The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Mesa, AZ opens new multi-use fields at Fiesta Sports Park !

multi_sports_layout#5Fiesta Sports Park, 936 S. Extension Road, was the site of a grand opening ceremony Nov. 29.

“Youth sports fields are always in short supply,” Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Director Marc Heirshberg said in a press release. “When we were putting together the proposal for the Parks Bond Project, one of the main goals was to provide more fields for our community.”

Fiesta Sports Park includes four new ball fields for youth baseball and softball and a multi-use field with bleachers.  The youth ballfields are in a quad layout with Cubs-branded signage and scoreboard, centralized concession and restroom area.  The ball field lights are lit by LED sports lights, which use less energy and light spill from traditional lighting.  The 17-acre park also includes a new playground with shade covering and enlarged parking lot.

“When Powell Junior High School closed and the city took over the property, we knew we had an opportunity to turn it into something great,” Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh said in the release. “It was the perfect site for youth fields and now we have a fantastic new place for our kids to play. Thanks to the partnership between the City of Mesa, Mesa Public Schools, the Chicago Cubs and the Mesa HoHoKams, we are able to have this park for Mesa residents.”

The four ball fields are named after Cubs Hall of Fame players, Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. The Billy Williams championship field has a turf infield and brick backstop to mimic Wrigley Field and Sloan Park. The Chicago Cubs Charities and the Mesa Hohokam Foundation donated $100,000 to sponsor Fiesta Sports Park.

“We are proud to be a partner at Fiesta Sports Park,” Chicago Cubs Spring Training General Manager Justin Piper said in the release. “All of our players started out on a youth ballfield similar to the ones at this facility.  It’s where they developed a deep passion for the game and the joy of playing a team sport.  I’m sure we’ll see some rising stars at Fiesta Sports Park, in years to come.”

“Mesa HoHoKams have always been a strong supporter of youth athletics,” President of Mesa HoHoKams Ron Duranti said in the release. “It’s a privilege for us to give back to our community through this park.  We hope to see young lives be transformed and developed through sports.”

Fiesta Sports Park was designed by J2 Engineering and Environmental Design.  Constructed by D.L. Withers Construction. The total cost for this project was $4.3 Million funded by the 2012 Parks Bond Project.  Fiesta Sports Park is open from sunrise to 10 p.m. For more information, visit the Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities website at www.mesaaz.gov/parksrec

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Sports park in Marana, AZ faces uncertain future ?

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MARANA, AZPima County is trying to determine the future of one of its most popular parks, the Mike Jacob Sports Park at West Ina Road and Interstate 10 in Marana.

It’s been the home to adult league softball, volleyball and flag football games and tournaments since 1983, but according to a Pima County Parks and Recreation study, tournament participation peaked in 2011 and has declined since.

Still, the number of teams, according to the park operator, Championship Sports, LLC, is the highest its been in the seven years it has operated the facility. But signs of age abound as the facility has deteriorated from a lack of attention and financial investment.

The county report says there has been, “chronic infrastructure deterioration” and the “infrastructure has aged.”

“With high volume, there comes wear and tear,” said Lou Ciurca, the park’s operator. “There are things that have been purchased 20, 30 years ago, that need to be replaced.”

The county has suggested four options for the park of which three include a permanent or temporary shutdown.

One is a permanent shutdown, which the county feels is the least desirable.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry will recommend to the board at its Dec. 13 meeting that the county use money received from the state to upgrade the park. The county received $1 million from the state for a land purchase necessary for the Ina Road bridge construction.

He also wants to allow Championship Sports to continue operations on a month-to-month basis for six months until an RFP proposal can be used to find a permanent, single operator.

At present, there are two operators which split the duties for scheduling, concessions and fee collection while the county performs maintenance.

According to the county memo, the business model has “resulted in recurring conflict.”

The county would like to pare that down to one operator that would also be willing to invest in infrastructure improvements. But complicating that, is the Ina Road bridge project which is scheduled to last another year and a half to two years.

Entrance to the park is already limited because of construction but Ciurca says he’s seen no drop-off in people using the park.

“The community has been great,” he said. “Our numbers are at an all-time high.”

The other options require the park to close for a period of time while improvements are made.

Still a fourth option is to allow Championship Sports continue operations, which it says it’s entitled to do.

“The courts say we have four more one-year options,” Ciurca said. That would take it up to 2020.

But he said he’s hoping the sides can work out an agreement “that’s in everyone’s best interest.”

“We’re trying to find some solutions and viable options to keep the park open,” he said.

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New $9.7M Sports Park Wows Residents !

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Kevin Cain stood on the second-story observation deck during the opening day celebration for Rosetta Canyon Sports Park on Nov. 4 and took a look around.

“This is phenomenal. It’s beautiful,” the Rosetta Canyon resident said. “I knew it would be a wonderful park. I didn’t expect to have my breath taken away.”

Cain was one of several hundred people who showed up at the city-sponsored event to get a first look at the 21-acre park, which was scheduled to open to the public last weekend. The park features five tournament fields geared toward softball and youth baseball – all with synthetic turf, a rarity for baseball-softball fields in the region.

The ballfields, complete with lights, are arranged in a circle around the observation deck, which is built above the concession stand to allow coaches, scouts and fans to view multiple games.

“I’m a huge baseball fan, so to be able to stand in one spot and see four games going on is wonderful,” Cain said.

In addition, the park has a full-sized football and soccer field with synthetic turf.

Cain was elated to see the facilities appeared to meet Americans with Disability Act standards.

“I have a daughter in a wheelchair, and everything looks accessible,” he said.

Also taking in the view were several Temescal Canyon High School students, including Russell Carrillo, who was more excited about the soccer field.

“I think this is amazing,” said the junior. “So far, I’m impressed. … I like the new football-soccer field with synthetic turf and that we actually have a soccer field now.”

Though the sports facility is new, it was built on an existing park site that was only partially completed. Eight acres of the 22-acre site were constructed as a park, and the rest remained vacant.

“Before, you felt like you were in the middle of nowhere,” said Carrillo’s friend, Steven Rico, also a Temescal Canyon junior. “Now it feels like you’re not in Lake Elsinore. It feels like you’re somewhere else.”

When city officials planned the expansion, they decided to strive for a venue a cut above typical parks with athletic fields.

The $9.7 million park was designed to standards that will attract regional and national tournaments. Already, City Manager Grant Yates said, the city has struck verbal agreements with tournament organizers to stage events.

Much of the inspiration came from the city’s finance director, Jason Simpson, who is heavily involved in the softball community. According to Lakeside High School Athletic Director David Drake, whose daughter plays on a fast-pitch travel team, the design is ideal and similar to state-of-the-art parks in Orange County.

“For me as a travel team parent, this is awesome,” he said. “We don’t have to travel anymore because we have this right here. … For the high school, we are talking about hosting high school tournaments here.”

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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Field Tips ! (Nov.)

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Nov. 14, 2016       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP
So much of a baseball or softball game involves the one-on-one battle between pitcher and batter. Every pitch of every game involves the mound and home plate area. Consequently, no areas on a ballfield see more wear. From the first pitch to the last out, players look for firm, stable footing in the mound landing area, the batter’s boxes, and catcher’s box areas. If daily maintenance of the mound and home plate areas is followed, your field will likely satisfy most players who use your fields.

Check out the “Mound & Home Plate Care” module at Groundskeeper U to learn proper maintenance of mound & home plate areas.

Remember to visit Ballfields.com for tips & articles and GroundskeeperU.com for online training.

ProCord Sting Winder 10% OFF
Straight field lines can be a real challenge — unless you’re using our Pro Cord String Winder. It’s strong, but still stretchy enough to really snap a straight line.. Exclusive Pro Cord String Winder: use cord10 during checkout (offer valid thru Nov. 20).

Porous Rubber Batter’s Box Mats 10% OFF
Porous batter’s box mats that are safe to use with plastic, rubber or metal spikes. Also, buy five mats and you’ll save an additional $100! Exclusive Porous Rubber Batter’s Box Mats: use porous10 during checkout (offer valid thru Nov. 20).

FEATURED OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK
18oz Heavyweight Area Tarps. SAVE up to $39!  —  These standard hem mound tarps are a fantastic deal… returned due to wrong color.  Brand-new condition. Very limited quantities!  18oz Heavyweight Area Tarps
 
Visit the NEW GROUNDSKEEPER U !
COMPLETELY FREE & MOBILE FRIENDLY. We’ve relaunched the web’s premier online field maintenance training tool, Groundskeeper University. Our goal is to bring professional training directly to you and your staff. But that means it has to be done right. Learn the tried & true practices of the pros. Our dedicated online resources by groundskeepers for groundskeepers are available in whichever format works for you: blog articles, online field dimensions, innovative products and training at Groundskeeper U. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. Visit Groundskeeper U !

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Lake Wylie voters say let’s play ball, vote yes for recreation tax district !

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LAKE WYLIE, SC – It wasn’t a landslide, but Lake Wylie residents voted decisively to start a new recreation tax aimed at bringing a sports park to the area.

With all 11 precincts reporting Tuesday night, votes for the new tax led by almost 1,846 ballots. The approval rate reached 58 percent. All results are unofficial until certified by the county.

The special recreation tax district is a critical step in funding a new sports park in Lake Wylie. Tuesday’s vote should create enough revenue to fund an up to $7 million capital investment for a sports complex on county owned land along Crowders Creek. It would provide operations money for the park, too. By initiating the recreation tax, park planners guaranteed another $2.45 million in county hospitality tax money toward the project.

Voters were mixed at the polls with some saying they voted no because of a tax increase, while others said the area needs it.

“It could be a great place for gathering and joining the community together,” said Holly Armstrong, 35, of Lake Wylie who home-schools her three children ages 7, 9 and 11 said at Bethel precinct. “There are not enough parks for all the children here.”

Julia Cienfuegos, 36, of Clover agreed a park is needed in the Lake Wylie area. She has children in Lake Wylie Athletic Association sports.

“This would mean families don’t have to drive so far for games,” she said. “And it would be nice to see that space used for a park instead of more houses and development.”

Plans for the 50 acres, plus 18 nearby, at 5668 Charlotte Highway include three baseball/softball fields and three multipurpose fields mainly for soccer, lacrosse and football, tennis and basketball courts, an 18-hole disc golf course, playground, picnic shelter, walking trails, a dog park and more.

The land, 68 acres, was donated to York County in 2007, spurring plans for a park. Five past and present York County Council members representing Dist. 2 have supported the efforts of residents who have worked voluntarily to bring the park to fruition.

The tax district will be charged only in the Lake Wylie area where voters approved it. The county hospitality tax money, separate from the new recreation tax but allocated with the condition of residents taxing themselves, comes from a 2 percent charge on food and drink in unincorporated areas.

The recreation tax cost to taxpayers would be $20 per $100,000 in value for homeowners, and $30 per $100,000 for businesses and rentals, planners say.

Concessions, park signage, pavers and other fundraisers are to be escrowed for future field refurbishment and other needs, according to Lake Wylie Sportsplex committee members.

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Field Tips ! (Nov.)

Qualite
Nov. 7, 2016       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP
When you’re nail dragging your infield skin, make sure you stay away from the turf edge and remember to corner slowly.

It’s also important to stay at least 6″ away from from the turf edge. Dragging too close with your tractor can push material unnecessarily into the turf edge, creating a lip. The same is true for cornering too fast with your tractor — you’ll have less control and more material will be tossed into the turf edge forming a lip over time.

For more information about scarifying your infield, checkout the Scarifying the Infield Skin lesson at GroundskeeperU.com. Or, click here to watch a video demonstration of nail dragging.

Remember to visit Ballfields.com for tips & articles and GroundskeeperU.com for online training.

X-Drag Hand Nail Drag 10% OFF
The best scarifying tool. Ideal for working the baselines, cutouts and home plate areas. Exclusive Beacon X-Drag Hand Nail Drag (only): use x10 during checkout (offer valid thru Nov. 13).

Duo Broom 10% OFF
Great general purpose broom, ideal for concrete floors. Combination of soft outside bristles with stiff inside bristles. 60″ ergonomic aluminum handle. Exclusive Duo Broom: use db10 during checkout (offer valid thru Nov. 13).
 
FEATURED OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK
Steel Mat Drag (no leveling bar). SAVE $95!  —  Perfect for grooming your field — a 5′ x 3′ steel mat drag (leveling bar not included). Used condition. Very limited quantities!  Steel Mat Drag (no leveling bar)

Visit the NEW GROUNDSKEEPER U !
COMPLETELY FREE & MOBILE FRIENDLY. We’ve relaunched the web’s premier online field maintenance training tool, Groundskeeper University. Our goal is to bring professional training directly to you and your staff. But that means it has to be done right. Learn the tried & true practices of the pros. Our dedicated online resources by groundskeepers for groundskeepers are available in whichever format works for you: blog articles, online field dimensions, innovative products and training at Groundskeeper U. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon.

Visit Groundskeeper U !

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
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Elevator issues at El Paso County Sportspark ?

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EL PASO, Texas – The long-suffering El Paso County Sportspark finally opened earlier this year after lengthy delays from contractor disputes and more. But now there may be problems with a particular important part of the facility.

An ABC-7 viewer wishing to remain anonymous wrote to us with this concern:

“I was wondering if you could get some answers for some issues here at the County Sportspark. My family would like to come see my boys play, but refuse to attend (due to) the fact that the elevator has been out of service for the past 3 months. They have no access for handicapped / wheelchairs to view the game on the top level or even to buy food from the restaurant. Management here has been saying that a part to remedy the problem is on backorder. So if you could maybe make some calls I would appreciate it.”

The Sportspark has been re-opened for about six months now, after finally completing all of the improvements and renovations like the big central clubhouse structure with the restaurant and pro shop in the middle of the four fields closest to the entrance. And commissioners say that there have been some issues that they have been hearing about with some of the improvements.

“It’s happened more than once,” said Commissioner Carlos Leon (D). “So something must be wearing out. Or something’s just not working the way it should be. But the main thing again is the county needs to be more vigilant.”

Leon represents Precinct 1 where the Sportspark is located, and has been a big supporter of the project. Leon said the elevator is under warranty, and has been fixed at least once before, but there might need to be more of a focus on keeping it in good working order

“I know there was one instance where a lady had a kid, a little baby in a stroller,” Leon said. “The elevator was broken. Someone had to help her up the stairs to the upstairs. So I understand the frustration, and as soon as we get finished here, I’m going to find out why that elevator hasn’t been fixed. It was fixed, then it came back down, so there is some issue with it.”

ABC-7 followed up with Leon after first bringing up the concerns. He said that there were repairs going on now, but that in the long run he’s looking at better signage to let people know what the elevator is for and to prevent misuse.

“A lot of people will let their kids play on it,” Leon said. “And it’s specifically made for ADA.”

The Sportspark re-opened in April of this year after about 4 years of delays and contractor issues holding it back.

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ASA/USA Softball Complex Of The Year 2016 !

Multi_sports_complex_1November 1, 2016

Armstrong Park in New Jersey wins the 2016 ASA/USA Softball Complex of the Year presented by Stabilizer Solutions !

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — A history of hosting top-notch New Jersey ASA/USA Softball events has helped land Armstrong Park in Ewing, N.J. the 2016 Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball Complex of the Year presented by Stabilizer Solutions, Inc.  Armstrong Park, operated by the Township of Ewing Recreation Department, will receive their award at the 85th ASA/USA Softball Annual Council Meeting in Shreveport, La. and will also receive approximately $2,000 in field maintenance products from Stabilizer Solutions.

“Congrats to Armstrong Park on winning the 2016 Complex of the Year award,” said ASA/USA Softball Director of Championships Chris Sebren.  “The Township of Ewing does a fantastic job of maintaining this elite facility and the hard work they put into the fields shows.  Whether hosting a grassroots event, weekly leagues or a National Team tour stop, Armstrong Park offers its players, fans and umpires top-notch facilities and amenities.”

Previous award winners include Tyger River Park (Spartanburg, S.C.) in 2015, Arrowhead Park (Broken Arrow, Okla.) in 2014, Charlie McVay Complex (Roswell, N.M.) in 2013, the Botetourt Sports Complex (Botetourt County, Va.) in 2012, the James I. Moyer Sports Complex (Salem, Va.) in 2011, Veterans Park and Athletic Complex (College Station, Texas) in 2010, Heritage Park Softball Complex (St. Joseph, Mo.) in 2009, Twin Creeks Softball Complex (Woodstock, Ga.) in 2008 and Freedom Ridge Park Complex (Ridgeland, Miss.) in 2007. The Field of Dreams Complex (Las Cruces, N.M.) won the inaugural 2006 award.
 
Named after former seven-term Ewing Mayor C. Wesley Armstrong, Armstrong Park is home to three youth and two adult softball fields while also housing a t-ball field.  With amenities such as bullpens for pitchers and catchers to warm up, outdoor batting cages and a press box for game day operations, Armstrong Park hosts a variety of events annually.  In 2015, the USA Softball Women’s National Team held a tour stop at the park, where a packed crowd of over 3,735 fans enjoyed a doubleheader as the U.S. faced off against the New Jersey All-Stars.

“Our association is honored to accept this award on behalf of Ewing Township,” said USA Softball of New Jersey Commissioner Mike Warner. “They have welcomed us with open arms and continue to support our ASA/USA Softball programs each year. In 2017 and in a joint effort with USA Softball of New Jersey, we have plans on expanding the park and adding additional fields for future use. It’s a very exciting time for our softball program in New Jersey and we owe a big part of that to the communities that show their overwhelming support.”  

In 2016, Armstrong Park was the site of the Region 2 Qualifier for the 2016 ASA/USA Softball 14-Under Class A and Class B National Championship.  Armstrong Park also hosted several elite youth fast pitch and adult slow pitch tournaments while also hosting the New Jersey Special Olympics Tournament in September.  In addition to tournament play, Armstrong Park also holds weekly men’s and co-ed slow pitch leagues.

About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than two million.  ASA/USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won 10 World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visit http://www.asausasoftball.com/.

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BEACON BALLFIELDS – Of Mice and Man !

Of Mice and Man  !

Oct 27, 2016 · Paul Zwaska

Qualite

mouse-paul
So your season is over and you are shutting down your fields and complex for the year. Don’t forget about your netting!

Many of you have net backstops, barrier netting to protect critical areas, batting cages and soft toss station netting, football, soccer and lacrosse end zone netting. If possible, retracting the netting for the off-season removes the stress from the poles and prevents inclement weather from damaging your nets. But just as dangerous in the late fall and winter is the possibility of mice and rabbits using pieces of your net for building their winter nests. Yes, it is time for that annual battle of mice and man.

There are several ways to help protect your nets from rodents during the offseason. If you remove the nets entirely from your system’s support structure, then purchase large enough hard plastic storage containers to fold and stow the nets in. Be sure these containers have tightly sealing lids so the little intruders can’t flip the top open just enough to enter. Don’t use cardboard boxes as these are easily breached by the rodents unless, of course, you have an aggressive pest control program in and around the area you store them.

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We have backstop nets at our little league facility that are mounted on top of a 10′ high chain link fence. When we lower those 15′ to 20′ high nets for the winter, we bundle and bungee those nets right on the top of the 10′ high chain link as you see in this picture. It is easier than fully dismantling the net system and when stowed on top, it is away from all rodents. In ten years we have yet to have any rodent damage to these nets.

For those who have netting systems that run to the ground but do not retract or can’t be removed from the structure, it would be wise to disconnect the net at the base and raise it up 3′ to 4′ to get it out of the reach of mice and rabbits. In fact, Beacon’s engineer and netting design experts never recommend constructing netting systems that come all the way to the ground. They strongly urge customers to keep their nets several feet off the ground out of reach of those chewing furry creatures. If they must go to the ground like barrier nets for soccer, football and lacrosse, make sure the nets are removable so they can be taken off after a game or practice. Or, make them hoistable so they can be raised from the bottom up several feet off the ground when not in use.

mouse-control

As stated earlier, as a second layer of defense use rodent control bait stations both outside and inside your storage rooms where the nets are stored during the offseason. The more proactive you are at protecting your net investments, the more you decrease the threat of damage. Then, and only then, can we groundskeepers possibly declare victory over the mighty mouse.

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