McMinnville officials removed $200,000 for Pistole Park improvements from the proposed Parks and Recreation budget for fiscal year 2013-14.
“When you have a department that only makes 28 percent of its budget through user fees, you have to watch where every penny is spent,” said Finance Committee chairman Ken Smith.
The item was removed during a joint meeting of the Finance Committee and Parks and Recreation Committee.
Requested by the Warren County Youth Soccer Association were:
• Re-leveling current fields with sod and irrigation, and building new fields regulation size with lights.
• Gravel in both parking lots, especially upper one.
• Port-a-potties. There are currently two restrooms with six stalls for approximately 2,000 people on Saturdays.
• Larger playground
• Lids for recycle bins.
• Build a central concession stand with more bathrooms while converting the current concession stand into storage.
The association also asked officials to “eventually” construct an indoor facility for an indoor soccer league and tournaments year round.
The $200,000 price tag is a rough estimate on developing the remaining 19 acres at Pistole Park and does not include any other requested upgrades. City administrator David Rutherford says that was chosen over upgrading current fields since that would make the fields unusable for a year.
“If you attempt to try to fix the current fields, you will have to prevent soccer from being played for a year,” Rutherford said. “You will have to keep people off them because you have to go in and replace the irrigation system and do all kinds of things. If you have people playing on them weekly, you are wasting your time and your money.”
Items such as building a new concession stand with bathrooms and construction of an indoor facility would be considered capital improvement projects, items that require the city to borrow money.
Remaining in the budget is $30,000 for improvements to baseball fields — $12,000 for Hoover & Millraney, $12,000 for Mansfield, and $6,000 for Rocket Park.
Alderman Rick Barnes requested $30,000 for Sallys Alley Park.
“The parking area has been washed out,” he said. “It is going to take more and more base building of the parking lot to prevent that. I’m sure a lot of the ground is soft and will suck the rock up like a sponge.”
Vice Mayor Ben Newman says he would prefer to put money into the soccer fields rather than Sallys Alley.
“I think we can do some of Sallys Alley with rock and that won’t cost close to $30,000,” Barnes said. “Has anyone been to Pistole Park? When it was built, it was in really good shape. Now, it’s like going out and playing in a hay field that’s just been bushhogged. It’s difficult to play on.”
Public Works director Bill Brock suggested the city consider upgrading a field or two each year, rather than building new fields.
Smith added, “Even if you do two, Bill, there are so many kids that they are going to have problems. You have little kids that play on small fields. The fields get bigger as the kids get bigger.”
Pistole Park is owned by the city, while the soccer association pays the city $12 per player — approximately $10,000 each year — and retains all other proceeds.
Rutherford suggested contacting the association and asking them about Public Works employees doing work on two or three select fields to improve the existing area.
“I think that’s a good idea,” said Newman.
The discussion happened during a proposed budget review for fiscal year 2013-14. The budget is not set and changes can still be made.