The old baseball field at the United Methodist Children’s Home, which the city of Decatur will reconfigure into a soccer/lacrosse field while giving it higher grade sod, irrigation and new fencing. This is only a portion of the property’s green space which could ultimately be used for playing fields and recreation. Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur to upgrade playing field on Methodist Home property

Decatur’s commission agreed this week to spend $19,000 for improvements on the athletic fields at the United Methodist Children’s Home. This is the city’s first project since purchasing the 77-acre property late last month.

The site is about two acres and will receive higher quality sod, irrigation and new fencing, according to Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon. Work will start the first of the year and should finish by late spring. The field will be contoured for soccer and lacrosse.

Saxon pointed out that this is a short-term project, and that more extensive long-term ideas for playing fields and recreation — there’s quite a bit of green space surrounding this field — will emerge from next year’s master planning sessions.

Both the city’s Active Living Department and school system have expressed a need for a track along with baseball and softball fields. There is already a gym and an outdoor swimming pool on site, both of which may require future renovations.

The city purchased the 144-year-old UMCH for $40 million. Residents have been moving off the property for several weeks, a process that should finish this week. The administrative staff is set to move into a Tucker office complex in October.

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