McMinnville officials are looking into upgrading the ball fields at McMinnville Civic Center. Consideration may be given to losing one field in order to construct a championship field.
“Our ball fields have gotten into bad shape,” said Alderman Billy Wood. “It’s our fault because we didn’t have money to put into them. I think the last thing we did was with the Pete Holt Field with the lights.”
As chairman of the Finance Committee, Wood recommended the board consider upgrading the ball parks, unless the cost for renovation warrants building a new complex.
“I don’t want to spend half the cost of building a new complex on renovating one that has been there for 37 years,” said Wood. “Maybe we should look at building an energy-efficient structure.”
Board members have discussed in the past the possibility of reconfiguring the ball fields to make at least one professional-sized field.
“We talked for several months about reconfiguring the ball fields, maybe losing one to move the fences further out for tournaments,” said Vice Mayor Everett Brock. He asked McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord if he had looked into it. “Have you done any more with that?”
McCord says he did check into the cost.
“I did inquire about the cost to build a championship field and what all needs to go into it,” McCord said. “They quoted us $500,000 to $700,000 per field. The cost includes everything for a complete field, including lights, grass, irrigation system, etc.”
McCord says constructing one professional field in the center of smaller fields would be like Wimbledon.
“My example would be going to play at Wimbledon. Everyone wants to play at centre court. Court 18 isn’t anything shabby. It’s probably a whole lot better than what most people have, but everyone wants centre court.”
Despite the advantages of a professional field, McCord recommended officials leave the fields as they are.
“I think if we kept our configuration and worked on updating three fields, that would be the best way to go about it,” he said.
Officials made no decision regarding upgrading or reconfiguring.