The delayed opening of Edmond Softball Complex at Edmond 66 Park has become a frustration for members of the Edmond Adult Softball Association, said member Ryan Schroeder. He also has children and wants assurance that a safety cover will protect them from softballs.
“We have foul balls. We have home runs that are hit and go in the park,” Schroeder said.
The Edmond Adult Softball Association has more than 130 adult softball teams involving 1,500 players. Edmond Softball Complex at Edmond 66 Park is located a quarter mile east of Post Road and State Highway 66.
The city has agreed to install screening or cover options for the playground, said Craig Dishman, director of Edmond Parks and Recreation. Edmond-based Noah’s Park and Playgrounds will be supplying the playground.
City staff will be meeting this week with the leadership of the Edmond Adult Softball Association to discuss progress at Edmond 66 Park, Dishman said. The City of Edmond is having some issues with field lights and water wells.
The Edmond Rotary Club has worked for more than four years to raise nearly $50,000 in funds to construct a playground at the park. The city’s total cost for the playground is $250,000, excluding the covering.
“The issue with the lights is we didn’t make that part of the initial construction. We wanted to bid it afterwards,” Dishman said.
Contractors had issues about the possibility of damaging turf, landscaping and sidewalks with the big trucks needed to install the lights, Dishman said.
“That kind of put us behind a little bit,” Dishman said.
Scoreboards have been ordered for the complex, but the city wants the light poles to be installed first, Dishman said.
Nobody bid on installing the lights during the first bid letting. So far there have been no bids received from the second bid letting.
However, the new bid letting was sent out with changes in wording that states the city will be responsible for any damages incurred by light installation. A staff person will be at the park to advise the contracting team, Dishman said.
“I’m not for sure what that’s going to run us. It may be in the $400,000-$500,000 range,” Dishman said.
The city has agreed to install an artificial turf surface for the playground, Dishman said. But again, city staff is waiting to place the turf to avoid damage by trucks, Dishman said.
Dishman had hoped they could start playing in spring but the field lights delayed the project. The city anticipates the softball complex to open in time for the summer league. The spring season for the Edmond Adult Softball Association is already underway.
“We’re just as frustrated as everyone else,” Dishman said. “We want to show it off and get people out there.”
Construction began in September 2012 with an anticipated opening set in the late summer of 2013, Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said at the 2012 groundbreaking. Jacob Engineering was given a construction time of 270 days.
The city purchased the park property in 2007 for $1.5 million with money from the city’s 3/4-cent permanent sales tax approved by voters in December 2000 for capital improvements. The total project cost is estimated to be about $5.5 million to $6 million to fund four softball fields.
This money does not include covering the playground or the pole lights. The parks’ tax budget has $100,000 to apply to the playground turf.
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