New Softball Fields/Park Area

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by mbsticha, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. mbsticha

    mbsticha LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Our Township is exploring purchasing a small amount of land to put two softball fields and a small park (slides, swings, etc). Does anyone have a good website, or some key tips or thoughts we should be discussing in regards to the layout of the facility, storage facility needs, restrooms, or just the overall look and feel of what this complex should be? This is very, very early in the process, so I just want to discuss very general ideas and needs. Are there any problems you’ve encountered in the past that you would recommend we be on the lookout for? The thought is to allow 2-4 youth teams to use the facility, and the local Baseball Association will maintain the facility, while the Township would own the land. Those 2-4 youth teams currently use the adult baseball field for their games (temporary bases are used for the youth games currently). The adult field would be within about 100 yards of the new facility.
     
  2. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,901

    Explore public funding - such as DNR - requirements before making the decision to purchase. You may discover something that will help you after the purchase. Grants from local foundations are worth exploring too, but you’ll want to know what their criteria is before failing to provide for them because you didn’t look into it.

    The playground may need to be ADA compliant. That is an expensive and lengthy process. Our local township just finished a playground structure in a park it already owned and maintained at a cost of approximately $80,000 and more than a year to complete through its final state inspection.

    First, don't forget about parking - you need lots of it.

    Get the big picture stuff right from the beginning, it is expensive and difficult to fix later. Specifically: drainage. You will never be able to maintain it well with inadequate surface drainage. Soil amendments and grading, fencing and lighting for your fields, and irrigation are big costs. Even if you cannot afford them from day one, if your program is successful the day is coming when all of these will be needed.

    In terms of buildings or structures, think about dugouts, a tower behind home plate on each field (bottom floor can be used to store field equipment), restrooms (also ADA compliant), water fountains, hose bibs near each dugout, and eventual concession stand, and a building to house a mower and other field equipment.

    Get a long term written agreement with your township detailing their responsibilities and the baseball association's both. Anticipate growth and what will be needed or possible next.

    Spend some time researching grass varieties that do well in your area and do so during he time of year you anticipate using the new fields. NTEP lists are good places to start as well as competent lawnsite.com members who may be in your area. Wear and drought tolerance are two things I would screen for after establishing your minimum appearance potential requirements for different species and varieties.

    Slightly off topic: when you put together your board of directors, do not let anybody attend their first meeting without them knowing that day when the last meeting of their elected term is, whether 2, 3, or 4 years down the road. Perpetual boards get stale and difficult to work with in my opinion.
     
  3. RD 12

    RD 12 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    I would have to say Foreplease hits a lot of good points, parking is one part not to be overlooked and can not be expressed enough. In the area that I live in a lot Rec districts are building bigger and better fields but are not planning for the up keep and care of the new parks. I would do most of my home work by talking to other parks finding out what they would different if they could start over. One thing to remember is that you will probably get only bite at the apple (public funds) so make sure you plan for the future. The park I work for started with maybe 250 kids in the program, and now is over 600 in a span of 7years. We have a total of almost 18 acres which includes 1 football, 2 youth BB, 1 adult BB field, 1/2 mile walking trail, playground and gym. In the beginning I don't think the board thought we would be as big as we are and still growing. Big issues we have parking at certain events and storage for maintenance equipment, chairs, tables, sports equipment etc.
     
  4. LilesLawn

    LilesLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    A Sport Turf Consultant that has done that type of work before would well be worth the money. The way fields end up and how easy they are to maintain depends alot on installation. Make sure you have plenty of room or expansion. Multiuse fields that can be painted for footbal/soccer/and younger athletic sports do well because depending on amount of traffic, you can move the high traffic areas around which will help you maintain a healthy stand of turf.
     

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