There won’t be any work at the future Veterans Memorial Park until after next year’s budget is approved, but officials still are inviting residents to visit the park.

Parks Director Kevin Arand said the site had its first trim last week and the next phase of work will be to develop a cost estimate to build sports fields and other amenities.

“There aren’t any paths yet, but if people want to go out and walk the park then I encourage it,” he said. “It is not going to hurt it. I want people to go out and take a look at how nice the land is.”

When completed the park will be a full-service facility with concession stands, bleachers, restrooms, and other amenities, which will support sporting events, including walking trails, playgrounds, wetlands and other passive park features.

Arand said the first step, if $500,000 in funding is approved in next year’s budget, will be to determine the cost of building the park. Initial construction estimates were $9 million, but since then officials have said the park could be built for less that $6.5 million.

“They had top dollar items that put cost way up there,” Arand said. “We’ll find a more reasonable estimate and then move forward.”

City staff will use software to input the amenities at the park, including structures, to determine cost estimates. The next step would be to hire a design consultant.

Arand noted that the first phase of construction will include the infrastructure, including roads and utilities.

“We’ll just keep cutting and grooming the park to get it looking good and ready for the excavation of fields,” he said.

Park Work

Phase 1 of the park project consisted of excavation and mass grading for two soccer fields, one football field, five baseball/softball fields, two ponds and various support infrastructure.

There was about 100,000 cubic yards of earthwork, and the grading plan included 24-foot-wide roads.

SWT Design of St. Louis provided the original conceptual plan and master planning for this project.

Park Design

The park was planned to meet the growing needs of youth sports leagues in the Union area.

In the plans are marshlands and water sources to be utilized as a conservation area, or passive park, as well as picnic areas and shelters.

There also are playgrounds, a maintenance shed, lakes or ponds, pavilions and other amenities, including a “loop trail” intertwined with smaller trails.

SWT Design utilized requests and demographics to determine the city’s parks needs that could be met at the east park location.

Elected city officials, city staff, members of the east park development committee and Franklin County youth sports leaders submitted requests to SWT Design of what they would like to see included in the park.