The need — not to mention desire — for a running track in Decatur is no secret. It’s an idea so pervasive that it’s mentioned over 150 times in the Legacy Park Master Plan, our community wish list for the property’s future.
It’s one of the plan’s most ambitious projects and now, just five years in, construction of a lighted, 8-lane track and field facility is getting underway.
The planned improvements include a competition-level track, synthetic turf athletic field, lighting, locker rooms and other improvements to the existing gym, ADA-compliant access, public restrooms, and stormwater management. The field will be marked for soccer, lacrosse, football, and ultimate Frisbee. Areas for pole-vaulting, long jump, shot put and discus are also planned.
Funding for the track and field’s $7 million cost will be borne equally by the City of Decatur and the Decatur Board of Education.
Barring unforeseen complications, construction is expected to take about a year with delivery in time for the spring 2025 academic sports season.
Grin and Bear It
As early as Monday, January 29, park visitors will begin noticing visible signs of activity — security and silt fencing, rerouted trail access, heavy equipment and stormwater infrastructure.
“It’s a huge, disruptive undertaking. No way around it,” says project manager Hugh Saxon. “We’re doing our best to limit the impacts but the community’s most valuable asset for the next year is going to be patience.”
Construction access will be established via the park’s north entrance, looping to the left of and behind Moore Chapel and continuing down the existing access road to the site. Flower gardens and landscaping at the Chapel will be protected and limited access to the Dairy Barn and Kitchen Garden can be made available in coordination with Legacy Decatur staff.
Legacy Park’s trail network will remain open, though some access points may be impacted. Watch for signage as necessary and take care to avoid the active construction zone. Start and end points for the cross country trail are being relocated slightly which will become permanent following construction. Landscaping will be added around the track that blends naturally into the adjacent meadow.
Like Decatur’s other large parks — Glenlake and Oakhurst, for example — parking is limited. Visitors to Legacy Park are encouraged to walk or roll if at all possible. But if you must drive, keep in mind that parking on the grass is not allowed at Legacy Park. Please continue to park in designated locations only.
The Legacy Park Master Plan, which envisions the track and field, was adopted in December, 2018. Thereafter, a working committee of community stakeholders — including parents of children attending district schools, school athletic coaches, local business owners, volunteers, and other like-minded citizens — formed LPARC, the Legacy Park Athletic and Recreation Coalition to advance the track and field’s implementation as a community priority.
Thereafter, they launched an exploratory design process, including the development of a draft design with input from the City of Decatur and the CSD Athletic Department. Those efforts became the basis for the current partnership between our city and schools and the further discussions and more formalized schematics that’ve followed. Those schematics were ultimately presented for community review and comment last spring, resulting in the final design now coming to life.
For questions or further information, contact Hugh Saxon at firstname.lastname@example.org.