Dirt removal for South Lake Regional Park will require 300 trucks a day for two years
Steven Colello doesn’t relish the prospect of trucks rumbling up and down Max Hooks Road near Groveland, hauling dirt to make way for ballfields at the new South Lake Regional Park.
Not just one or two trucks a day — the plan calls for up to 300 round trips daily for 18 months to two years, according to the county.
“These homes aren’t the most sturdiest homes,” said Colello, 55, who lives in Oak Lane Mobile Home Park. “Trucks like that tend to rumble your walls and stuff falls off your walls.…I would have to put my vote against it if I was to vote.”
But voting on the plan was reserved for Lake County commissioners, who OK’d a $2.8 million site-development plan for the $18 million park south of State Road 50 off Max Hooks Road. The contract was a key step in the development of the park since commissioners held a groundbreaking ceremony in April. Commissioners say the ballfields are desperately needed in a fast-growing region with a shortage of places for kids to swing bats and kick balls.
Commissioner Leslie Campione said she wants ballfields “as soon as possible” but was concerned about the magnitude of the dirt-removal project.
However, commission Chairman Tim Sullivan said it might not be as bad as it sounds, noting that the trucks will be taking the dirt along two major roads: S.R. 50 and U.S. Highway 27.
“I don’t know where else you can get that kind of capacity,” Sullivan said. “Three hundred trips a day sounds like a lot, [but] on a road that generates 30,000 trips a day, you’re talking 1 percent of the normal traffic . ... ”
Campione said she didn’t want to be an “obstructionist” by raising concerns about the scope of the dirt hauling.
“I just want to make it clear: If we do get complaints, I’m certainly going to refer them to you,” she said with a laugh, referring to Sullivan.
She also said the county needs to be flexible about adjusting the number of trips “if it looks like it’s just not working or it’s creating too many problems ...”
Commissioner Sean Parks said all of the sites eyed for South Lake Regional Park had “some kind of significant topographical issue … being there is a lot of hills. Regardless, there would have been a lot of dirt having to be removed.”
Commissioner Josh Blake cast the lone vote against the site-preparation contract with Oelrich Construction of Jonesville. He said the money could go toward road resurfacing.
“For me, it’s a priority issue,” he said.
Commissioners worked for years to find a site and line up funding for South Lake Regional Park to help meet a tremendous demand for athletic fields. The facility will include eight multipurpose fields, eight softball fields, six baseball fields, two cricket fields, playgrounds, trails, a boat dock, concession buildings and pavilions.
County commissioners and other officials take part in a groundbreaking ceremony April 6 for the $18 million South Lake Regional Park.