Sherman recently completed work on a $4.5 million project aimed at increasing patron visits to an area park.


Sherman will unveil its new Pecan Grove Athletic Complex Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony starting at 8:30 a.m. The opening will be followed by tee ball and soccer games starting at 9 a.m.


"The chief goal of this project was to relieve the pressure that the system has felt over the last several years as our population has continued to grow and our number of sports fields has not grown with it," Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said.


The new park now includes several sports facilities including multiple baseball-softball fields and multi-use fields that can be used for other sports. A series of walking trails were also adding into the development.


The park expansion officially started development about three years ago due to the increasing demand, primarily on Fairview Park.


"The soccer fields at Fairview Park were being used to the point it wasn’t healthy for the grass," he said.


The facility opening comes after some delays to the project due to weather and Mother Nature herself, who prevented the park from opening this spring. Significant rains in the fall of 2019 slowed progress, and there were later delays due to the playing fields not growing in as thick as expected.


"The original goal was to have the park open in the spring. However, between the rain and problems getting the seed to take across the entire fields, the city felt it was best to push back that opening until the end of summer — until now," Strauch said.


Parks and Recreation Manager Theresa Hutchinson said the city will host organized sports this fall, but some changes have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hutchinson said numbers have been down across multiple sports and organizations.


The opening will represent a pause the project, at least for now. City officials anticipate a second phase of construction, but do not have a time table at this point.


"This marks a stopping point in the project, for sure. There are not additional funds that have been committed to starting phase two at this point."


When a second phase does develop, Hutchinson said it will likely include a playground, splash pad and additional lighting.