Some Washington baseball fields will get a face lift thanks to a donation pledge by the Washington Youth Sports Association.
Parks Director Darren Dunkle said he has spoken to the association about making improvements to the fields after a recent soil survey and said the association was willing to donate a significant amount of funding for the field-improvement project.
“They’re willing to pledge up to $20,000 to do some improvements to fields,” Dunkle said.
Dunkle said he was told it would take about $10,000 to improve each field if the project was contracted out. Dunkle said the fields have drainage issues, problems with the soil and need to be laser leveled.
The Youth Association would like to focus on fields one and two at Lakeview, Dunkle said.
City Councilman Josh Brinker said he was told by association members that the plan is to get two fields in good shape for tournaments
“They want to show that Washington has quality fields,” Brinker said.
Brinker said the plan would be to run tournaments through the two good fields and that would, hopefully, generate enough revenue that work could begin on other fields.
Councilman Jeff Patke said that if doing a field at high cost would take $10,000, the city might be able to get three or four fields at Lakeview improved with the $20,000 if city staff does the work.
“If we have the equipment, the manpower and the tools at Lakeview, my opinion is, we can have all four done,” Patke said. “. . . You start with one, you get two done and then see where you’re at.”
Before the number of fields being worked on is decided, the city needs to know the actual cost of the project.
Dunkle said the association has pledged the funds and is asking park department staff to seek bids and, once the cost is known, the Association would then make the donation — as long as the price tag doesn’t exceed $20,000.
“They’d like to have this done at the start of the season, but they understand, with the weather we have, that it might not get done,” Dunkle said.
The board agreed to accept the donations and to seek bids for the project.
The city recently received the results of soil samples taken in the baseball infields of Lakeview, McLaughlin, Barklage, and Ronsick. The test showed Lakeview, McLaughlin, and Barklage fields have too much silt and fine sand, and it is recommended that coarse sand and calcined clay mixture needs to be added.
Ronsick field was deemed deficient in the amount of coarse sand.
The phrase “when the weather breaks” may as well be the unofficial motto of the Washington Parks Department this winter.
With freezing temperatures and plenty of snow, work on the All-Abilities Park has stalled. Dunkle told the parks board at the Feb. 6 meeting that when the weather gets better, things will pick up. For now, things are pretty quiet.
“Hopefully, at some point, this weather is going to break,” Dunkle said. “If they could get several days in a row that we don’t have snow on the ground or that the temperatures are in the 30s and 40s, they can get in there and start working again.”
Dunkle told the parks board that KJ Unnerstall has completed the construction of curbs/gutter and asphalt work at the All-Abilities Park. Once the weather clears up, work will continue on sidewalks, playground base surface and fencing.
Dunkle said staff is preparing bid specifications for the pavilion and site amenities.
“All of us would like to knock this project out and have it ready for the spring for people to use and enjoy,” Dunkle said.
During Thursday’s meeting, Dunkle informed the board that the city’s lease to continue running the Big Driver driving range and mini golf course is up in March.
The parks board had no objections to renewing the lease, so the city will remain in charge of Big Driver in 2014. The city took over operations of Big Driver in 2012.
Dunkle said the city has a year-to-year lease that starts in April and ends in March. With the blessing of the board, Dunkle said staff was ready to renew the lease.
“All we have to do to renew the lease is send in the notice, and we’re in the process of doing that,” he said.
Dunkle told the board the money for operating Big Driver has already been included in the budget for this year.
L.B. Eckelkamp Jr. and Bonnie J. Eckelkamp, own the land that Big Driver sits on. The lease agreement calls for the city to pay the Eckelkamps $1 per year.