Chairman Daren Holland said a sportsplex is becoming more of a necessity for the Parks and Recreation Department since many of its facilities are beyond repair.
“We’ve repaired and repaired and repaired,” Holland said. “We’re at a point now where we’re using our baseball fields for football and soccer, and it doesn’t need to be that way.”
Holland said a sportsplex would be a great improvement to the city.
“Our facilities are very dated, and their locations are not ideal,” he said. “If we could have them all in one place at a complex, it would add tremendous value to the community in terms of the quality of life and in attracting business and industry.”
The board assembled a committee to research potential locations, Holland said at a board meeting Monday night. Committee members have located a 174-acre property near U.S. 280 and Highway 21 that may fit the bill. City Council President and Parks and Recreation Board liaison Jim Heigl said the same piece of land was previously approved by the council for a sportsplex.
“That was approved by the council at one time several years ago,” Heigl said. “It was sent to the mayor for a signature, and somehow the ball got dropped.”
Board members said it was roughly eight years ago when plans for a sportsplex on the same property were presented to the council, including a design fitted to the land.
“There’s already a design in place for that plot of land, and it was a very good design,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jim Armstrong.
Board member Pam Landers said the property owners have recently expressed support for the idea.
“I heard the owner of the property was really interested in us putting a sports complex out there,” Landers said. “They were motivated.”
Holland said they are in the information-gathering stage now, but plan to present their ideas to the City Council within the next few months.
“We just want to be a source of information for the city, so we’re trying to get as much together as we can before we present it to them,” he said. “The summer is slower for us, so we’re hoping we can do a little more on it and maybe meet with the council around August.”
Also at the meeting, Armstrong said a busy summer season is in full swing at the Parks and Recreation Department.
More than 70 children are registered for Day Camp with a daily attendance of about 50, he said.
“The center is full of children,” Armstrong said. “So far it’s been an adventure, and we’re not but two weeks into it.”
Cal Ripken baseball teams are currently playing in the district tournament, with three teams advancing to the state tourney so far. The two teams left to play have a good chance of going to state as well, Armstrong said.
The public pool is also staying busy. Armstrong said they grossed more then $1,000 in pool admission the first week it was open.
“We’ve never done that,” he said. “And we’ve got 19 swim parties planned for the month. The pool has just done phenomenal this year.”
The pool is open for public swim from 1 – 4:50 p.m. Monday to Friday. Day Camp is Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 256-249-8561.
Contact Emily Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.