Tucker holds community meeting about plans for Fitzgerald Field

Hayes Basit, 8, gets a fist bump from his father Jamal Basit before hitting the field on Opening Day of the Tucker Baseball League at Fitzgerald Field on April 17, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — The city of Tucker held a public meeting on June 16 to discuss plans for the facilities at Fitzgerald Field. The city held a similar meeting on June 9 to discuss Lord Park, and plans to hold a meeting on Johns Homestead Park which has not yet been scheduled.

Tucker’s Parks Master Plan, adopted in 2019, states that the city should add between three and five parks, including a sports complex.

Tucker acquired Fitzgerald Field from the Tucker Football League in 2019, for use as a sports complex. The master plan calls for a 26-acre park with 4-16 fields.

Tucker Parks and Recreation Director Rip Robertson said that the 18.5 acre size of Fitzgerald Field, which includes 5 fields, meets the needs of the city.

Adam Shelton of Keck and Wood, the civil engineering firm overseeing the project, said that the park will be renovated rather than fully redesigned. An existing concession stand will be removed to add parking, while some bathrooms and a new playground will be added. New lighting and sound systems will reduce both light pollution and the reach of noise outside the park.

A new maintenance building will be primarily used as vehicle and equipment storage for the park system as a whole.

Several residents at the meeting stated that they live next to the park and that it is frequently used as a place to walk dogs. Several expressed a desire for more diverse amenities in the park, including a walking trail and a dog park.

Other residents expressed strong support for the park’s continued use for youth sports programs.

Robertson said that when the city acquired the land from TFL, the terms of the deal specified that they could not alter the nature of the facility. “It says in the deed that it’s a sports complex, used for youth and adult sports,” said Robertson. However, he stated that if there was enough room, the city would consider adding a walking trail.

Tucker Mayor Frank Auman said that the city did not have to pay TFL for the property. “Our part of the deal was to spend a bunch of money [on improvements] that they hadn’t been able to,” said Auman.

In response to queries about debts related to the facility, Robertson stated that all bills from vendors connected with the park had been paid. An outstanding amount with DeKalb County, Robertson said, was the result of the county failing to cancel TFL’s account after the property was transferred to the city of Tucker. “We’re still working through that,” said Robertson.

Renovation of most of the plumbing and other infrastructure will not begin until October because of supply chain delays, but Robertson said that water and electricity were currently working in one of the buildings.

Robertson didn’t say when the park renovation would be finished, but said that Tucker residents should see results by next year’s football season. “We should have substantial progress by then,” said Robertson.

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