The Edmond Parks and Recreation Department has big plans for two of its signature tournament spaces, the City Council heard this week.
The department is planning improvements to the A.C. Caplinger Ball Fields at Hafer Park and to the Service-Blake Soccer Complex on Danforth Road, Parks & Recreation Director Craig Dishman said at a City Council workshop on July 8. Those fields bring in tournaments from around the city, state and region.
“We’re really trying to bring all these fields up to tournament-quality. We want something our kids can play on and be proud of,” Dishman said.
The aim is to create fields that will appeal to both families and coaches, with larger sidewalks and more shade, concession, restrooms and parking, he said.
The department’s plan is to begin phased construction late this fall at Hafer and next spring or summer at the soccer fields, working around the soccer schedule.
Council member David Chapman asked, once improvements to the baseball and soccer fields are complete, how Edmond would compare to communities like Broken Arrow, Jenks or Frisco, Texas.
Dishman said the DFW suburbs are very competitive.
“I call it an arms race,” Chapman said.
“The challenge with competing with Texas is, not only do they get sales tax, they get property tax,” Dishman said. “Their facilities are pretty top-notch. They’re very competitive in the DFW area. The newest facility is always the best. So if Frisco has a great facility, then two years from now, Allen is going to build a better facility. And two years later Grapevine’s going to build a better facility.”
Dishman said for Edmond to compete with facilities in DFW would be very, very difficult.
“The newest complex is always the best,” he said. “What they’re doing in Oklahoma City with new facilities will take them up a notch. When ours is done, we’ll go up a notch. You’ll never stay at the top, but I think what we’re doing is going to meet our need quite a while.”
Dishman said a goal for both the soccer and baseball fields is to build practice fields, to keep practice off the game fields.
Parks & Rec also has extensive plans for Mitch Park, including adding rectangular, lighted, synthetic-turf fields for lacrosse, football and perhaps other sports.
“We want to get football off the outfields of the baseball and softball fields. We want those to be baseball and softball only,” he said.
The Mitch Park Master Plan also calls for a new, all-inclusive playground, expanded baseball and softball fields, updates to the Miracle League field and more parking. Those changes are years away and may change in the meantime, Dishman said.