Though voters in February defeated a proposed $8 million bond issue to build a sports complex here, volunteers have banded together to build part of the 73-acre park anyway.
"We'll try to do the whole thing with volunteers," said Mayor Dale Barney. A retired contractor, some of Barney's heavy equipment is being used to prepare the ground. Voters turned down the project by a 2-1 margin on Feb. 3. The planned complex would have had 12 baseball fields, two soccer fields, a football field and a variety of other rec-reation amenities."I took a turn on the scraper and track hoe," said Barney. "It's what I really enjoy doing besides this mayor stuff. I've been down there as much as I can."
The city is using $800,000 from the sale of about 35 acres to the west of the new park to buy materials, but so far all of the equipment and labor - except the architect - has been provided by volunteers. The rough grading and underground utilities were designed before the vote by Allred, Soffe, Wilkinson and Nichols, a Salt Lake landscape architecture firm the city hired.
The estimate to build the first phase of the park was about $2 million. The portion of the park under construction is similar to the original first phase.
The Operating Engineers of Local 3, a trade union, has supplied some of the volunteers and heavy equipment. Barney has also enlisted the help of retired heavy equipment operators to do the rough grading, said Jack Swenson, city parks director. "They're ahead of schedule with the rough grading," he said. Work has been under way for about two weeks.
"We have a good part of the earthwork done for the four-plex," said Barney. The volunteers are building a four-plex of four baseball diamonds and a football-soccer field encompassing about 20 acres. The park is located off south Main Street, southwest of the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds.
The Utah National Guard has also supplied people and heavy equipment to help with the proj-ect, he said.
Volunteers are lined up to do the grading as well as the concrete, pipe and electrical work, Barney said. "We've even had the volunteer use of a building for a fund-raiser," he added.
"We'd like to have gotten started earlier, but it was too wet," he said. About six weeks ago a group of volunteers got together and tore down an old barn on the site. "It took two weeks to get permission from the state to tear it down and two days to do it," he said.
Meanwhile, city officials are looking at a formula to determine what to charge users who don't live in Spanish Fork but who play on the 246 city league teams. "We're trying to decide how to make it fair."
The current recreation department budget is $576,000, but the program brings in only $235,000 in fees. The rest of the program is subsidized by local taxes.