Work is expected to begin this month on the first phase of the Westmoreland Athletic Complex, which town officials say could become a significant economic generator, luring more sports tournaments to town.
The Cornelius Board of Commissioners last week unanimously approved contractor J.D. Goodrum's $1.3million bid for phase one of the complex.
The work will include two baseball/softball fields, restrooms, a picnic shelter, a concessions building, playground, parking and sidewalks.
Lighting and scoreboards for the athletic fields will be completed in phase two.
"J.D. Goodrum was the lowest bidder and is a local company," Town Manager Anthony Roberts told the board. "We have worked with them before, and they do quality work."
Phase one should be complete before year's end, Cornelius Park Superintendent Troy Fitzsimmons said.
The project cost will be paid partly by a $500,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The total anticipated cost of the complex has remained at about $3.5million the past three years.
But with the economy and other factors, the town has updated its final cost estimate to be less than $3million, Cornelius Finance Director Jackie Huffman said in a Feb.1 memo to Mayor Jeff Tarte and the commissioners.
Fitzsimmons said phase two is more difficult to pin down, "as we don't have funding allocated for this phase at this time."
Phase two is in the town's capital improvement plan, with funding proposed for fiscal 2011, which begins in July, he said. The town board will need to approve the capital plan first, Fitzsimmons said.
"In the next several weeks, we should have a better idea on Phase II funding," he said in an e-mail to the Observer.
In 2008, the Mecklenburg County commissioners unanimously approved a 40-year lease of 19 county-owned acres to the town for the athletic complex, at $1 a year.