The ball fields at the Edenmoor subdivision are complete, but athletes won't be practicing or competing on them anytime soon.
Mechanics liens were placed on the property last fall, according to County Administrator Steve Willis. That means the owners of Edenmoor, a company called Lawson's Bend, do not have the legal authority to transfer the deed to the ball fields, which are part of a planned 60-acre county park, or the Panhandle's new EMS Station.
Both the county park and the EMS Station were part of the development agreement between the county and Lawson's Bend. Until liens on the Edenmoor property are cleared, the county can't take over the recreation fields, Willis said.
Crowded fields have plagued the recreation department for the past year. Right now, there are three ball fields and one soccer field at the Indian Land Recreation Center on Hwy. 521. The department recommends that team sports practice three times per week, but many teams can't find an available field to practice on. The light at the end of the tunnel has been the ball fields at Edenmoor.
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"Of course, we still continue to operate but those facilities would certainly enhance our services," said Lancaster County Recreation Director Frank Overcash.
"Patience is a virtue and we are being very virtuous right now."
Willis doesn't know when to expect the county park or EMS Station to be released for county use.
The recreation fields promised by Edenmoor developers in their development agreement with the county will be turned over to the county eventually, Willis said.
"Our attorneys are working with them and hopefully we're going to get that done in the near future," Willis said. "Sooner or later, the county will end up with the property. It's just a matter of sooner or later. If it goes to court, it will be later."
The delay in taking over the recreation fields at Edenmoor is also pushing another county project to the back burner.
York Development Group, one of the developers of a multi-developer "town center" project has proposed that the county exchange Deputy Roy Hardin Park, a nine-acre park near the recreation center on Hwy. 521, with five acres on Shelley Mullis Road, near Six Mile Creek.
Although council members and members of the county's recreation commission seemed amenable to the swap at a meeting last week, no final decision can be made until Edenmoor's county park is released to the county.
Deputy Roy Hardin Park is under a federal deed restriction. A transfer of that deed restriction from Deputy Roy Hardin Park to the county park at Edenmoor has been approved, but until the Edenmoor park comes online, Deputy Roy Hardin Park cannot be turned over to York Development Group.
Applying for a transfer for a federal deed restriction is a lengthy process, but if Edenmoor's park doesn't come online soon, Willis said that the county may consider trying to transfer the federal deed restriction to the acreage being offered by York Development Group rather than the park at Edenmoor.
The Indian Land EMS is also waiting for Edenmoor's liens to be cleared so it can move into a new station at Edenmoor.
While the new station will allow EMS personnel to serve the northern end of the Panhandle more effectively, their existing station continues to serve the area well, Willis said.