Five months ago, crews began ripping up the turf on the soccer field at Lakeshore Park and installing a new artificial turf.
On Saturday, the field reopens by hosting the championship games of the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department’s youth football program. Recreation Director Steve Card says the city has big plans for the park
“The previous turf field was over 12 years old and had become a safety hazard,” he said. “This new field will give a a full-size football field. Our soccer program has grown tremendously, and this field will be an important part of that. We’ll also be playing lacrosse out here.”
The field will also serve as the home field for Dalton State College’s soccer program when it is approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The field has the logos for both the recreation department and the college.
As part of the renovation, the department added a raised bleacher that seats 300.
“We’ve done a number of things to upgrade this facility,” Card said. “We completely resurfaced our track. Last year, for the first time in many years, we started a track program. We held it one Saturday and had over 120 kids come out. This upcoming year we are going to have a full track program. This will be a high school regulation-sized track with all the markings we can use for that program, and the local community will be able to use it as a walking track.”
The department also added lighting so that not only can night games be played on the field, residents can also use the track at night.
The community can see the renovations starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by three youth football championship games.
“We’ll have free inflatables for the kids. We’ll have hot dogs and sodas and other food. Something will be going on almost all day,” Card said.
The new multipurpose field is the first stage of a series of renovations planned for Lakeshore Park, according to Card. Plans call for upgrading the restrooms and concession stand at the field, adding more tennis courts, expanding the cross country trail and restoring the wetlands next to the park.
“We really want to make this park a place that people from across the city want to come and visit,” said Card.