The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

When It’s Time, America Will Need This !

These are challenging times in front of us. Uncertainty, anxiety, fear of the unknown, and much more are running rampant. It’s understandable; it’s human nature. But even with major portions of the U.S. shutting down, those who must maintain sports fields have to keep their noses to the grindstone, albeit usually with skeleton staffs and social distancing. Natural grass sports fields are living biosystems that need to be maintained to prevent damage from disease and overgrowth. Social distancing is manageable when working in the outdoors; however, it can be mentally challenging when you are used to crowds in your facility this time of year, but all you hear is quiet, day after day.There will come a time when this will be behind us and our country is going to need to blow off some steam, take a deep breath, and return to normalcy as quickly as possible. When the time comes, the return of professional and recreational sports will play a HUGE role in helping everyone move on and provide some comfort and healing. These are challenging times and we look forward to hearing the words “Play Ball” sooner than later. We are all anxious to get back to socializing with each other again, in person.

As best said in the movie Field of Dreams, “People will come, Ray…” To shake hands, to give high-fives, to hug, to backslap, and all the other forms of physical jocular celebration that bring us together. “This field, this game: It’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be, again. Oh… people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

People will come to play on your thick, lush, mowed emerald green fields. They’ll field the ground balls and slide into second on your smooth and resilient infield skin. They’ll sit in your dugouts, laugh, chew gum, spit seeds, and cheer for their teammates. They’ll hear the cheers from their moms and dads, their families, friends, and fans watching from the stands, and all will be right with the world, again.

So, keep your spirits high and your mowing patterns tight. The athletes of America are trusting that you are keeping their fields ready for play. Once we free ourselves from the clutches of this pandemic, you’ll have the ballfields and ballparks of America full of the sounds of joy and competition again, and hopefully, social distancing will be a thing of the past.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been with Beacon Athletics for two decades. Among his many accomplishments, he authored Groundskeeper University, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue and continues to find innovative ways to help groundskeepers.

Here’s a few off the field activities in the meantime:

Runyon Field Sports Complex ready, waiting for hustle, bustle, games !

The Runyon Field Sports Complex sits idle these days.

It’s a far cry from what normally occurs on a spring day with the hustle and bustle of fields involving hundreds of youngsters, coaches, families and fans competing and participating in baseball and softball.

New general manager Greg LaSage was pumped up for opening day, which was scheduled to take place April 4 and now has been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We were scheduled to have opening day on April 4 for youth and high schools and were about to get started,” LaSage said late last week. “Right now under the direction of (Pueblo) county, everything is suspended.”

LaSage indicated that more than 150 teams (106 baseball, 46 softball) were already registered for baseball and softball from age 8 all the way to high school.

“Plus, we’re still adding teams,” LaSage said. “We had our draft day a couple weeks ago and had 155 kids come out for that. We had coaches step up to coach teams and placed kids on teams.”

With everything on hold, LaSage said schedules have yet to be completed and he’s been in communication with coaches to keep them informed.

The facility itself was more than ready for the influx of teams.

“A lot of good things have been happening,” LaSage said. “The place looks great and the facilities guys have worked hard to get everything ready.

“We’ve replaced and repaired much of the lighting. And we have a new scoreboard on Hobbs (Field) and that will be completed with a new topper on it. We’ve done a ton of things around the facility to clean it up and have it look professional.”

The preparation LaSage and his staff has done is admirable. Now, they just need to wait for the go-ahead to put bodies on the field and in the stands.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to provide the best quality programs we can for as many people as we can,” he said. “We want this facility to be utilized.

“Before this (coronavirus) happened, this place was hopping. We had people everywhere. Games going on, coaches clinics, umpire training, people working out.

“It was a great environment and people were excited. It makes it even harder now. It’s not the same without games going on out here.”

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We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Free lunches to be provided for children at Winter Sports Park !

Free lunches to be provided for children at Winter Sports Park !petoskey logoThe Petoskey, MI. Department of Parks and Recreation is coordinating with Bill and Carol’s West Side Grocery to offer free lunches for children at the city’s Winter Sports Park next week.

Coronavirus and the Impacts at the Youngsville Sports Complex !

From Youngsville Mayor, Ken Ritter:

“Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impacts at the Youngsville Sports Complex:

This evening’s practices for baseball, t-ball, & softball are cancelled.
Additional information regarding the baseball rec practices and schedules will be forthcoming.
This weekend’s USSSA tournament is being reduced to comply with Governor JBE’s Executive Order. (Lower attendance, fewer teams, more timing between games.)
Additional cleaning of our facility and concession procedures are being implemented.
Soccer and basketball activities this weekend have been cancelled by their host.
Raising Cane’s Tennis Center will remain open as normal.
Council on Aging Senior Exercise Program has been cancelled for the week of March 16th.

For accurate information and prevention measures about COVID-19 please reference:

http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus/

www.coronavirus.gov

The health and safety of our residents and visitors remain a top priority. However Youngsville remains OPEN to business. Our local businesses need us now more than ever. Together let’s support each other and remain vigilant.”

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We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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City of Henderson, KY. debuts design concept for youth sports complex. !

This preliminary concept drawing of a new youth sports complex shows initial facilities in pink/red that would include parking, baseball diamonds and multi-use recreation fields. The later phase, in blue, would include two more ball diamonds and another parking lot and recreation field -- if finances and demand justify the additions.

This preliminary concept drawing of a new youth sports complex shows initial facilities in pink/red that would include parking, baseball diamonds and multi-use recreation fields. The later phase, in blue, would include two more ball diamonds and another parking lot and recreation field — if finances and demand justify the additions. (Photo: Douglas White / Henderson)

HENDERSON, Ky. – The city of Henderson on Tuesday showed off a preliminary concept design for a long-sought new youth sports complex.

The project is envisioned for roughly a 65-acre space, and City Manager William “Buzzy” Newman explained that several properties are being eyed as potential locations.

He said he couldn’t be more specific at this time, but did disclose that at least one possible location isn’t within the city of Henderson itself.

What’s included?

During a required hearing related to a federal grant request for the project, city of Henderson Public Works Engineer Dylan Ward walked those in attendance through the different components and phases of the project.

He stressed that it’s “a rough, preliminary concept” and is mostly “to show what it is we want and what we can fit” within a certain amount of space.

The pieces could easily be moved around, he said, to accommodate different road access, topography, drainage and other factors.

He explained that the design right now consists of three phases. The first would encompass site preparation — utilities, earthwork, storm-water detention construction, and erosion control.

Phase 2 (shown in red on the graphic) would include an entrance road, two main parking lots and sidewalks, six baseball diamonds, two multi-purpose fields that can be used for soccer, youth football or lacrosse, and concession stand/restroom facilities. The ball diamonds would replace the outdated ones currently used by the local PCMA League.

Background

No one spoke out in favor or against the concept during Tuesday’s required grant hearing, but multiple people in the audience filled out comments sheets indicating support.

City Public Information Officer Donna B. Stinnett explained recently that the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant request “is not even necessarily targeted at a specific piece of property. The request will be for $250,000 to apply to property purchase and it is a 50/50 match” (which means the city would also kick in $250,000 for the purchase.)

The maximum amount of grant awarded through this program is $250,000.

The Green River Area Development District has been working on the grant request on behalf of the city of Henderson.

The estimated cost to acquire the land for the sports complex is $750,000.

Should the city project receive funding, GRADD has said “it is important to stress that all recreational facilities assisted by Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant assistance must stay in outdoor recreational use for perpetuity.”

The city will be responsible for developing the property for recreational use and must begin making improvements within three years of acquiring property.

The deadline to submit a 2020 LWCF application is May 29, 2020.

Typically, decisions are made towards the end of the year and projects are awarded and begin in the late spring/early summer of the following year.

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We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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$20M sports park back at Delaware County mega-development !

Although the facilities will be a local attraction, it'll be a draw for local sports, too.

 

A crucial part of the $1.5 billion Evans Farm development is going ahead after a delay.

 

The Park, a 57-acre, 10-field sports park will begin on the western edge the expansive Delaware County development. On Monday, Orange Township trustees approved a final zoning amendment for the park.

Construction will begin in June on the sports complex, which will include two youth baseball fields and eight multi-use fields for baseball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and football. Jennings Land Development will be the builder.

The park will complement 3,100 housing units and 580,000 square feet of commercial space in the $1.5 billion project, which is now under construction in Orange and Berlin townships. 

“This is the next big step in the community’s continued investment in Evans Farms,” Delaware County Economic Development Director Bob Lamb said in a statement”. “The Delaware County Finance Authority has played a critical role in getting the project to the finish line. We continue to assist through a number of financing tools that will move the Jennings Sports Park to fruition.”Construction on Jennings Sports.

The park is meant to be a local attraction for residents of Evans Farm as well as the 30,000 people living in Orange Township. But the project had some difficulties after its original developer, Central Ohio Sports Management, wasn’t able to move forward with plans to break ground last year.

“Our community is in dire need of additional fields to serve our many leagues and youth groups,” Ryan Rivers, chairman of the Orange Township Trustees, said in the statement. “Not only will this bring relief to our current demand, but it is a really impressive addition to the area in general, and Evans Farms in particular.”About two-thirds of the potential use for the facility would be local little league teams, but it could host sports tournaments as well.

A 2017 study by Dallas-based data house Orbis Research found that youth sports is a $15.5 billion market in the U.S., rivaling the $14 billion NFL. Growth has come as traveling teams, which bring families along for weekend trips, has become more popular, especially in suburban and exurban areas.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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$8 million sports complex proposed in Halfmoon !

Schenectady, NY

HALFMOON — A proposed $8 million, 72,000-square-foot sports complex in Halfmoon is backed by former Shen basketball star and current Atlanta Hawks player Kevin Huerter, his parents Tom and Erin of Clifton Park, and other local parties. 

The proposed complex, estimated to cost $8 million, has already been before the town Planning Board once. It boasts six basketball courts, a large training room, several small exercise studios, locker rooms, a daycare facility, a snack bar, office space, a retail and concessions area and room for athletes and guests to gather in the facility in between games.

In total, the facility would contain 72,885 square feet.

Officially named the Impact Athletic Center, the project is slated to be built immediately south of the intersection of Route 146 and Werner Road. It was first proposed to the Planning Board in November. Town planner Rich Harris on Thursday said he expects the plan to be back before the board soon, with some minor revisions.

The complex would be built on a 32-acre parcel that is currently vacant.

There are also 300 parking spaces planned for the complex. Litchfield Holding of Clifton Park, own by Siena Fence Co. president Christopher Litchfield, is listed as the applicant, but the Huerter family and  Grantley and Joyce McLeod of Halfmoon are also supporting what is estimated to be an $8 million project.

Kevin Huerter recently expressed his excitement on social media about the project.

“Big things happening … we’ve needed this in the 518,” Huerter tweeted in reaction to a story about the complex in the Albany Business Review on Wednesday.

Malta-based firm Lansing Engineering will design the project. Litchfield Holdings, according to project documents, has also pledged to donate $25,000 to Halfmoon to be used for recreational purposes.

The sports complex will serve as additional space for practice and games in an area that already has a number of places that community teams utilize for basketball and other sports, including the Southern Saratoga County YMCA in Clifton Park and the gyms scattered throughout the Shenendehowa Central School District’s 13 schools.

Shen spokeswoman Kelly DeFeciani  on Thursday said that a new sports complex nearby with a plethora of basketball courts for community teams to practice on would not have any sort of negative impact on Shen, revenue or otherwise, though she didn’t provide specific numbers.

The money the district gets from teams renting out district facilities to practice only covers utilities for the facilities while those teams are using them, like lighting and heating, she said.

While basketball does rank among one of the larger community uses for the school’s gyms, she pointed out that so many other teams use the same facilities, including volleyball teams, it’s difficult to classify which teams use the gyms the most at different times.

Shen’s facilities are used so frequently, she said, that new ones would only have a positive impact because they would provide community teams with yet another space to practice in if Shen’s gyms are booked, or, on the other hand, would serve to free up some of Shen’s space for other teams besides basketball to use.

“Our facilities are used nonstop,” she said.“If anything, it might free up space. It’s very hard to reserve a gym right now.”

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We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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