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Irrigation plan for New Richmond park germinates

The soccer fields at Freedom Park in New Richmond may not be as hard as rock in the future.

The New Richmond City Council voted 6-0 to authorize $25,000 from accumulated park impact fees to help install an irrigation system at the regional park.

According to Joe Kerlin, parks and recreation director for the city, the community's non-profit soccer organization will pitch in $5,000 a year for five years, and the youth football organization committed to $1,000 a year for five years to jump start the irrigation project.

"We'd like to start this year," Kerlin. "We'd like to do something, even if it's just getting in the well."

The projected cost of a well and irrigation system could be about $100,000, according to City Administrator Mike Darrow.

Parents of young athletes have complained about the soil conditions at Freedom Park since the facility opened up a couple years ago. They claimed the hard ground caused injuries to some players.

With irrigation, Kerlin said, the issue could be resolved.

Apart from the financial commitments already secured, Kerlin said the city will approach other organizations about donating to the irrigation project. A major new fundraiser, Freedom Fest, will be held at the park on May 18 to raise money for the plan.

For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.