New artificial soccer field soon for Maple Ridge

First of four on their way

Merkley Park will soon have a new artificial soccer field, named after Karina Leblanc.

Merkley Park will soon have a new artificial soccer field, named after Karina Leblanc.

You can’t please all of the people, all of the time.

But you can please most of the people, some of the time, as is the case with the residents around Merkley Park on 124th Avenue where the City of Maple Ridge is building its third all-weather artificial sports field. The field, to be named after soccer star Karina Leblanc, is the first of four artificial fields the city will build within the next year.

“Parking has been the main issue, historically, with the neighbours,” said Valoree Richmond, with the parks department.

But an open house June 8 allowed the city to explain the project. Residents learned that night that the extra property the city had bought adjacent to the field will allow the city to create 60 new parking stalls. That will help reduce the number of cars parking on streets and in front of driveways.

The open house attracted about 24 people over the 2.5-hour open house. “They were all very supportive,” Richmond said.

The field, next to Maple Ridge secondary, will allow soccer, lacrosse and softball to be played in all weather. A shared-use agreement with the city will allow the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district to use the field in the daytime until 5 p.m., followed by community use afterwards.

Construction starts this summer with completion by October. A new artificial field will also be built at Golden Ears elementary and two more at nearby Thomas Haney secondary.