer from the electric fund to construct the park.

Even with the unexpected expense of $20,200 to pay for water to establish the grass, the project still comes in $425 under the $2,483,407 budget.

Phase two of the project will include two soccer fields and four youth baseball fields.

"Not until phase two will we get smaller fields we can use for the kids," Lampasas County Youth Sports Association President Rick Rebando said.

Rebando said the LCYSA will be hosting tournaments in the 2011 season, which will bring a lot of people to Lampasas.

"It'd be nice to have new fields in the future," he said.

A time frame for phase two has not been determined.

The sports complex will have rest rooms, concession stands, and a playground and courtyard area.

In the future, Tower said plans are being made for a walking trail and horseback-riding trail on the back portion of the land.

"We have plans for this thing to be as rustic as rustic could be," he said.

Two acres have been dedicated for a future fire department substation.

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