The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Softball Tourney Begins in Evansville, IN !

softballEVANSVILLE, IN.  –
   Festivities have begun at Deaconess Sports Park in Evansville for the National Softball Association’s Girls’ Fast Pitch “B” World Series Tournament. The Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau says the week-long event, which features more than 225 teams from 15 states, is expected to bring $2.1 million to the local economy.

    The tournament is also taking place at Vann Park in Newburgh and the Owensboro Softball Complex and Panther Creek Park in Owensboro Kentucky. It is the largest sporting event being held in the region with more than 8,500 visitors expected, according to the ECVB.

The $16.5 million Deaconess Sports Park opened in May 2015.

   “We couldn’t be more delighted with our investment in Deaconess Sports Park,” said ECVB Executive Director Bob Warren. “The NSA World Series with over 220 teams and 8,500 players, friends, and family is the perfect example of how projects like ours can benefit the growth and development of the tourism industry for Evansville and Vanderburgh County. Our region will be putting our best foot forward to ensure the success of this event.”

The tournament runs from Monday through July 24. It features players ranging in age from eight to 18 years-old. Field Day activities will take place Monday at Deaconess Sports Park, followed by a parade and an official opening ceremony. Games begin at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday through Friday with the championship games on Friday or Saturday.

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Beacon’s EXCLUSIVE Weekly Ballfields Tips ! (July)

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July 18, 2016        |        BeaconAthletics.com         |        Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

The football and fall soccer seasons are right around the corner. That means “the painting season” is also about to begin! Have you gone through your painting equipment with a fine-toothed comb to prepare it for the abusive painting season ahead? For those who perform a heavy amount of painting during fall sports, it’s wise to replace all filters and nozzles before the season begins. Also don’t forget to perform your normal preventative engine maintenance for painting machines that use gasoline engines to power the pump. If your paint machines work on battery, check it’s health now and if the strength of the battery is waning it would be best to have another battery on hand for when the battery in service poops out. Finally, perform a dry run with water (or paint if you like) to be sure your painting machine is operating properly. Have you ordered your paint yet? How about new field stencils? These often take at least a couple weeks to fabricate if you need a custom logo. Bottom line: Be prepared! Visit Ballfields.com for more tips and the groundskeeper’s podcast…

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Bozeman Commission approves the plans for northwest sports park !

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BOZEMAN, Mont. – An 80-acre empty field off Flanders Mill Road in northwest Bozeman will be the site of the future Bozeman Sports Park soon.

    The Bozeman City Commission approved the master plan in a 5-0 vote Monday night.

    There will be 14 multipurpose sports fields, a central park plaza area and a 2-acre off-leash dog park course. It will also include parking for up to 700 vehicles, along with interconnecting trails and access points.

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    The dog park planned will be similar to the one being built near the Bozeman Pond park.

    “We know that teams will be coming for tournaments, and when they come they often bring the family, they often bring the dogs,” said Terry Cunningham, the executive director of the group Run Dog Run. “Having a safe and secure area for dogs to recreate where they’re not fouling up the field or interrupting the games is a real plus for everybody.”

    About $7.5 million is budgeted toward the project. It is worth noting that the Bozeman school district is planning to build a second high school near the sports park.

    With all the plans in place Cunningham says he cannot wait.

    “The west side of town is the fastest growing side of town,” he said. “We know that the lot sizes tend to be a little smaller, so area dog owners really need open spaces to be able to let their dogs off-leash, to play, to socialize and to recreate.”

    Phase one of construction is scheduled to begin this fall with fields becoming available for use in spring 2018.

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Beacon’s EXCLUSIVE Weekly Ballfields Tips !

July 11, 2016        |        BeaconAthletics.com         |        Ballfields.com

Multi_sports_complex_1THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP
It’s time for the MLB All-Star Break and baseball players who aren’t involved in the game are getting a few days off from the grind of the season… Are you? No matter what level of sports turf management that you are involved in, the growing season is your busiest time of year often involving large amounts of overtime hours and many consecutive days of work with little time for rest. But nothing is more important than making sure you AND your crew is periodically rewarded with some time off. It’s even more important for those of you who have a family that rarely sees you during this time of year.

Take yourself and the family boating or fishing, visit the many fairs and community events in your area, connect with nature and do some mountain biking or hiking and camping. Or hang around the house, have a family picnic and stay cool in the air conditioning. It is so critical find time to decompress and connect with those who miss you the most during this busy time of year. Visit Ballfields.com for more tips and the groundskeeper’s podcast…

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Big Chill in the Ville draws crowd !

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA. — As children slid down a 50-foot ice luge, West Feliciana Parish President Kevin Couhig surveyed the crowd of about 3,000 people at the West Feliciana Sports Park for the first Big Chill in the Ville festival.

“This has certainly exceeded my expectations in every aspect,” said Couhig, the driving force behind the festival. “What’s better than to see all of these people, all ages, shapes and sizes and ethnic backgrounds coming together for some family fun and music? It’s a tremendous community event that shows everything that’s good about our parish.”

   Residents from south Louisiana and southern Mississippi attended the first festival of its type at the sports park.

Couhig said the event, which had a budget of $51,000, raised at least $20,000 through sponsorships. In addition, he said beer sales and other food and beverage vendors will contribute significantly to help defray the cost.

“This exceeded what we expected financially, and we attracted people like (Baton Rouge Area Chamber President) Adam Knapp and his family to see what we have here in West Feliciana,” Couhig said. “Even if we make a profit, that’s not the point. The point is getting the community together and celebrating the nation’s birthday today.”

He said there were some lessons to learn from the event, such as managing the traffic flow.

  “This crowd is three times what we expected,” Couhig said. “We’ll be better prepared to handle it. But I have to say we have the best parks and recreation staff around. We couldn’t do it without them working so hard.”

There were a number of attractions for the attendees, including the 50-foot ice luge, water balloon battles, a rock climbing wall, a photo booth and plenty of food. Sno-balls were a big hit as the afternoon temperature was in the mid-90s. Besides music by opening act Boogie Long & The Blues Revolution and headliner Phat Hat, the crowd was treated to a fireworks display to end the evening.

“I love it, everything is real nice,” said David Cage Young, of Woodville, Mississippi, who drove his motorcycle to the event with fellow member of the Wild Hogs club, Clarence Brown. “Yes indeed, I’ll come back, and we’ll bring my buddies in my club with us. They had to work today, but we’ll make sure they’re off next time.”

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Albany, NY / Dougherty recreation complex in ‘conceptual’ stage !

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ALBANY, NYIn her year as Albany’s city manager, Sharon Subadan has made it clear that part of her agenda is to push long-stalled projects forward.

   That alone is reason for optimism among sports enthusiasts in the community.

   Subadan confirmed this week that city officials have started looking at a “preliminary conceptual” plan that would bring a long-delayed, multimillion-dollar, SPLOST-funded sports park to the city. And, she said, it’s very likely that such a facility would be built on land the city owns adjacent to the Paul Eames Sports Complex just off the U.S. Highway 19 Bypass in the northeastern part of the county.

   “It’s still in the conceptional phase, but, yes, we’re definitely looking at moving this project forward,” Subadan said of building a sports complex that city and Dougherty County voters approved as part of the SPLOST VI referendum in 2010. “And, yes, we’re looking at Paul Eames as a possible site for the complex. It’s easily accessible, and it just makes sense to develop assets that the city already has.”

   City officials are talking with their county counterparts about the proposed park to see if there is continued interest in leveraging funding to make the facility an even more all-encompassing one. The city reportedly has some $2.9 million in SPLOST funding earmarked for construction of a sports/recreation complex. The county has some $1.9 million in special tax funds set aside for construction of a tennis complex.

   Both projects were approved as part of referenda that set aside portions of the city/county 1 percent tax collections for specific projects.

   Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis, during a discussion of the county’s SPLOST proposals for Fiscal Year 2017, mentioned ongoing discussions of the proposed sports park with the city. He told county commissioners they would, if that board and the City Commission agreed, utilize their SPLOST funding to complete the tennis complex that had been on the books for more than a decade.

   Subadan acknowledged that those discussions had been fruitful, setting the stage for what could be a significant complex that would tie in with the baseball diamonds at the Paul Eames complex.

   “We have to be realistic,” the Albany city manager said. “We don’t have the funding to build a sports park from scratch. But with the facilities already in place (at Paul Eames), our funding and the county’s tennis funding, we would definitely be able to build a nice facility on that land.

   “Obviously, cost is going to be one of the crucial factors. We’re starting to develop a plan now, and once we get a plan in place, we’ll start looking at pricing. Then we’ll see how we can maximize the funding that’s available.”

   Under then-interim City Manager Tom Berry, interim Downtown Manager Sharlene Cannon authorized through the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority conceptual design for a sports park as part of a redevelopment plan for Albany’s downtown. Consultants recommended tearing down the Albany Civic Center and using the land that was formerly the site of the First Tee golf facility behind the Civic Center to build a state-of-the-art complex.

   That plan caused a stir in the community among those who opposed demolition of the Civic Center.

   Under Subadan, the city’s Recreation and Parks department, headed by Rec and Parks Director Joel Holmes, has eschewed talk of demo-ing the almost-40-year-old facility, choosing instead to fund events at the arena. Holmes told the City Commission at a recent work session that some 116 events had been held at the Civic Center during FY 2016, attracting some 96,881 attendees.

   “We’ve had quite a few people attend events at the Civic Center, much more than most people would think,” Subadan said. “But we have to get more events to make it a viable quality-of-life facility. I think we’ll be able to do that as redevelopment really starts up downtown and people get used to coming to events in the Central Business District again.”

   Subadan did not offer specific plans for the proposed sports park, but upgrades of Eames’ baseball diamonds, soccer pitches, walking trails and kids playground equipment have been mentioned by various city officials. The proposed tennis center, Crowdis noted, would include restrooms and some sort of all-purpose building, as well as lighting for a possible 10-court complex.

   The city manager, meanwhile, said she plans to escalate talks about the project in the very near future.

   “We’re getting a plan ready,” she said. “It hasn’t reached the level where we’ve put it on the commission’s radar, but we will soon. I expect we’ll get this proposal before them for initial discussions as early as July. This is a project I think our citizens would like to see move forward.”

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Bye bye, ball glove: Aurora Sports Park sculpture eyed for removal over hefty maintenance costs !

The deaccession marks an unprecedented move in Aurora, according to Roberta Bloom, public art coordinator for the city. She said that this will be the first time the city will have nixed a creation from its public collection.

The “Glove Bench” in Aurora Sports Park.

AURORA, CO. – No amount of patching, primping or paint has been enough to save a decaying baseball glove in the Aurora Sports Park.

   A roughly 6-foot-long concrete sculpture of a baseball glove, originally cast by artist Rik Sargent, is in the process of being deaccessioned by the Aurora City Council and the city’s Art in Public Places Commission due to excessive maintenance fees, according to city documents.
Glove_Bench   The city has spent a total of $13,192, or about $1,000 a year, in attempts to maintain the so-called “Glove Bench” since it was installed at Aurora Sports Park in 2002, according to an April 7 memo sent from Tracy Young, manager of the city’s Parks Department. The piece, which was installed by Sargent for a fee of $38,500, began deteriorating about a year after it was created in June 2003, according to Young’s memo. Maintenance attempts have included repairing cracks in the concrete, power-washing, and unclogging a drain. The most expensive attempt at fixing the piece came in 2008, when the city contracted a firm called Concrete Doctor to power-wash and sandblast the glove, as well as resurface it, for $4,800.

   The “Glove Bench” in Aurora Sports Park.“It is impossible to keep the piece looking good,” Young wrote in her memo.

   Both Sargent and related city agencies agree that the time has come for the glove’s demise.

“The artist is in agreement that continued maintenance will not remedy the situation and the piece will continue to deteriorate,” according to minutes from the May 3 meeting of the city’s public relations, communications, tourism, libraries and citizen groups policy committee.

   However, the departure of the bench will be disappointing, according to Young.

“Precisely because it is such a popular piece, recorded in many team photographs over the years, the deterioration of the artwork is painfully apparent to everyone,” she wrote in her memo.

   The latest phase of ongoing renovations at the Sports Park were completed earlier this spring.

The deaccession marks an unprecedented move in Aurora, according to Roberta Bloom, public art coordinator for the city. She said that this will be the first time the city will have nixed a creation from its public collection.

   Bloom said that the glove will eventually be replaced by another piece of public art.

“There will be plans to replace it with another piece of art and to make whatever changes we need to make to make this piece successful,” she said.

   The AIPP Commission, Cultural Affairs Commission and Public Relations Policy Committee all signed off on deaccessioning the glove at their respective meetings earlier this spring. The item passed out of a recent council study session and council members are expected to hold a final vote on fate of the mitt at an upcoming meeting.

   Pending council approval, the dismantling of the glove won’t begin until teams have ceased using the nearby baseball fields for the season, according to Bloom.

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ASA/USA Softball announces organization rename and rebrand to USA Softball and unveils new logo !

USASoftball_Logo   OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America/USA Softball, the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the U.S., announced today their organizational rename and rebrand to USA Softball and new logo, which will be effective January 1, 2017.  As the sport of softball continually evolves, focusing on the USA Softball brand better reflects the legacy that ASA/USA Softball has established over its 80 years as the leader in the sport of softball.

“This is an exciting time for ASA/USA Softball as the rebrand to USA Softball reflects our vision for the growth of the sport,” said ASA/USA Softball President Warren Jones.  “For over 80 years, ASA/USA Softball has been the driving force behind the sport of softball, and this new logo truly embodies that character and legacy.  I encourage all of our members to embrace the change of rebranding our organization to USA Softball that the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors approved during its September, 2015 Board Meeting.  As the National Governing Body of Softball, USA Softball will continue to serve as the leader in the sport of softball while helping foster the passion and love for the game to all.”

When ASA/USA Softball entered the softball picture in 1933, the sport was in a state of confusion with no unified set of playing rules and no NGB to provide guidance and stability. ASA/USA Softball changed all that by adopting softball’s first universally accepted rules of play and by organizing consistent and fair competition across the nation.  Since its founding, ASA/USA Softball serves the softball community as the leader in certified equipment standards, coaching education and umpiring while providing the best-of-the best in softball at all levels.  Whether as a coach, athlete, umpire, administrator or fan, ASA/USA Softball provides the most exciting, level and competitive fields of play.

ASA/USA Softball has left an everlasting imprint on the sport, athletes and officials, creating many historic “firsts” for the game, including the first set of unified rules, the first standardized uniforms for officials, a Hall of Fame to honor those individuals who have left an impact upon our sport and fielding the first U.S. Olympic Softball team in 1996.  From this beginning, ASA/USA Softball has become one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations. In its long history, ASA/USA Softball has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 160,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.2 million.  That legacy will continue to live on through the USA Softball brand, providing a clearer identity of what USA Softball stands for, represents and embodies.

“The evolution of our brand to USA Softball showcases our organization to its fullest potential,” said ASA/USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress.  “Rebranding shows our members, teams, umpires, players and fans that we are continually evolving and furthering the softball community while connecting and unifying them under the USA Softball brand.  I’m excited for our fans, members and administrators to connect and identify with our new look and the USA Softball brand.”

In addition to rebranding, ASA/USA Softball has also unveiled a new redesigned logo, approved by the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors at its April 2016 board meeting, which will replace the ASA/USA Softball split logo throughout the transition to USA Softball.  The redesign contains several key elements of previous ASA/USA Softball logos, while clearly identifying the USA Softball brand as the organization evolves towards the future.  The home plate shape embodies the sport, while bold, block USA Softball lettering symbolizes USA Softball’s authority as the NGB.  Along with the redesigned prominent features of the logo, the stars and stripes pay homage to the U.S. flag and classic American iconography, connecting fans and members with the Team USA brand.  Several subtleties also lie within the new logo, as the three red stripes reference 1933, the year ASA/USA Softball was founded, and the stars represent the four territories of ASA/USA Softball.

   For more information on ASA/USA Softball, please visit www.ASAUSASoftball.com.       

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 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.2 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 nine 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/.

ASA_USA Softball
Codi Warren – Managing Director of Communications
Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball
2801 NE 50th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73111
405-425-3431 (O)
Visit Us Online: ASAUSASoftball.com

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** (ASA/USA Softball is a Professional

       and Founding Member Of SODA) **

New aqua park hopes to tap lake culture !

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Manitowoc’s Lake Michigan and Fond du Lac’s Lake Winnebago contribute to each community’s recreational habits. Residents are interested in water fun, but are often hesitant to step foot in their local lakes.

Blue green algae in Lake Winnebago and issues with E. coli in Lake Michigan keep many people out of the water, Larson said.

And yet lakeside culture beckons.

He counts on that, among other things, for success at Fondy Aqua Park.

People are “excited to come out and try it,” Schneider said.

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Hearing on Chesterfield’s planned water sports park pushed back again !

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WATERFORD PARK
The planned facility would include a man-made lake for water activities, a boardwalk with restaurants and retail, apartments, up to 300 town homes and an amphitheater.

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   Richmond, VA. – The Chesterfield County Planning Commission on Tuesday for a second time deferred a public hearing on a proposed water sports park in the western part of the county.

  “The applicant is preparing additional information that is needed to continue to work on the issue,” board member Gloria L. Freye of the Clover Hill District, where the park would be, said before the meeting.

   The Planning Commission unanimously approved a 60-day deferral, but the developers do not expect it to delay the facility’s opening planned for spring of 2018.

   The commission was to hear comments from county residents on the zoning permits for the $35 million Waterford Park, a 105-acre outdoor water sports facility off Genito Road near the Powhite Parkway and state Route 288.

   The hearing will be moved to the Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 16. A hearing on the same issue, set for Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, will be deferred as well.

   The project is being pushed by Richmond developer Brett Burkhart and business partner Derek Cha, founder of the Sweet Frog frozen yogurt chain. They say the park — which would include a man-made lake for water activities, a boardwalk with restaurants and retail, apartments, up to 300 town homes and an amphitheater — would create jobs and spur the local economy.

   Charlie Davis, president of the Brandermill Community Association Board of Directors, said that two weeks ago, his group had asked for Tuesday’s hearing to be rescheduled to allow for the proposed water park rezoning to be better vetted.

   “Brandermill has not opposed the project, because we know that that parcel of land will be developed by somebody. We just want to get it in the best shape for the community,” Davis said.

   At several community meetings, area residents, especially from Brandermill, had expressed concerns about congestion and noise. But Burkhart and Cha have vowed to keep the sound levels below 65 decibels and improve three intersections — and much of the road system in the area — to minimize the impact of increasing traffic.
 

  At the most recent community meeting Monday night, the developers were able to further address and ease many of the residents’ concerns, Davis said.
“They did a good job last night,” he said. “After we had asked for the deferral, they began to nibble on that.”
Burkhart said the meeting’s attendees “seemed satisfied” after hearing the developers’ updates.

   “We offered to do a noise study, kind of like a heat map. We have zero concerns that this is going to remain an issue,” Burkhart said.
Cha, who purchased the 105-acre property off Genito Road in 2013, teamed up with Burkhart last year to develop a water sports park modeled after the U.S. National Whitewater Center that opened 10 years ago in Charlotte, N.C.

   The Chesterfield site was part of a lot initially selected by the developer of SportsQuest for a $250 million athletic complex — until three years ago increasing debts and doubts about the facility’s future forced SportsQuest’s owner to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
  

   What’s left of the SportsQuest project are lighted athletic fields and concession and bathroom facilities that had been built east of Route 288 on what is now known as River City SportsPlex, owned by a creditor of SportsQuest.
Burkhart said Tuesday that he and his partner were not discouraged by the deferral of their zoning hearing.

   “It was a little bit of a setback, but everything is going to be better off. The last 30 days have brought a lot of awareness to the project, and we feel more confident now than before about its viability and feasibility,” Burkhart said.       

“We will continue to go ahead and do our site plan work as planned. Hopefully, we can stay on schedule for our opening goal.”

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