CANTON  Malone University is in the third year of a five-year Bolder Vision initiative, a $25 million fundraising campaign, that seeks to upgrade and create new recreational and learning spaces for university students and the community.

One project that is scheduled to start this spring and summer is the new Pioneer Park. Three new synthetic turfed sports fields along with concession stands, new restrooms and parking will be constructed in the area adjacent to Route 62 on the Malone Campus.

The plans for the project include a new multipurpose game field, a multipurpose practice field and in between the two of those fields a baseball field. The university already owns the land for the ballfields and much of the adjacent area.

"The project will offer modern and attractive outdoor spaces for recreation, intramurals, intercollegiate games and practices," Chief of Staff and Vice President for Marketing and Communication Timothy A. Bryan said. "Both the game and practice fields will be lined to accommodate soccer, football and possibly lacrosse. Pioneer Park will also be a revenue source for Malone. While Malone will use the fields during the academic year, they will be open to the community over the summer months"

Bryan said the university is working on partnering with Canton City Schools, The Pro Football Hall of Fame and others outside of the university to open the fields up for games, practices and other activities. Sports camps, conferences and tournaments will also be able to use the fields.

"We are designing the park so that people can be there all day. The fields will be lighted, so they can be used later in the evenings throughout the year. Malone did a business plan that included gathering research showing the need for more fields in the area especially for traveling teams," Bryan said.

He added that brining more travel teams into the area benefits the county because people stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants and shop the local retail.

The park and fields will be constructed and opened in phases. The first phase is to elevate the area which will begin as soon as the weather improves. DeVille Development donated and delivered 150,000 cubic feet of fill dirt to help get that part of the project under way.

"This is an exciting time for us at Malone University. We’re continuing with our fundraising efforts and we’re looking forward to the new Pioneer Park which is exciting for the community as well. A groundbreaking ceremony was held last August at the site of the project and 200 people from the community attended so there is a great deal of interest in this project," Bryan said.