As part of the bond package approved by voters in 2018, $52.41 million was allocated for police and fire facilities; $27.09 million for streets and infrastructure projects; and $24.71 million for parks projects, including at Lear Park.
Caron said one of the new baseball fields at Lear is 300 feet while the other is 325 feet. That makes the 325-foot field the only other large field in the city along with Gibson Field at McWhorter Park, Scoggin said.
The previous smaller fields often led to consecutive home runs and hindered the flow of games, Scoggin said.
Scoggin added that this will be useful to 15- to 18-year-old players who want access to a large field. Previously, players had to travel to Hallsville or other areas to be able to play at a bigger field.
City Parks and Recreation Director Scott Caron said he hopes for the six new baseball, softball and soccer fields to be open to the public this month.
Chairman of the Longview Boys Baseball Association Rex Scoggin said he had seen the new baseball fields and believes they looked great and will benefit Longview children and teens who want to play on a bigger field.
He said the new fields would give older players a place to play and not feel restricted.
“It’s hard to find good fields for our older kids to play on, so the fact that we have them gives us a big advantage that we’ve never had as far as scheduling,” Scoggin said.
Greater Longview Soccer Association President David Sonnier said players who have been using fields adjacent to the two new soccer fields are looking forward to finally playing on them. The two new soccer fields are each 70 yards by 120 yards (210 feet by 360 feet), Caron said.
Sonnier talked about the two main improvements made on the soccer fields: the lighting and the turf. “It’s hard to believe how bright the fields are gonna be now,” he said.
According to Caron, along with the LED lights that were added to the new soccer fields, lights also were added to additional soccer fields at the park. Sonnier said a selling feature for the older players and for soccer tournaments is the turf fields.
Because of the poor field conditions during inclement weather, soccer games often had to be canceled and rescheduled. Even without the rain, the crumb rubber pellets from the turf would often spray upwards and into players’ eyes.
“We couldn’t play in one inch of rain,” he said. Before renovations, the previous soccer fields were composed of crumb rubber turf, which Sonnier said caused many issues when wet and dry.