MADISON, Ala. - Safety updates are soon coming to Dublin Park in Madison, and leaders said Monday those updates will keep children safer as they go to the soccer fields on game days and for practices.
Kory Alfred, Madison Parks and Recreation Director, said often the main road that goes through Dublin Park, past the soccer fields, can become a dangerous situation.
"To access fields 2, 3, and 4 out here at Dublin, you have to walk on the road with the cars. Children a lot of times get dropped off and they have to cross the road."
"It's really mass chaos," he added of the area on Saturdays. "If cars drive at a high rate of speed down this road, it becomes a severe safety hazard."
Gene Scherer, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Regional Commissioner, said he knows the issue well. "Cars can come down pretty fast, they're not watching. Cars are parking on the side of the street, so they don't see kids crossing and stuff. It seems like it's a very dangerous situation," he stated.
So the city is doing something about it. Alfred said they will redesign the road and add some parking and walking space to make sure pedestrians and vehicles never need to mix.
"It will create parking space where parents can pull in, drop their kids off by the fields so the children don't have to cross the road and interact with cars. I've seen several near misses," he said. "We'll put a walking path near the soccer fields that will connect to the existing walking paths here at Dublin. And we'll add 39 additional parking spaces where people can pull in off the road."
Plus, the city will extend the road to make it wider for traffic. "We are going to expand the road probably a good 20 feet," Alfred said.
But construction, to start by the end of the month he hopes, would cut through the summer soccer season. He hopes it will be completed in the fall, weather pending.
"It will be an inconvenience for a season. Hopefully we'll have most of it completed so folks don't have to deal with too much construction... Please understand we are trying to get to a result that will make your life easier," Alfred explained.
Scherer said it's fine by him. "We'll work around it for one year. I'm happy to do that," he chuckled.
AYSO donated $100,000 of the total $278,000 project to get the ball rolling. Scherer presented the check to the Madison City Council Monday evening.
Alfred said the city also wants to make some changes to help decrease speeding in the area in connection to the project.