More than a dozen people braved the ice storm Wednesday, Feb. 6, to hear the latest plans for Jaycee Park West, and most seemed pleased with what they heard.
Representatives from area sports organizations offered positive feedback on the “preferred concept plan” for the updated $4 million project, which passed the Park Board’s scrutiny and will go on to the Common Council for approval Feb. 18.
The new plan features two multi-use fields for sports like rugby, lacrosse and football, and adds four baseball/softball diamonds. Left off the latest version are the two full-size soccer/lacrosse fields that would have replaced Statz field; a baseball/softball field that would now remain.
Representatives from youth soccer, baseball, rugby, softball, ultimate frisbee and pickleball groups all said they supported the plan, with some pledging to do fundraising work to help achieve the project’s $500,000 goal.
Though Oregon Soccer Club would lose fields in the revised plan, club president Eric Anderson told the Observer last month his organization is “optimistic” about what he’d seen, and he said he thinks it represents a “longer-term solution” for the growing demands on village ballfields. The group is eyeing a 40-acre parcel in Anderson Farm County Park as its potential future home.
Planner Ross Rettler phoned in to the meeting to present the plans and describe the changes that had been made. He estimated the project cost at $2.7 million to $3.4 million, excluding things like pickleball court lighting.
Village administrator Mike Gracz estimated the costs of the concessions building, playground and pickleball lighting at roughly $385,000, $50,200 and $135,000, respectively, pushing the total close to $4 million.
The board accepted the plan unanimously with minor changes, including increasing the size of a baseball field to full-size to make up for one that had been replaced with a large multi-use field, which might necessitate moving an existing equipment shed.
The full-size field would be the only one of the four with a grass infield and raised pitching mound, Gracz said, meaning softball teams would be able to use the other three diamonds.
The village is planning to spend $1 million on the first phase of the project, which is expected to break ground in the spring. Previously, that phase had been estimated at $1.5 million, including $500,000 raised from the community. Gracz said Rettler will provide a cost schedule and more information about how the project will be phased if the Village Board approves the plan.
Gracz invited all stakeholders to a fundraising meeting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Village Hall to coordinate efforts and possibly plan a kickoff event
“Village staff and the Oregon Community Resource Network (OCRN) will assist the sports organizations with fundraising efforts,” Gracz wrote, “but it will be important for the organizations to be involved in helping to coordinate the fundraising efforts.”
The original design included four ball fields and eight soccer fields, along with two new parking lots, walking paths, three new pedestrian bridges and a concessions plaza on 25.3 acres.
The first phase had included two baseball fields, two soccer fields and also a temporary soccer field, a 77-stall parking lot and a new pedestrian bridge.
Gracz has said a major motivator for the project is alleviating downtown parking issues with the added parking on North Oak Street, which in the current plan would yield 154 more spots between two lots.