Gunnison Valley ball park to benefit from grant, community partner support
By Robert Stevens
Improvements are coming to Gunnison Valley ball fields, thanks to a $250,000 federal grant and $65,000 in support from community partners.
“This is something that is important to our youth and potentially to our economy,” said Gunnison Mayor Lori Nay.
With the help of a Community Block Development Grant (CBDG), significant overhauls will happen for the ball fields behind the Gunnison Valley High School, as well as fields at the southwest corner at 100 West and 300 South in Centerfield (next door to the Centerfield LDS chapel) and at the Centerfield City Park at 100 South and 100 East.
“This really benefits the valley and the school,” Centerfield Mayor Tom Sorenson said.
The high school ball field improvements will primarily improve things for spectators. Concrete will replace the gravel ground cover in the spectator areas, improving access for wagons, strollers and wheelchairs.
New fencing and netting will protect spectators from foul balls and give them more space and angles to view the game from.
“I think for the fans pulling their wagons or even walking, the gravel is pretty hard on the feet, said Gunnison Valley Recreation Director Tyson Brackett.. “From a fan perspective, it’s going to be nice. They can come in, pull their carts in and not worry about foul balls hitting them,”
The ball field at the Centerfield LDS church will receive new dirt in the in field and get dugouts. The recreation department stopped used the church field due the lack of dugouts, but the improvements will change that, Brackett said.
The ball field next to the ward chapel is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the church has agreed to cooperate with the project.
The $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development required a $65,000 match. Will help from the Recreations Arts and Parks (RAP) sales tax revenues, the Gunnison Valley Recreation District will chip in $20,000. Gunnison City is putting in $10,000. Centerfield City will chip in $5,000. The South Sanpete School Board has agreed to chip in $35,000.
In total, $315,000 will go toward the ball field improvements.
“The plan is to have (contractors) start in July and have (the fields) done around November,” Brackett said.
The improvements are an effort to bring the ball fields up to a higher standard partly in order to attract regional tournaments, which could bring in a lot of money.
“It could be an economic boon, a development for both our community and our future,” Nay said.