Jerusalem Township officials broke ground last week on a long planned sports complex.
Trustee Joe Kiss said the township has been discussing the construction of a new sports and recreation facility for the last several years.
“We finally got it together,” said Kiss. It’s exciting that we actually got it going and started it as opposed to just talking about it. We finally made it happen.”
The site, behind Jerusalem Elementary School on Yondota Road, will feature two baseball diamonds and two soccer fields, said Kiss.
“We just finished installing the underground tile for drainage, and we got all the stone and drains in,” said Kiss.
Jerusalem Township is part of the Oregon City Schools District. Two schools in the district - Eisenhower Middle School and Jerusalem Elementary School - are located in the township, where township athletes have practiced and played.
The township has its own recreation department, which is funded by a recreation levy.
“Most of our sports are in conjunction with the Oregon sports complex. We practice football at Eisenhower. We’ve only had one diamond at Jerusalem School for years that really was inadequate, and we never really had soccer fields to practice on,” said Kiss. “But when it comes to games, we play in the Oregon league at the Oregon sports complex because we don’t have the facilities to handle baseball, football, and soccer. So all our games are in the Oregon system. We never had a sufficient setup for practicing, but now we will. “We’re going to be able to complete baseball and soccer fields for play and practice. We’re still going to be involved in the Oregon leagues. But we’re going to have a better practice facility and a better overall facility if we do want to have some tournament games or games of any sort.”
Trustee David Bench agreed.
“The parents and coaches are excited. And it’s very important for the kids,” he said. “I have grandkids, one in the first grade. If we don’t get started with this, she’ll never get to see it.”
Bench said even Jerusalem Elementary School, which has had drainage problems, will benefit from the project.
“The school was terribly wet. It’s like a cesspool in the playground area. Water just sets in it all the time,” said Bench. The installation of tiles will help reduce the moisture.
Bench said the construction of the ball diamonds and soccer fields will start next summer.
“The tiles will settle all winter. In June or July, when it dries out enough, we’ll get started with the fields,” said Bench.
The township is subcontracting the project to save money.
“We hired a local guy that’s doing the underground plumbing. We’re trying to handle everything ourselves and be the general contractor to save money and use as many people within the township as we can,” said Kiss.