Stonehouse Park will lose its main soccer field for a while, so the field across from Murieta Plaza is being groomed as a replacement.
[Corrected Jan. 4] It doesn’t look like much yet, but property behind the Country Store is being groomed as a playing field for Rancho Murieta’s Little Leaguers, soccer and lacrosse players.
Longtime Murietan Matt Corsaut said he got the owner of the property to allow use of the field for sports until the land is developed. It will be necessary this year while the Rancho Murieta Association does rehab work on the main soccer field at Stonehouse Park. Work at Stonehouse Park will begin when weather allows, RMA Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said last week. “It’ll be offline probably until the beginning of summer. ... This is going to be a pretty tough year because of us taking down that large field.”
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Visitors to the Plaza have noticed work taking place across the street as RMA maintenance crews level the field to get it into playing condition. The existing manual-control irrigation system can be repaired and used, Hart said, and the field will be mowed and maintained by the RMA.
The work at Stonehouse Park will begin with relocating irrigation valves that are now in the playing field, where they pose a hazard to players. After that problem is fixed, several hundred cubic yards of a special compost/topsoil/sand blend will be brought in to amend the soil and top-dress the entire field, Hart said. The process will be repeated about a month later, with more fertilizer and additional grass.
By contrast, the soil in the field behind the Country Store is “probably the best we have anywhere inside Rancho Murieta,” Hart said. “It’s all a sandy loam soil.” The field was put into use for recreation decades ago, before the parks were created, he recalled. “It’s actually a pretty darn nice field. It’s certainly going to help fill that void that we have this year, that’s for sure.”
The property is part of the proposed Murieta Gardens, a 50-plus-acre commercial and residential project that’s currently going through the county planning approval process.
Considering the current state of the real estate market and the fact that new development in Rancho Murieta requires an expansion of the water treatment plant before it can go forward, the field could be available for quite a while. “Certainly the next couple seasons,” Hart said. “So we might as well utilize it for extra practice fields.”