ALACHUA – The City of Alachua is moving forward with a grant proposal that would provide funds for the construction of three multi-purpose fields adjacent to the current city recreation facility.

At a public hearing held Feb. 21, city officials Adam Boukari and Diane Morgan presented details about the fields that will be constructed on the 105 acres purchased as part of the city’s Project Legacy agreement with Alachua County.

Morgan, the city’s grant specialist, said the grant is administered through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Land and Water Conservation Fund. If approved for $200,000 in grant funding, the city would provide matching funds of $200,000.

City commissioners gave final approval for the city to submit the grant application at the Feb. 27 commission meeting. Morgan will submit the document to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection by March 8.

Currently, the City of Alachua lacks adequate space for all area teams to practice effectively. Boukari said he has seen football teams meeting on the basketball courts because the football fields were being used.

“This project will provide needed capacity for local residents and local programs while ensuring there are available venues for attracting sports tourism,” Boukari said.

When the three new fields are constructed, the additional areas will create spaces for rugby, soccer, football and lacrosse teams to practice. The finished project will use about 20 acres of the 105 acres, said Boukari.

Labeled Project Legacy, the land to expand the Hal Brady Recreation facility was purchased in December 2011 after Alachua County agreed to provide $500,000 from Alachua County Tourist Development Council funds toward the purchase. The agreement requires that construction is completed by 2015.  The total cost to purchase the land was approximately $1.2 million. In addition to the money provided by Alachua County, the purchase was possible because of private donations and $500,000 from the county’s Wild Spaces, Public Places fund.

With the acquisition of the 105 acres the recreation facility was increased by five times its original size.

The fields will be designed for multi-purpose use, allowing for the property to be used for events other than sports, such as band performances and cheerleading shows. The city’s popular Fourth of July Celebration will not be affected by the future construction.