Soccer players living in Hesperia's southwest area will soon have a lighted sports complex of their own.


Construction began earlier this week on the first phase of Maple Park, a joint project of the City of Hesperia and Hesperia Recreation and Park District. The seven-acre phase is expected to be completed by July with the fields available to soccer teams next fall.


"They will be lit soccer fields," said Lindsay Woods, the park district's administrative operations manager. "During soccer season when the sun is going down earlier they can have their practices in the early evening."


Because the fields will be hyroseeded rather than sodded, they won't be available to players until after the turf is firmly established, however.


"It needs to get its roots established before we start playing on it," he said.


The first phase will include the creation of two adult fields, which can fit the equivalent of up six youth soccer fields.


Developed by Cooley Construction, Maple Park is an example of how local agencies work together, Woods said.


"We've done a number of projects with the city and the school district. All three agencies work really well together to try to maximize public resources."


The property for Maple Park, which is located on the west side of Maple Avenue a few blocks north of Ranchero Road, is owned by the City of Hesperia.


"If we went out and had to acquire the property ourselves we probably couldn't have done the project," Woods added.


The park district is paying for construction out of its general fund.


Park district officials also weren't sure if the district could afford to pay for lighting at this time. However, the local building industry downturn has caused local construction industry firms to keep their bids on such projects lower than in previous years. That means lighting could be added to the project's first phase budget, according to Woods.