• Lillie Burke

Rose Park renovations on track

With Rose Park construction progressing on schedule, many Belmont athletes will soon practice and compete on much improved fields, even though there will still be some limitations.

The facility, 10 blocks from Belmont’s campus, is expected to be ready for baseball and softball games by mid-February. The soccer field and surrounding track will be ready for events by next fall.

Not all of the track and field team, however, will have a competitive home at Rose Park. Multiple circumstances have forced the javelin throw and hammer throw events to be moved off-site. The limited space in the area made it challenging for planners to find a place for the two events.

“They tried as hard as they could to fit it in, but they just couldn’t,” associate athletic director Steve Barrick said.

The events were also moved because the soccer field will use artificial turf, and a sharp javelin thrown from the surrounding track could damage the field.

“It’s just not safe to throw the javelin around there,” said Mark Grones, Belmont’s liaison for the Rose Park construction.

Barrick said the track and field team hopes to work with another university so the entire team will have a place to practice and compete.

“It’s the Belmont way to partner with the community,” he said. “We will do anything we can to provide sites for events we’ve provided for in the past.”

Despite the limitations, track and field coach Jeff Langdon is confident the park will bring his teams together. In a statement, he said Rose Park “represents an exciting new chapter for the program.”

These circumstances also won’t stop Belmont from bidding for and trying to host track meets. The athletics departments will try to bid for and host a number of events, which would be a first for the program.

The rest of the park’s construction is going as planned and on schedule, Grones said.

“If the weather continues to cooperate, we’ll do better than that,” he said.

From what officials have seen so far, the park will be a major success for Belmont and the community, Barrick said.

From the time the plan was announced almost four years ago, however, neighbors in the Edgehill community where the park is located had questions about it. After a series of legal challenges, in July the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued a final ruling in favor of Belmont.

Construction began quickly after the legal challenge ended, and both Belmont and the community will be able to use the baseball, softball soccer, and track and field areas, as well as a walking track with a clear view of the Nashville skyline.

“We’re all excited. It’s going to be here before we know it,” Barrick said. “We will tweak and work to give our student-athletes a place to work and play. It’s going to be a first-class facility.”

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