Park Board continues Ball Field discussion
At the May meeting of the Park Board, a representative of Vireo was on hand to present the feasibility study to go with the proposed Parks Master Plan for ball fields in Cameron.
According to the study the availability of the fields is limited due to School District needs, the numbers of practices has to be limited, when games begin practices are limited to weekend afternoons, the ball field at the Elks Lodge cannot accommodate the overflow, t-ball typically has to use the soccer complex, tournaments stretch out 7-8 days instead of 3-4, and there is no use available for competitive teams after April 1.
Vireo compared the ball fields size and availability to other communities in the area and the study, according to Vireo came out with the parks being deficient by one diamond. Currently the city has three diamonds with 50’ to 70’ base distances and 225’-275’ outfields and one diamond with 80’-90’ base distances and outfield distances of 250’-300’. The study also showed the school district is deficient by one diamond.
The comparative facilities assessment showed capacity issues are common throughout other communities as well as Cameron, six complexes have three or more fields that are skinned with no turf infields. Most of the other fields are lighted and have irrigation, they also have covered dugouts, concession stands, restrooms and scoreboards.
The proposed improvements to the city facilities, using the land behind Walmart – which in phase one would include earthwork and grading, utility improvements, roadwork and parking lot, two baseball fields, field lighting, concrete flatwork, site furnishings (trash containers, etc), landscaping, park signs and a 20% contingency – total $1,998,000.
Vireo had suggestions on how to raise the monies to cover the expenses of the new park,:including a ½ cent Economic Development Sales Tax which could bring in +/- $600,000 per year, making six million on a ten year sunset or creating a recreation district with a ¼ cent sales tax which would potentially bring in +/- $300,000 a year.
The Board thanked the representative from Vireo for his proposal and suggestions, but also expressed the opinion they did not believe they could get a sales tax passed. They will continue to explore other avenues for funding, including looking to partner with other organizations in the community.
Also addressed during the Park Board was maintenance of the pool. The pool is having some issues with losing water that park staff is attempting to address, but it will be a situation that needs careful attention and maintenance over the course of the summer. During the meeting, there was no certainty the pool would open on Memorial Day weekend. The pool did open, but the concerns about the stress on the pipes and joints and where water is being lost will have to monitored carefully over the summer.
The next meeting of the Cameron Park Board will be Thursday June 21.