The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

The 9 Essential Ballfield Tools !

BEACON ATHLETICS

Are you one of those guys who keeps a rake and shovel in your trunk? Then this post was written for you!That extra attention to detail and ‘ready-for-anything’ spirit will go a long way toward your success as a groundskeeper. No one wants to see a 10-year-old infielder take a bad hop, especially as you’re trying to teach them the importance of staying down on grounders. The tools on this list are basic tools that don’t require any gasoline or water and certainly do not require a big budget. But, every baseball league and softball league should really have these affordable tools in their shed. And, every volunteer should know the basics of how to properly use these field maintenance tools. It will save you time, save you headaches, and empower everyone to make the most of their time prepping your fields. You may even find a few of these already in your tool shed or garage. 

The following list highlights tools, but also provides links to additional resources with how-to videos and lessons at Beacon’s Groundskeeper University. (NOTE: Be sure to also checkout our article on The Most Common Groundskeeping Mistakes if you work with teams of volunteers.) 


The 9 Essential Ballfield Tools. !


1. THE INFIELD RAKE

We all know rakes are important. There are many rakes to consider using, but this is one of our favorites. An infield rake can be used before and after practice or games to rake out cleat marks and divots, knock down high spots, and pull material to low spots — typically fielding position areas and sliding areas. One of our favorite infield rakes is the Double Play Rake. Use the short teeth for breaking up hard-packed clay and the long teeth for general raking and wet clay. Some prefer a straight edge on one side rather than teeth on both sides. With that in mind, the Wooden Field Rake, which has made its return after a dozen years away, is a great infield rake option. Learn more about Paul Zwaska’s sentimental favorite: Wood is Good!

* PRO TIP: Always rake down the base line towards the base or home parallel with the edges, never rake towards the infield grass. Raking towards edges will cause lips that affect the roll of the ball and cause a natural dam which in turn will hold water.

You can learn more about rakes at our Groundskeeper University lesson, “Shovels & Rakes”.


2. THE PUSH BROOM AND/OR THE LEAF RAKE

You need to control your lips. A push broom or standard leaf rake can be used fairly often to push material out from your turf edges. During games, material from the field is kicked or tracked against your turf edges. This generally results from the 1st and 3rd baseman moving into the grass for different situations. It’s also very common that material will move to your grass edge along the baselines from runners rounding the bases. Many of these chunks of material can be picked up by hand and thrown back on the field to rake but it’s the material that you can’t see that slowly builds up. That is contributing to lips forming and that’s what you need to be concerned with.

Regular use of the push broom or leaf rake can be an easy way to keep that buildup from becoming problematic minimizing lips. We have some great how-to videos on this topic, as well as an entire module at our Groundskeeper University online training tool which is devoted to addressing proper Lip Management.

Also reference these How-To Videos:


3. THE RIGID STEEL MAT

A hand drag is essential for grooming your field after it has been raked out. Steel mat drags help pull material from those high spots that were knocked down with the rake and they let you redistribute material to the low spots. If you have enough time, you’ll want to drag the field twice in opposite directions. Take your time when dragging to avoid being any closer than 6″ from cutouts and turf edges. Those areas may be better off being manicured with a broom or level board. If you have an uneven surface grade, you can try starting in the high areas of the field and end up in the low areas (usually where you will see the most standing water after a rainfall). A rigid steel mat helps cut down high spots and fill in the low spots. For minimal displacement of material, consider our Pro Rigid Steel Mat with a leading edge and angled mat.

Again, some great tips and advice for dragging patterns is available at Groundskeeper U: Float Dragging the Infield Skin

How-to Videos:


4. THE NAIL DRAG

A hand-pulled nail drag is small enough to not take up a lot of room in storage and you do not need a tractor to pull them. You’re the tractor. That’s very good news. And, even if you can only nail drag once or twice a week, you will definitely see a difference from scarifying your infield. Remember: a nail drag should be used before any mat drag is used. Nail drags by definition allow you to aggressively scarify your infield surface. It can help tremendously if you are able to nail drag after the field has received some moisture. Now, I don’t mean so much moisture that it sticks to the drag, that’ll make a mess. But, just enough moisture so you can easily loosen heavily compacted areas without digging in any deeper than 1 inch. You should complete the nail drag process with level boards or rakes to pull loose material into low spots and then finish with a nice and easy hand float drag.

While larger nail drags are great for covering a lot of ground, they are bigger, more expensive and will require a tractor or some machine to pull them. On the other hand, our X-Drag is an excellent option as a hand nail drag that you can use all over the infield skin — even in tighter areas like up and down the base paths. Just adjust the pull rope to go from a 3 ft wide drag to a skinny 2 ft wide drag.

Our Groundskeeper U lesson, Scarifying the Infield Skin, will walk you through the finer points.

How-to Videos:


5. THE SCOOP SHOVEL

A good scoop shovel is perfect for picking up debris and chunks from the piles of material swept from your turf edges, mound and home plate area. They can also be used to gather up and ideally sift the spoils from nail or mat dragging. One of our favorites is the Sifter Scoop Shovel, but really any sturdy shovel will do. The advantage of the sifter shovel is you can sift through the good material back to your infield skin, and then toss the waste left in the shovel off to side behind your playing field. Being diligent about removing unwanted chunks, debris or rocks will help ensure you give your players a safe infield that plays true and minimize the random “bad hop” that infielders dread. Players also appreciate sliding into base without potentially painful debris or stones.

You can learn more about shovels and rakes at Groundskeeper U’s Shovels & Rakes.

How-to Video:


6. THE TAMP

A tamp is needed to pack clay into the batter’s box and pitching mound after they have been repaired. These heavy-wear areas are frequently damaged. If your park & rec department or the field managers at your facility are not regularly repairing these areas, you will need to figure out how you can keep these areas safe from hazardous holes that form after heavy usage. If your league or team does not have the ability to acquire bagged clay to correctly repair these areas, we have some alternatives. Products like our Beacon Porous Rubber Mats or the Jox Box can be installed below grade in these areas to minimize damage and prevent holes. Just drag your material back over the exposed mats at the end of your game or practice.

But if you can use bagged clay to repair your mound or batter’s box, then we have the tamp that groundskeeper’s love. This isn’t your father’s tamp. No, our SweetSpot Tamp (shown) will save your hands and back by reducing vibration with a self-articulating tamp head. That’s a fancy way of saying it saves wear and tear on your joints. It means you’re getting a flush, max-impact blow every time so you’re working smarter, not harder.

* PRO TIP: If you’re using clay it’s imperative that you cover these areas with area tarps to help them maintain their moisture. If tarping is not an option the clay will harden and chunk out.

Learn more about what goes into repairing high-wear areas at Groundskeeper U: Repairing Clay-Fortified Areas

How-to Videos:


7. THE DIG OUT TOOL

No one likes a wobbly base. Always make sure to have a dig out tool around to clean out your base anchors. Cutting down soil around the bases is key to avoid an uneven surface for your base to sit on. But so is having a clean anchor to seat your base into. Use anchor plugs to keep material out of the anchor while you’re dragging or cutting down soil. But also use a dig out tool handy for clearing soil from the anchor. The other reason you need to clean out soil from the anchor? Rotational play. A properly installed base will have a little “rotational play” so the base stanchion doesn’t wedge in the anchor. Not only is that rigid base with no give a potential safety hazard for players, it means that base might actually get stuck, or at best become hard to remove. The simple, inexpensive — but effective — dig out tool is your answer.

The Groundskeeper U lesson On-field Maintenance & Placement will walk you through what you need to know with your bases and the importance of using the dig out tool.

How-to Videos:


8. THE ACCOUNTABILITY TOOL

Okay, this tool you should already have.It’s an easy one to ignore or put off, but assigning someone to be in charge of managing your volunteers and coaches is crucial. This person will coordinate a field training day where all coaches are required to attend so they know the basics. Ideally before this meeting, you can have coaches and volunteers go through our free online training tool at Groundskeeper University to get everyone on the same page. This is strongly suggested. It makes life easier for the person in charge and will help you avoid preventable mistakes, which is definitely important after all the effort you put into your fields. A lot of headaches will be spared when your field has some consistent maintenance and you’ll achieve a predictable result so the players know what to expect from your fields. 


9. ONLINE EDUCATIONAL TOOL

One more plug for Groundskeeper University. Not as much a “plug” really, since you can use it at no charge, but we really want to make sure you are aware of this super valuable online resource. It will help you save a TON of time not having to manually train volunteers and coaches every year. Getting everyone doing things the same way it (and the right way) is critical. GU is authored by my Beacon colleague and former Baltimore Orioles Head Groundskeeper Paul Zwaska. These how-to modules and lessons are great for teaching the basics of field care and maintenance using audio, photos, diagrams, and videos with some short quizzes along the way to make sure you’re remembering what you need to know. Users can even become “certified” in the basics. Typically users only need 2-3 hours to go through all 8 lessons. Check it out. You and your team have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

************************************************************

“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Best Practices & Design for Today’s Dog Park Boom. !

Going to the Dogs !

Best Practices & Design for Today’s Dog Park Boom

By Kelli Ra Anderson

PHOTO COURTESY OF BARK PARK BY ULTRASITE

It’s not your imagination. The number of dogs in our neighborhoods, parks and homes is at an all-time high and projected by the American Veterinarian Medical Association to grow from 85 million in 2020 to more than 100 million by 2030. If trends continue, they say, the number of canine households in America will pass 50% within the next 10 years. That’s a lot of kibble.

As a result of America’s new love affair with man’s best friend, business intel from IBIS World say there is an especially rosy future for the dog park industry. Individuals and communities now realize “properly designed dog parks have a myriad of positive effects on the dogs, individuals and the surrounding community,” IBIS reports. Not surprisingly, the demand for quality dog parks is on the rise.

Gone are the days when a dog park could consist of a grassy plot and a fence. To create a great dog park there are design dos and don’ts and smart management practices to help ensure it will succeed.

“Operating or managing a dog park is like any other significant amenity, it requires a significant commitment of daily upkeep, maintenance and cleaning,” said John Sarver, president for a manufacturer of dog park products based in Indianapolis, Ind. “The most important aspect when putting together a dog park is that it is safe and that you are hopefully minimizing any health or safety risks at the park. The safety aspect of the park can be affected by these factors: the location of the park, the size and design of the park, the strict enforcement of the necessary rules, daily maintenance, cleaning and inspection of the park and its elements.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DOGIPOT

Whether it is an enormous dog park in the mountains of Vermont or one of the growing number of smaller community dog parks proliferating around the country, it takes good design, carefully selected amenities and dogged oversight to make these spaces work for pooches and their humans alike.

Cities like Boise, Idaho, winner again (three years in a row) of the Trust for Public Land’s national ranking for dog parks per capita this year, are leading the pack in applying consistent strategies, along with some innovative ways to incorporate dog parks into existing neighborhood parks.

“A dog park is an activation for the neighborhood and why we have them in our communities,” said Doug Holloway, director for the City of Boise Parks and Recreation, about their commitment to providing these important recreational and social spaces. “We are strategic. We place them where people can go for their dogs and for a sense of community for their neighborhood. It’s important in all cities really, to focus on that, to give people a place of ownership to visit and enjoy.”

Sniffing Out the Right Location

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF EDINBURG

As with any recreation project, placement is key and soliciting community input should be part of the initial process. For Boise, placing off-leash dog areas in existing community parks where owners can easily walk from their homes is a regular practice.

Keeping it local enhances community relationships and fosters ownership and pride of place to maximize cooperation with rules and mutual accountability to enforce them.

But how to accurately assess the need? Rather than rely on dog licensing numbers, which can underrepresent dog populations, the park district surveys people living within a half-mile of an existing community park to better assess interest in adding an off-leash dog park to a public space. In all but one scenario, the answer in each polled community has been a resounding “Yes!”

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF DOG MOUNTAIN INC.

Adding a place for dogs and their owners to play within existing parks has many built-in benefits: It offers easy visibility in the community for patrons using a park’s other attractions; it takes advantage of existing (and otherwise costly) utility installation like plumbing and electricity; it allows pet owners with children to potentially keep an eye on both of their “babies” at the same time if a child’s play area is located nearby; and takes advantage of parking access (always a perk for the mobility-challenged or those with young children looking for easy access).

Another key consideration is safe terrain. Parks placed in dry areas a safe distance from retention ponds and swampy sites where mosquitos and other pests can become a problem are safer and more comfortable. Keeping a safe distance from toxic plants is important too. “Make sure there is no dangerous foliage like sabal palms in Florida,” said David Canning, CEO of a dog product manufacturing company out of Orlando, Fla. “Sometimes parks are placed near palmettos that are poisonous if chewed. Give some thought about what is dangerous that could hurt the dog.”

Finally, space is an important factor. While not every park can be tens of acres, it is important that it provides enough space for dogs to run unimpeded by agility features or other play structures. If space is spare, however, one option is to place agility or play structures on one side of the park so at least the other half is open space for running and a game of fetch.

Destination Sensation

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOISE PARK & RECREATION DEPARTMENT

While keeping dog parks accessible to neighborhoods is a worthy goal, not every successful dog park is nestled within a local community. Do it right and a dog park can become a destination sensation all on its own. Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vt., listed in USA Today’s “Top Ten Places to Visit” is a dog park like no other. With 150 acres of open spaces and forested mountain trails complete with its own Dog Chapel and farmhouse-turned-art gallery housing original folksy wood cuts by its founder and artist Stephen Huneck, this dog park is off the charts in charm and popularity.

“It’s so unique because of many elements,” said Pam McCann, general manager of the park, which has drawn visitors from around the world. “It’s about an artist and his work and an old farm renovation with the farmhouse’s art gallery and a barn that was a production studio with 15 artists working there in its heyday. It’s a real treasure in the community to have private space open for use.”

With scenic hiking trails, a dog pond, snowshoe trails in winter, wildflower meadows in summer and many events, concerts and “dog party” attractions, the dog park has managed to keep its focus on its founder’s vision to provide a free place to the public where dogs are the ultimate guests of honor.

Best in Show

PHOTO COURTESY OF WHITEFISH DOG PARK

But a dog park doesn’t have to have 150 acres with an artist’s legacy behind it to be best in show. Just differentiating in some way from dog parks nearby (adding a water feature or agility course) can be all it takes to set you apart.

“Our first dog park didn’t have any water features,” said Nicholus Villarreal, aquatics manager for the parks and recreation department in Edinburg, Texas, who also oversees the dog parks in the city. “Our second and third, however, we added a fire hydrant with a pedal you activate and it shoots up water. Everyone seems to love it.”

Other trends in water play include spray pads that eliminate the problem of standing water, and spray stations where dirty paws can be rinsed off before going home. Of course, providing a drinking fountain, probably the most important water element of all, can even become a special attraction with some of today’s combination human/canine designs.

PHOTO COURTESY OF BARK PARK BY ULTRASITE

Larger water features can be especially inviting if managed well. “If you provide water to swim in? Now that’s a real home run, even if they aren’t water dogs,” said Holloway, about Dog Island, one of the most unique and popular of Boise’s dog parks located in the middle of Ann Morrison Park that is surrounded by water.

“You would have thought we cured cancer. People just love it. It’s three to four acres in size where people can throw balls in the water and dogs can swim and enjoy time in the water in addition to turf.” However, he cautions, be warned. Such water features come with a price: popularity.

“If you build it,” observed Holloway, “they will come and stay,” which has certainly been the case at Dog Island, where on any given day—even in downpours and inclement weather—people still come to the park to play with their dogs. It is never unused. Or unloved.

Sit, Stay

PHOTO COURTESY OF DOGIPOT

As with all good park design, there are just some elements that should never be overlooked. Shade from summer’s glaring heat and enough seating for patrons to relax while their pets play should always be included. Whether mature trees are part of the landscape or a sheltered pavilion is provided with picnic tables, opportunities for socialization for humans, not just their dogs, is part of the recipe for success.

Keeping dogs safe with fencing (5-foot chain link is often recommended) and providing sectioned off areas for dogs of different sizes (often 35 pounds and up for large breeds and under 35 for smaller), or to keep puppies out of harm’s way, or to provide a separate space for older or less energetic pets are all important considerations when thinking about elements that will best fit the needs of your canine and human community.

A double-gated entrance/exit is also strongly encouraged to prevent dogs from accidently escaping by providing a buffer zone between those entering and exiting.

Providing kiosks for the exchange of information or even online chat rooms where people can arrange playdates for their puppy-pals are all great ways to encourage socialization and, ultimately, strengthen the community’s commitment in caring for these special parks.

Signage, too, will make following the rules of the park easier for everyone and can make life much easier on managers ultimately responsible for its upkeep. Make sure, however, that rules are clearly displayed, especially with regard to pet waste disposal, along with plenty of trash receptacles and doggie waste stations so compliance is easy for everyone.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF EDINBURG

Howling Success

Having a large budget, of course, always makes life easier. Who doesn’t want to add a new feature or two every year to keep a dog park feeling new and interesting? But when budgets are tight, there are other ways to make it work.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF EDINBURG

Many parks offset the cost of maintenance while adding local flair with creative signage sponsored by local businesses, or advertising statuary created for the site by local artists. Amenities like seating, or themed paw-print pavers can be monetized as memorials to beloved pets or even family members.

“Having sponsored plaques by local vet clinics and pet stores can help offset the costs,” said Amanda Sorely, marketing manager with a pet products company based in Houston, Texas. Grants, too, like Bark for Your Park, which offers 13 grants each year to existing and new parks, can be an enormous help.

Fundraisers are another way communities are doing double duty, raising much needed cash while also providing community-bonding fun. “We do fundraisers and have phenomenal donors. The whole city is involved,” said Ray Boksich, board member of Whitefish Dog Park in Whitefish, Mont., which has helped to add continuing improvements to this amazing park with its scenic Rocky Mountain walking paths and popular swimming pond supplied by an artesian well. “With 61 nonprofits in a month of fundraising, we were able to raise $63,000.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DOGIPOT

Armed with an expanded budget for next year, they plan to build an attractive three-sided kiosk and to address a water problem near the entrance with creative landscaping.

Having committed volunteers doesn’t hurt either. “We have a lot of help,” he said. “We have a 15-person board, which oversees the park, and friends of the park who do things to make it attractive and safe,” he explained, including management of waste stations, weeding and snowblowing in winter to keep pathways clear.

“People were cautious about why do you need a dog park? I was one of them,” confessed Boksich. “But as I became more involved, it’s phenomenal. It’s not just a dog park but a part of our city for people with and even without dogs.” RM

************************************************************

“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Hundreds line up for free COVID testing at Truman Sports Complex. !

Jan 10, 2022 / 11:00 AM CST 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dozens of vehicles lined up for COVID testing at the Truman Sports Complex Monday.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services set up a drive-thru clinic over six days during the next two weeks.

It’s been frustrating for a lot of people to get tested for COVID-19 because there simply haven’t been enough tests available. That’s why the state is offering more than 1,600 free tests a day for six days in the parking lot next to Arrowhead Stadium.

Participants must pre-register and get an appointment. You can’t just show up to get tested. Appointments are available this week through Wednesday.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Tracking coronavirus in the Kansas City region
Registrations for next week will be available in the coming days.

“Demand is high because you know these types of events are critical and crucial to the health of our community,” said Sonny Naqvi, president and CEO of Aim Laboratories, which is conducting the tests.

“I think it’s very accessible for people to come out here instead of going to the hospitals and ERs and choking up the lines there. We have high demand today. I think more than 1,600 people have signed up already.”

These are contactless PCR tests that drivers perform themselves.

Read more local, state and national news on FOX4
Organizers say those getting tested should receive results within 48 hours.

************************************************************

“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Pickleball players ‘Dinking in the New Year’ at Nittany Valley Sports Centre !

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — On January 2, 97 pickle ball players from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland will travel to State College for the “Dinking in the New Year” tournament.

“We’ve never seen anything to this level before in the Centre Region,” said Randy Hoffman, pickle ball coordinator at the Nittany Valley Sports Centre.

274 matches will be played across the Nittany Valley Sport Centre’s 11 courts.

“Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States,” said Donna Reese, “Dinking in the New Year” tournament director.

Both Hoffman and Reese credit the sport for keeping individuals active and fostering communities.

“When people start playing pickle ball, they become this community,” said Reese. “You now have met his network of friends who are very active.”

“I’ve made over a hundred something friends that I would never have met if it wasn’t for the game of pickle ball,” added Hoffman.

************************************************************

“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Gadsden sports park’s first phase almost complete; bid awarded for next phase !

Work is underway on the first phase of the Gadsden Sports Park adjacent to the Gadsden State Community College campus.

Gadsden, AL. – The first phase of construction at the new Gadsden Sports Park is nearing completion, and the Gadsden City Council on Tuesday approved bids to begin work on the second phase of the park.

The council awarded a $5.6 million bid to Bob Smith Construction for second-phase work, which will include rebuilding and improvement of the baseball/softball fields and  concession stand/press box area, and the addition of a parking lot on the north side of the site.

Another bid was approved for patching a road into the site with heavier, sturdier rock and hot mix. City Engineer Heath Williamson explained it’s better to patch the road now and do final resurfacing later when construction equipment won’t be traveling there.

Council member Jason Wilson said he wanted to clarify that this is not necessarily $5.6 million in new money. He said the money had been allocated for the project, and it went on hold during the pandemic. He said it was not “new spending.”

The sports park project marks a long-term partnership between the city and Gadsden State Community College to expand sports facilities adjacent to the college campus and to provide new recreation opportunities for all of Gadsden and Etowah County.

The first phase turned the former fisheries area of GSCC into three NCAA-sized multipurpose athletic fields that can be reconfigured into youth-sized fields, Community Affairs Coordinator Michael Rodgers said in a press release, with a walking trail surrounding the lake and a parking lot to serve that side of the complex.

Williamson said the final steps and landscaping for Phase I should be completed early next year.

“These developments and renovations enhance the city’s ability to further develop the riverfront and recruit first-class soccer, youth baseball and softball tournaments to Gadsden,” Rodgers said. “The continued cooperation on the project will bring benefits to both Gadsden State Community College and the City of Gadsden.

“Beyond providing a top-quality facility for city and county residents, it is another development along Gadsden’s Coosa Riverfront that also includes an opportunity to connect the community to Gadsden State. Visitors to the area will also see GSCC’s continued investments in education and campus facilities,” Rodgers continued.

Wilson questioned whether any of the sports fields at the park will be be covered with artificial turf. Williamson said there are pros and cons with turf and sod, but after looking at the options the decision was made to go with sod on the fields. He said improved drainage at the new fields will provide excellent facilities.

Wilson said a number of facilities, such as Oxford’s, have gone with artificial turf, and joked that he’s hoping to get a square of artificial turf somewhere in the city. He had asked whether a “miracle field” or “field of dreams” for disabled children will be included in the second phase.

Williamson said that is likely to be a part of a third phase at the park, and that for that field an artificial turf of sorts, possibly like the surface at Moragne Park, may be used.

************************************************************

“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Bridge Sports Complex, in Bridgeport (West Virginia) recognized by WV News for community, state impact !

Sports Tourism Commission approves contract with management group !

Sports Tourism Commission approves contract

The Sports Tourism Commission approved an agreement with Sports Facilities Management LLC. on Wednesday for the company to manage the Greenway Sports complex.

Paducah, KY. – McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission has agreed to terms with Sports Facilities Management, LLC for the company to manage the Greenway Sports complex. The move came on Wednesday after two months of contract negotiations with some of the commission members and SFM representatives.

The agreement allows SFM to manage the day-to-day operations of the Greenway Sports complex, an outdoor sports facility that is planned for the old Bluegrass Downs site. SFM would assist the city and county in the planning and development stages of the complex as well as help get tournaments and events booked for the facility.

The commission chose to work with SFM after hearing presentations from three companies, including SFM, in September.

Jim Arnold, SFM national director of business development, walked through the basics of the agreement with members of the Sports Tourism Commission via Zoom. Arnold said SFM employees would handle day-to-day operations. SFM would provide input and opinions about decisions regarding topics such as development, sponsorships and the selection of a general manager for the commission to consider, but final decisions would be up to the Sports Tourism Commission.

Arnold told the commission members how SFM would work with them to make sure the Greenway Sports complex is successful from the first day of operations. One of the big things SFM would help with, Arnold said, is to have some events booked for the facility before it opens its doors. Arnold said SFM would work to make sure it is meeting what the Sports Tourism Commission would define as a successful operation.

“The intent here is that everything is in this room that needs to be done to not only get the facility open successfully, but operating successfully, and we will make sure we do whatever is needed,” Arnold said.

Sports Tourism Commission Chairman Jim Dudley was pleased to see the agreement approved, and has been satisfied with his interactions with SFM so far. He said even before the two groups reached an agreement, SFM set up a meeting between Dudley, Vice Chairman Chris Hill and representatives of Baseball USA to discuss the possibility of hosting baseball tournaments at the Greenway Sports complex. Dudley said he thinks SFM’s experience with other facilities will be beneficial moving forward.

“Obviously, this is what they do. They manage over 100 facilities across the nation. [There is] a lot of expertise there, a lot of people you can lean on, and we just felt moving forward we wanted that extra teammate to guide us through the construction phase and all the way to being ready for day one,” Dudley said.

Per the agreement between the Sports Tourism Commission and SFM, a copy of which was provided to The Sun, the contract is effective for eight years after the grand opening of the sports complex. SFM is required to produce an annual business plan to the commission prior to each operating year, which the commission can approve or send back to SFM for improvements. SFM will also provide monthly reports to the Sports Tourism Commission.

Over the next 18 months, SFM will receive a total of $870,000 for its services, with $25,000 per month being paid in the first three months and $53,000 per month being paid for the following 15 months. After that, SFM will receive $14,500 per month for its services. Once the complex is open, SFM will also receive $2 from each ticket sold at ticketed events at the facility.

The contract between the commission and SFM lists tentative plans for the Greenway Sports complex to be up and running by the end of June 2023. This date could be delayed depending on development and construction factors.

The 105-acre development is planned to have softball, baseball and soccer fields, and will bring in an estimated 81 tournaments and more than 7,000 players once it is completed, according to greenwaysports.com. The complex’s projected costs are between $38 million and $42 million, according to previous reports from The Sun.

Dudley said the next step for the outdoor sports complex is to complete an interlocal agreement between the city of Paducah and McCracken County that will finalize the memorandum of understanding the city and county reached earlier this year about financing the project. Dudley hopes this agreement will be completed within the next two months.

************************************************************

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

PROFESSIONAL PICKLEBALL ASSOCIATION SIGNS DEAL WITH FOX SPORTS !

The Professional Pickleball Association welcomes FOX Sports as the pickleball industry’s largest television partner through the 2022 PPA Tour Season

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (July 12th, 2021) – The PPA Tour has announced FOX Sports as its newest television partner to consistently bring the professional tour of pickleball to mainstream television. As a leader in professional sports, FOX Sports’ reach will elevate pickleball to a grander stage and broader audience. FOX Sports will televise a minimum of twelve PPA events beginning this October and continuing through the end of the 2022 PPA Tour Season across FS1, FS2, the FOX Sports App and FOXSports.com

FOX Sports’ telecasts will center around Championship Sundays, which feature the sport’s most prestigious championship matches from Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, Men’s Singles, and Women’s Singles. Matches played before Sunday will be streamed live via an array of alternate broadcast partners, the PPA’s social media, and the PPA’s YouTube channel.

“The PPA Tour’s new agreement with FOX Sports is a huge step forward for us and continues to show the widespread appeal and entertainment value of pickleball,” said Connor Pardoe, the commissioner of the PPA. “We’re honored to work with FOX Sports to add professionalism to our sport, promote the global availability of the Pro Tour, and increase exposure for the professional athletes in the sport.”

With millions awarded in player payout annually and thousands of players competing in tournaments each year, the PPA Tour is working to establish pickleball as a familiar and exciting spectator sport for the masses.

“We’re thrilled to team up with the PPA Tour and bring pickleball to a whole new host of viewers,” said Bill Wanger, EVP, Head of Programming & Scheduling, FOX Sports. “This unique and exciting property will be a great addition to our expansive programming roster.”

The competition of PPA tournaments is unmatched as the best players in the sport battle for the largest payouts and highest stakes in the sport. The current FOX Sports television schedule includes many of the PPA’s largest tournaments – all of which will be held at world-renowned venues and host pickleball’s top pros from all over the world.

The PPA also plans to launch professional sports betting this fall, which will stimulate even more growth within the sport.

Fox Sports 2022 Broadcast Schedule:

PPA Champions Cup, in Orlando, FL, on January 16, 2022, at 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (ET)

  1. Desert Ridge Open, in Phoenix, AZ, on January 30, 2022, at 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET)
  2. Arizona Grand Slam, in Phoenix, AZ, on February 20, 2022, at 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET)
  3. Austin Open, in Austin, TX, on March 27, 2022, at 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (ET)
  4. Red Rock Open, in St. George, UT, on April 10, 2022, at 11:00 am – 3:00 pm (ET)
  5. North Carolina Open, in Cary, NC, on May 8, 2022, at 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (ET)
  6. Orange County Cup, in San Clemente, CA, on June 12, 2022, at 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET)
  7. PPA Open, in Cincinnati, OH, on September 11, 2022, at 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (ET)
  8. Texas Open, in Dallas, TX, on October 9, 2022, at 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (ET)
  9. PPA Masters, in La Quinta, CA, on December 11, 2022, at 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET)

ABOUT THE PROFESSIONAL PICKLEBALL ASSOCIATION

The Professional Pickleball Association is the professional tour for the sport of pickleball, organizing events and rankings for the top male and female pickleball players in the world and awarding over $2 million in annual prize money. With more than 20 events in 2022 at world-class facilities like the Linder Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati and the Aviva Center in Toronto, the PPA Tour is the premier provider of professional and amateur events. The PPA Tour’s broadcast partners include FOX Sports, Tennis Channel, CBS Sports, and ESPN+. Founded in 2018 and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the PPA Tour provides an unparalleled experience for all, inviting players to compete and “play where the pros play,” as well as offering unrivaled venues, food/beverages, live DJ entertainment, VIP experiences, giveaways and games, pro player meet-and-greets, shopping, vendors, and more.

************************************************************

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

SPENCER ATHLETIC COMPLEX GRAND OPENING TO BE HELD SATURDAY !

SPENCER, WI (OnFocus) – After a three-year project has come to fruition, the new Spencer athletic complex dome will be officially introduced to the community on Saturday.

The dome, which was completed earlier this fall has already housed a few Spencer High School sporting events.

This weekend’s open house will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday with a short dedication ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m. The open house will run until 11 a.m.

The dome doubles as a tornado shelter for emergencies and houses a weight room facility, wrestling room and athletic training area as well.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the dome was held in September of 2020 and in just over a year, the dome has been completed. The dome’s roof was raised in January and all spring and summer, crews have worked to finish the interior and exterior of the building.

District Administrator for the Spencer School District Mike Endreas said in a January interview with OnFocus that the dome helps both the school and the community.

“The dome will provide a much needed safe shelter for the community along with the educational benefit with the added classrooms,” Endreas said. “The community fitness center will also benefit Spencer communities. A residual benefit may encourage young people to come to Spencer to live.”

The benefit of moving the weight room into the facility is it helps get the weight room off of the stage located in the high school. It also allows the community easy access to the fitness center if they choose to utilize it.

The dome also houses a 2,800 square-foot wrestling room with mats and lockable doors.

The project also included the installation of a new softball field located behind the dome and new lights for the football field.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Users of planned Hagerstown Field House offered chance to give input at Thursday meeting !

 

November 30, 2021

Hagerstown, MD. – A firm working with the city on development of an indoor sports facility will hold a meeting next Thursday to gather public input on possible uses for the complex.

Eastern Sports Management with Pinnacle Indoor Sports and Hughes Group Architects is inviting prospective users of the facility and other interested parties to the meeting, the city announced in a Facebook post.

The groups will present a plan for the complex at Thursday’s meeting and collect input from the public on how it might want to use the facility, according to the announcement. 

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers at City Hall at Potomac and Franklin streets.

The announcement said the proposed Hagerstown Field House, which could cost between $10 million and $20 million, is anticipated to open in 2024.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **