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Riverbank Sports Complex Plans April Opening

High tech is Recreation and Parks Director Sue Fitzpatrick's description of the Riverbank Sports Complex.

Certainly the sports park, with its soccer fields under construction on Morrill Road just west of Oakdale Road, has some very advanced features.

The field lights, for instance, are programmed by computer and can be turned off and on from the downtown Riverbank Recreation Office or even from the installer's Musco Controlling & Monitoring office in Iowa.

The scoreboards, which are still sitting in the snack bar/restroom building awaiting installation, will be operated by a portable radio and keyboard, which the scorekeeper can carry with him anywhere on the field.

The snack bar has an air screen in which a moving curtain of air blown across the opening between the snack bar window and outside ensures no insects can get into the interior and contaminate food.

Even the metal flagpole at the entrance has the rope drawn high up the pole well out of reach of vandals who might fancy fiddling with the rope and flags. To reach the lower loop and attach flags, an official must have a key to unlock a small door in the pole and gain access to an inside wire.

Fitzpatrick, assistants Kerrie Webb and Mindy McCall, and Laura Graybill of Public Works recently visited the park with project manager Mel Ladousier of Iomlan Company to draw up a punch list and begin adding the final details.

Under construction since last spring, the $2.3 million first phase of the sports complex is due for acceptance by the Riverbank City Council on Monday and has a tentative grand opening scheduled for Sunday, April 6.

Designed primarily for soccer - for which Riverbank has no designated fields - the whole 11 acres will also offer a bicycle motocross park and a children's playground.

The first phase of six acres offers a field for soccer only and another field for soccer or youth football in addition to the snack bar/restroom building, a picnic area and 170 parking spaces. The second phase will also add a third field with its use not yet designated.

While 170 parking spots seems a lot, it won't be enough to cater for whole teams and their fans, Fitzpatrick commented.

The lighted soccer fields are a major attraction and already drawing inquiries from places like Ceres. The River Oak Redskins, meanwhile, are interested in using the dual-purpose field for youth football.

Posts and nets some 30 to 40 feet high edge the field on its southern side to stop balls going into the parking lot.

Recreation officials visualize eventually having space for other sports such as flag football and field hockey.

George Reed of Lodi is the general contractor, Verde Design the overall designer, Giuliani & Kull the engineers and Iomlan Construction Services the project inspectors.