McMinnville officials have agreed to spend $41,465 for the future lawn care needs of the recently renovated ball fields at the Civic Center. Given the financial improvements, the fields have been temporarily locked to unauthorized users.
To be purchased is a Toro Groundmaster 3505-D for $26,477 and a Toro Sand Pro 3040 with attachments for $14,987. The items will be used to maintain the seven ball fields that officials recently spent $86,100 to renovate, bringing the total cost spent on the fields close to $130,000.
McMinnville Civic Center director Scott McCord says the fields are looking great and an effort is underway to keep them that way by locking the fields to prevent unauthorized use.
“When it comes keeping the ball fields closed, a lot of our thoughts that went into this was because of the money that was spent on those fields and how nice they are,” said McCord. “We are planning on keeping them closed during ball field season. We want these fields to stay pristine, championship level so the people who use them the most, basically the baseball league, are proud to use them. We are getting so many compliments from people on how good the fields look. We just want to keep the fields looking nice and that’s why we locked them.”
The season’s practices started at the beginning of March and the fields will remain closed until sometime in July.
“The regular season starts to end by July 1,” said Parks and Recreation assistant director Justin Scott. “After that, the facility holds district tournaments and state tournaments. By mid-July, baseball season is wrapping up. First of March to mid-July is what you are looking at timeline wise.”
McCord says children are causing some of the damage.
“Kids are going onto the fields with their bicycles and using the portable mounds as jumps. We have kids go out there and pile the dirt up and make big mounds. We don’t want that to happen anymore. The time that we spend to drag the fields and line the fields for practices and then someone goes in there and messes everything up,” said McCord.
The facility also had to ban dogs on the fields because some owners were not being responsible pet owners and picking up the waste, leaving it to be stepped on by players during games.
“We used to have a dog problem,” said Scott. “We had people come out here and put their dog out on the field and shut the gate. They let their dog run around and dogs do what dogs do. Then, you have kids out there catching a ground ball and stepping in the mess left by the dog. It’s not a dog park. We are trying to maintain these fields because we want to host tournaments and do different things. If we open them up and we have someone out there digging holes in the ground or kicking rocks onto the field, it just creates so much more work than we have to do.”
While the fields might be off limits to unauthorized users, the charge for coaches to practice has been dropped. However, coaches must still reserve use of a field or go into the Civic Center and ask if a field is available if they want to practice without having a reservation.
“This is the first season we’ve spent a lot of money on these fields for the very first time,” said McCord. “Me, Justin and staff talked about how in the past we charged coaches $10 to use a field for practice. This year, we have opened it up to work with them and we aren’t charging them money to practice. Since they are taking the time and making the investment to coach our kids, we didn’t think it was right to charge them.”
The financial improvements on the fields will continue in an effort to encourage holding big tournaments, says McCord.
“We’ve finally spent money to make these fields something we are extremely proud of and we hope the citizens of McMinnville are extremely proud. We want to keep it that way. We’ve invested all this money in the infields and next year we will spend close to the same amount of money in the outfields. We want people from all over the state of Tennessee to come here and be impressed with our fields. We could be a landing spot for big tournaments.”
For more information on the fields, contact the Civic Center at 473-1212.