Tybee Island residents weigh in on Jaycee Park plans

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. () — The baseball and soccer field at Jaycee Park is getting a makeover but not without input from those who use it.

Shawn Gillen, City Manager of Tybee Island said, “Some residents, YMCA officials, and soccer coaches wanted to see some improvements to the soccer field. So council directed us to come up with some plans, and we developed three different options for folks based on space, need, mixing of all the uses in the park”

But the three plans originally proposed by the city all included some sort of turf either grass or artificial.

And constituents weren’t having any of it, like preschool director Cyasia Zackery who often brings her classes to the park.

Zackery explained, “One of the things at my preschool we actually do a lot of outdoor play. With grass, you get live creatures and things like that, and thinking of it from my standpoint, when you have kids, it’s a learning opportunity.

The city the feedback them loud and clear causing them to change course.

“Everyone wanted to see the grass improve, to see the field improve somehow,” Gillen said. “So we’re going to go back to the drawing board and come up with an all-grass version of a 60×100 soccer pitch that will fit in the outfield of the baseball diamond.

Some residents looking for the least inexpensive option – and what’s best for the young athletes using the fields.

John Tierney, a Tybee Island resident told News 3, “I’m a proponent of whatever is cost effective, but I’m also a strong supporter of youth sports, and I would lean toward whatever those involved with youth sports that use these field is in their best interest.

And Gillen says that’s the grass field plan—which will cost around half a million dollars.

 “We think the maintenance costs are even either way, and the start-up cost is much for expensive for the artificial turf,” he said. 

Though Gillen says the grass will require frequent upkeep, residents says it’s all worth it.

 “I would definitely just keep it natural,” said Zackery. “We have dogs that come out here and kids. There’s nothing more natural than grass!”

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