The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

It’s winter fun for a good cause at Sports Park !

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Nighttime tubing is a big hit at the Amesbury Sports Park.

 AMESBURY, Mass. — The Amesbury Sports Park is offering discounts on snow tubing admissions for military personnel and people who support its weeklong food drive to help local families in need. The park boasts the steepest snow tubing hill in New England at its facility, located at 12 South Hunt Road.

“We’ve been working with Our Neighbors’ Table in Amesbury for six years now to help boost food donations in the winter. After the holidays pass, donations typically drop, so we do our best to keep the food rolling in all winter long,” said co-owner Kevin Jacques. “We are offering a $5 discount off a snow tubing admission for anyone who brings a nonperishable food item for the food pantry during New Hampshire school vacation week. Those donations make all the difference in the world for local families in need. We’ve found that families especially like to support the food drive as it teaches kids the importance of giving back to the community. “

Although only one canned food item per person is required to get the discount, Jacques says that many families bring in a whole shopping bag full of food. “People’s generosity is truly overwhelming at times,” said Jacques.

Donations are down this year, as the snow tubing park has had to close quite a few days due to weather issues. “The 50 degree temperatures and excessive rain in January weren’t exactly conducive to snow tubing, but our dedicated snow making team has been able to keep our main hill open and even open 2 more lanes,” said Jacques.

After a great response last year, the Amesbury Sports Park has once again decided to salute our Armed Forces (past and present) with free snow tubing during New Hampshire school vacation week (Feb. 24-28). Military personnel simply need to show their military ID to get a free snow tubing pass. In recognition of their families support, the Amesbury Sports Park is happy to extend a $5 discount to all dependents and guests of the service person paying in the same transaction. “Snow tubing is the perfect way for a family to get a little R&R and unwind,” said Jacques.

Hours: Thursdays and Friday, 3:30 to 9 p.m.,; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Extended hours holidays and school vacation weeks 10 a.m.-9 p.m. For more information, visitwww.amesburysportspark.net or call (978) 388-5788.

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Tips for Opening Your Ballfields This Spring !

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Spring is just around the corner! And like a kid in the backseat constantly asking, “Are we there yet?”, coaches are begging to get onto their baseball and softball fields as soon as the fields are snow-free. Winter, however, is likely to hang on here in the northern part of the country for a bit yet. In the northern and eastern half of the country, this winter’s near-record cold and snow have sent frost depths deeper than has been seen in a couple decades. What is a groundskeeper to do to get his or her fields dry and playable as quickly as possible?

HERE ARE SOME TIPS for those in the northern climate who are up against the calendar to get their fields going as quickly as possible …

• Wait till the field has lost all frost in the soil profile before attempting any work on the skin portion. If it’s too soft to walk on, you nor anyone else should be on it. The field may look bone dry in the early morning, but as the sun heats the surface the infield skin can become a quagmire as the frost in the ground prevents the free water on the surface from draining through. You’ll know when the frost is out of the ground as the infield skin portion will drain fairly quickly and begin to dry off on the surface in the afternoon sun and wind.

• Once it’s dry enough for equipment, roll the infield. If your field is in the northern part of the country where you get a decent depth of frost each year (3″ or more), Mother Nature’s freeze-thaw cycle has naturally aerated your soils and opened up a tremendous amount of pore space in the soil profile. This slows your infield skin from rapidly recovering after a rain event. By rolling the infield skin surface once it has dried enough to get equipment on it, you drastically reduce the pore space in the infield surface which seals the field back up so water will run off the field more efficiently.

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• Clean up any winter lip build-up. Fields without snow cover this past winter were at the mercy of the winds of winter. The strong winds can blow soil, drying agents and topdressing materials into the lips of the infield skin. These lips are natural dams impeding water from moving off your infield skin surface. Be sure to clean or edge out all lips to allow water to freely drain off the surface of the infield skin.

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• Make sure the surface of the skin is smooth and level.Fall is actually the best time to re-level your infield skin so there are no low spots in the skin which will collect water. This exercise best prepares your field(s) for rapid water removal in the spring. If it wasn’t regraded last fall, go out to the field right after a rain while there are still puddles on the infield skin and, using a rake, carve the outline of each puddle. When dry enough, nail drag the infield avoiding the low spots so you can find them, then use a level board to cut down the high spots and fill the low areas to help the water move off the infield more effectively.

• Keep some calcined clay drying agents around for those emergencies. But if the puddles are large or deep, then useBeacon Puddle Sponges or a Puddle Pump to remove excess water leaving just very shallow wet areas where drying agents can then work their magic.

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• Whatever you do, NEVER use brooms to sweep excess water off an infield. You will only be worsening the surface grade of the skin by sweeping more soil out thereby creating an even deeper hole for water to stand in. This will also build up the lips even worse creating a bigger dam along the edge.

These last few winters have been pretty tough ones in the eastern half of the country. They have delayed the onset of spring-like weather which has set many sports field managers back in opening their fields for the spring season. If the past few winters have taught us anything, it is to always put your ballfields to sleep in the fall ready to play. You’ll find it will make your spring prep much easier and you can get the coaching staff and their team out on the fields much quicker.

Source:

Beacon Athletics . . . . . . ( http://beaconathletics.com/ )
8233 Forsythia St., Suite 120
Middleton, WI 53562

Toll-Free Phone: 800-747-5985 / Fax: 608-836-0724

Email: info@beaconathletics.com

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Synthetic Turf to be placed in Murrieta Sports Park !

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  Murrieta, CA – Football and soccer players who play at Los Alamos Hills Sports Park in Murrieta, CA could be playing on the same turf as NFL players.

The current turf at the sports park will soon be removed from the football and soccer fields and replaced with synthetic fields.

Construction will be done by Sprinturf, whom have experience in placing synthetic turf in an NFL field, a Murrieta city requirement.

Why experience in an NFL field ?

“The NFL has valuable players and they’re going to look for a safe product, and they have the resources beyond what we have,” said Jim Holston, assistant city manager, who presented information to the council. “This helps to make sure [the bidders] have a valuable product.”

“That’s a pretty tall order to fill,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Harry Ramos.

Sprinturf was also the lowest responsible bidder in the amount of $959,000. Murrieta City Council approved construction to Sprinturf at their city meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4. There were nine bidders for the construction contract and they all had experience in placing turf in an NFL field.

Apart from having experience of placing synthetic turf in an NFL field, some of the requirements that bidders needed to demonstrate were experience in various sizes of fields. This includes high school and college fields.

The synthetic turf will help to reduce maintenance and save water, according to Holston. It will also be playable year-round without having to be watered.

“This project has some cost savings that you’ll recognize at the end of the day, but we won’t know until we finish it,” he said.

Holston and his staff came to the council a year ago and the project was once approved by the council but they had a “technical error” and had to reject all bids.

He said they’ve now worked through the process.

Holston and his staff will return to the council in March with more information on this project.

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Prospect Meadows Launches Campaign to Build New Ball Fields Complex !

 
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Nonprofit Kicks Off Campaign Public Phase with $2.6 Million Raised to Date . . . .

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—The Corridor will soon see more development and visitors to the area with the addition of Prospect Meadows Ball Fields.

Prospect Meadows kicked off the public phase of its capital campaign today, announcing that private donations of $2.6 million have helped push the capital campaign past the halfway mark toward its $4.2 million goal.

“This project will be a huge step for our community. It has been amazing to see everyone come to together to help support our youth and create a space that has tremendous economic impact for our area,” said Jack Roeder, president of Prospect Meadows Inc. “We appreciate every gift we have received already and cannot thank donors enough for their commitment to our community.”

The 17-field complex is expected to be completed in 2016, with one ball field featuring a   “Miracle Field” for persons with disabilities. Additional amenities at the complex include a recreational lake, a walking trail, gardens, play areas and ample parking and seating.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors has been instrumental in supporting the project. Prospect Meadows will be built northeast of Marion, Iowa, on a 128-acre parcel of land that is currently owned by Linn County. The county has agreed to lease the land to Prospect Meadows for $1 a year for 95 years. The other $5.2 million of the $9.4 million project will also be sought from public support, as well as loans.

One of the project’s earliest supporters was Cedar Rapids-based Perfect Game USA, the world’s largest baseball scouting service. This partnership will increase the number of teams, players and scouts brought to the area.

The facility fills a void in the community, offering a place for local young people and those across the country, to develop their athletic abilities, as well as their social skills, in a friendly environment. With more than 500 local youth currently trying to play on 50 fields, this new venue will offer space for more young people to become involved with the sport.

“We want every child to be able to be involved in baseball or softball, and Prospect Meadows will create the welcoming environment that youth, parents and fans need,” said Tim Strellner, Prospect Meadows capital campaign co-chair.

Prospect Meadows’ Miracle Field provides disabled youth a safe and fun environment to play baseball. The field is designed to be wheelchair accessible and cushioned to prevent injuries, and is specially equipped to allow those with visual impairments to play. Currently, the nearest Miracle Field is in Des Moines.

Prospect Meadows will not only impact youth, it will also have far-reaching effects on the economy and tourism in the greater Cedar Rapids area. With the complex located in the Midwest, it will be an ideal, central destination for tournaments and events. Prospect Meadows hopes to attract commercial builders in the area to enhance the experience of those visiting. An estimated 60,000 out-of-the-area visitors are expected to come to the area to use the new venue for games each year, with an expected total of more than 120,000 people visiting Prospect Meadows annually.

“Prospect Meadows will be a great asset to the community. Not only does it give youth a place to call their own, it also opens the doors to economic development and prosperity in the area. This world-class tournament location will be a destination for ball players and fans across the nation,” said Roeder.

The area will see immediate benefits from the new ball fields. Prospect Meadows will create 200 full- and part-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $500,000. New commercial developers to the area will have a large population from which to recruit new employees. Not only will this endeavor bring new jobs to the area, it will also create $25 million in direct spending each year.

The campaign kickoff marked the public phase of the campaign and Roeder encouraged people to consider creative ways to give to the project.

“To help build the new facility, the capital campaign has established a variety of ways for people to give,” said Dick Meisterling, Prospect Meadows capital campaign co-chair. “Gifts can be made in cash or securities, bequests, life insurance, real estate, grain or personal property.”

“We are very thankful for the support that we have already received from the community. We hope that this excitement about the project will motivate others to help load the bases,” said Meisterling.

For more information on Prospect Meadows Ball Fields, visit www.ProspectMeadows.com or contact Prospect Meadows at 319-393-1684

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Medford sports park expansion awaits vote !

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Medfrod, OR – A$6 million expansion of U.S. Cellular Community Park to add three new ballfields could get under way by April if the Medford City Council on Thursday awards a contract to Batzer Construction Co. of Medford.

Batzer has been recommended by the Medford Parks and Recreation Department as the general contractor to take on almost $3.3 million of the project.

MAJOR FEATURES OF THE EXPANSION PROJECT

Three playing fields

  • Parking lot
  • Dog park
  • Electrical, sewer and water
  • Landscaping
  • Sidewalks and paths

Other contractors that bid on the project included Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland and Ausland Group of Medford.

The City Council previously approved raising car rental fees to pay for expansion of the park, located off Highway 99 at the south end of Medford along Bear Creek.

In addition to the work being done by Batzer, the city will undertake separate agreements for the purchase of the artificial turf, restrooms and other features to complete the project.

The park, which Medford parks officials say has generated an estimated $46.4 million for the local economy since it opened in 2008, now has 12 fields.

“When we see the economic report and the number of people brought in for tournaments, the park has paid for itself many times over,” said Rich Hansen, chairman of the Medford Parks and Recreation Commission.

Hansen said local hotels and restaurants have benefited from events at the park.

He said the complex also has other activities not related to the ballfields, including the Coyote Trails Nature Center, fundraisers and other events.

In 2013, the 132-acre park had a 13-percent increase in the number of teams visiting the area compared to the previous record year in 2010.

Russ Batzer, president of Batzer Construction, said a good portion of the contract will be spent on excavation and extensive drainage systems to keep the fields dry.

Batzer said his company has worked on several ballfields before, including Harry and David Field and a sports park for the University of Oregon.

If Batzer gets the contract, it will work closely with the city and Hardey Engineering and Associates of Medford to finalize the plans and design of the fields.

If the plans can be agreed upon soon, Batzer said, his crews should be able to begin construction at the beginning of April and be finished by mid-September.

Batzer said the dog park at U.S. Cellular would be roughly half the size of the one at Bear Creek Park.

The city will purchase the restroom building, and Batzer will install it, he said.

Since the park opened in May 2008, it has hosted 22,100 games and more than 969,000 visitors, according to an economic analysis from the Parks and Recreation Department. Visiting teams have spent an estimated $25.1 million.

In 2013, 1,325 teams competed on the artificial grass fields, including 672 from outside the Rogue Valley, up from 589 in 2012.

The park’s initial construction budget was $25 million.

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