The Edmond Sun

May 20, 2014

Parks and Rec outlines future capital needs

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with correct information regarding future renovation plans for the David Bickham Softball Complex off Midwest Boulevard. The Sun regrets the erro and any inconvenience to our readers.

Edmond Parks and Recreation has listed eight future needs projects at a cost of $26.3 million, said Craig Dishman, director of Edmond Parks and Recreation.

The City of Edmond is in the beginning stages of examining long-term capital improvement needs. Implementing department projects would cost $143.6 million collectively and take a course of 15 years, City Manager Larry Stevens said at a recent city workshop.

No suggestions have been made concerning how to fund the projects. Funding costs are in current dollar amounts.

Completing Edmond 66 Park with four additional ball fields is the top priority of Park and Recreations, Dishman said. Eight fields would add a lot to the complex that is already identified as an American Softball Association site for future national tournaments, he said. The projected cost of the project is $5 million. Edmond 66 Park is expected to open in June with four ballfields initially.

Existing ball field renovations proposed for Hafer Park and Mitch Park come with a price tag of $10 million for aesthetic upgrades, synthetic turf, drainage improvements and parking expansion, Dishman said. Edmond All Sports Association uses both complexes for their league play.

“We’re losing tournament bids to other states or regional cities because their quality fields are better and newer,” Dishman said. “We’re also losing Edmond players to surrounding locations.”

The Bickham Softball Complex off Midwest Boulevard needs to be redesigned for better parking, restrooms, concessions stands and rectangular sport field play with synthetic turf, Dishman said. The softball complex would be suitable for playing youth football and Lacrosse, he said.

“Right now Lacrosse plays on the corner of Covell and Kelly, which is school property,” Dishman said. “And football plays on the outfields of baseball fields of Mitch Park, which is not good.”

Mayor Charles Lamb said there are significant floodplain areas located to the east of Interstate 35 that could be developed for playing sports. Edmond 66 Park was built on a floodplain area, Lamb said. Discussions include $2 million for developing additional community park land.

“I put practice sports fields in there because school districts are adding 500 school kids a year,” Dishman said. “They might not all live in Edmond but they’re using our surfaces and are playing in our leagues.”

In addition, Dishman noted that the local YMCA has added 11,000 new members since the February opening of Mitch Park YMCA. Membership is now at 21,000 between the two Edmond facilities. With the growth, there will be needs to add on to the facility at a cost of $5 million, Dishman said.

“One item that we’ve talked about is an outdoor aquatic facility,” he continued.

The National Parks and Recreation Association states a second aquatic facility is needed for cities with the population of Edmond. The outdoor facility could be added at the back of the building.

“Pelican Bay during summer is really full,” Dishman said.

Additional gymnasium space is already needed at the Mitch Park YMCA to accommodate interest for basketball, volleyball and little league games, Dishman said.

“I counted one time 75 people waiting to play basketball there,” he said.

One of the biggest threats to the KickingBird Golf Club is that it was built in 1971 with scant improvements made since then, said Brian Soerensen, PGA Head Golf Professional at KickingBird Golf Club.

“The city’s assets are deteriorating,” Soerensen said.

Upgrades to the golf course and club house need to occur within the next 10 years, Soerensen said.

The last renovation to the golf course’s irrigation system was done in the early 1990s. A good irrigation system is renovated every 10-15 years, Soerensen said. The current system is leaking. A new irrigation system would cost $1.6 million, he said.

Golf course renovations and reconstructing the greens would cost $1.2 million. Golfers prefer bentgrass greens for putting, said Soerensen, who wants to replace them. It becomes a customer service issue when considering how long golfers will put up with insufficient greens, he said.

“We are hoping to get 25 years out of our bentgrass greens that were constructed in 1995,” Soerensen said.

A new $6 million clubhouse for golf and tennis would allow for more professional and business services, Soerensen said.

“We would take down the pavilion, possibly, and hopefully be able to operate out of both our clubhouses until the new one is potentially built,” he said.

With KickingBird Golf Club being one of the highest points in Oklahoma County, Soerensen said a second story to the clubhouse would offer a spectacular view toward downtown Oklahoma City.