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Bristol News | Latest Headlines

Construction to start soon on Abingdon’s new sports complex

BY JOE TENNIS | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER​ ​ ​

ABINGDON, Va. — Abingdon’s long-awaited sports complex is slated for completion by the end of the year, said Town Manager Jimmy Morani.

“That’s the plan,” Morani said. “There might be some components that have to be done on separate timelines.”

Quesenberry’s of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, has been given the green light with to start construction as the spring weather arrives, Morani said.

“They’ve already got their notice to proceed,” he said.

This spring means getting to work, said Abingdon Mayor Derek Webb.

“We’re just kind of literally and figuratively just trying to get into the dirt,” Webb said. “I think the construction crew is ready to mobilize as soon as the rain stops. We’ll see some action out there really quickly, we hope.”

Longtime plan

The sports complex has been years in the planning stages — including the entire four-year term of former Mayor Wayne Craig, who left office in 2020.

“I’m very, very happy that we’re moving forward. I think we have an excellent plan for the sports complex,” said Craig, 80. “And I hope I live long enough to enjoy some sports.”

Attached to this field of dreams is a price tag that has now grown from an estimated $10 million to $12.5 million, according to Morani.

Construction to start soon on Abingdon’s new sports complex

The Abingdon Sports complex is set for construction to begin this spring and is slated for completion by the end of the year. The 40-acre construction site of the sports complex lies adjacent to The Meadows commercial development while also bordering the Virginia Creeper Trail and Interstate 81.

David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier

“It has swelled a little bit,” Webb said.

As much as $2.5 million of the original $10 million estimate was needed for road improvements, drainage and storm water utilities, Morani said.

Then another $2.5 million was added on July 1, 2020, when the Abingdon Town Council passed a resolution to authorize a total of $12.5 million in bonds for the project.

Part of the reason for the increase, according to Webb, is that material costs have climbed since the project was planned about five years ago.

Still, completing the complex — despite rising costs — was favored by newly elected council members James “Scabbo” Anderson and Amanda Pillion during last year’s election, as both said they just wanted to get the project done.

Webb, 37, came on board the Town Council in 2018 as the concept of the sports complex was still in the sketch stages, he said.

“And we couldn’t put a real design together until we figured out how big the pad was going to be for the sports complex,” he said.

Big plans

The 40-acre construction site of the sports complex lies adjacent to The Meadows commercial development while also bordering the Virginia Creeper Trail and Interstate 81.

It’s set to include two full-size, multi-purpose fields suitable for soccer or football, Webb said.

Construction to start soon on Abingdon’s new sports complex

The Abingdon Sports complex is set for construction to begin this spring and is slated for completion by the end of the year. The 40-acre construction site of the sports complex lies adjacent to The Meadows commercial development while also bordering the Virginia Creeper Trail and Interstate 81.

David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier

“You can play cricket or lacrosse out there, if you want to,” Morani added.

The complex will also feature four baseball/softball fields plus a press box and another half-field for warming up, according to Webb.

“And one of my ideas — or babies — is we will have a walking path that should intersect into the Virginia Creeper Trail at the top and the bottom,” Webb said.

Another planned addition is a pump track for bicycles, with obstacles and challenges, Webb said.

“We are also looking at ways at integrating a basketball section on the sports complex as well,” Webb said. “We’ve got some open areas that I think could work. My whole goal was to offer something for everybody.”

Wait to play

A multi-purpose splash pad will likely not be finished until 2022, Webb said.

“You’ll have all of the framework and the infrastructure necessary for the splash pad. It will probably not be complete until early next year,” he said.

So, don’t get out your soccer cleats, basketballs, football jerseys, baseball bats and bicycles just yet, the mayor said.

“I’m not going to be saying kids are going to be playing this year,” Webb said. “It will take some time for the sod to grow and the roots to take so that it’s appropriate to play on. The goal is for kids to play at the sports complex in early 2022.”

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