Friday, August 25, 2000

Crescent Springs ready to dedicate Ben Wessels Field

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CRESCENT SPRINGS — The 1-year-old Crescent Springs Community Park will feature the city's first soccer field, to be dedicated at 8:15 a.m. Saturday.

[photo] Chris Caskey (left) spreads grass seed as Finderryck Grayer puts down fertilizer and Phil Rachal scatters straw near Ben Wessels Field in Crescent Springs Community Park.
(Enquirer photo)
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        Ben Wessels Field is the only publicly owned soccer field in the city and neighboring Villa Hills.

        “There's just a general shortage of fields in our communities,” said Bruce Schweitzer, president of the Villa Hills Soccer Club, which serves youths in that city and Crescent Springs.

        The field is named for a longtime Crescent Springs resident, developer and former council member who contributed $30,000 for its construction.

        The Villa Hills Soccer Club kicked in another $10,000 to help pay for an irrigation system.

        With the new soccer field for children 10 and younger, the soccer club won't have to struggle as much to get practice time, and it will have a first-class facility, Mr. Schweitzer said.

        City officials say the $1.1 million park, at Buttermilk Pike and Collins Road, has been in constant use, and they expect the soccer field to draw even more users.

        “At lunchtime, you can hardly find a parking space, and (it is) packed on evenings and weekends,” said George Ripberger, Crescent Springs public works and park director.

        Mr. Ripberger said children from a Florence day-care center regularly stop by the 11-acre park, and bus loads of children on their way to the Newport Aquarium have stopped by for lunch.

        While Crescent Springs contracted out construction of the parking lot and drainage, the city's public works employees developed about 95 percent of the park, Mr. Ripberger said.

        Features include a mile of walking trails, a small suspension bridge, a picnic shelter, restrooms, two playgrounds, four clay horseshoe courts, various picnic areas with grills, and a new rental shelter that has booked 12 events since its Aug. 1 opening, Mr. Ripberger said.

        Volunteers are working on a commons area that will include brick pavers and a waterfall; and, next year, plans call for the addition of basketball courts.


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